Photo by Nicole Tarpoff
I went to Cuba to minister in a number of house churches in 2004. On the eastern side of Havana, there are hundreds of tenement housing projects that were built in the 1950s to house Soviet Army barracks. Now, literally thousands of people live in each building—and the buildings stretch one after another after another for miles and miles. During the last morning that I was teaching, my interpreter didn’t show up. I don’t speak any Spanish and they didn’t speak any English. It was really awkward, being crammed into a small sitting room with about 40 people just staring at me, waiting for me to do something.
As I sat there looking at them, and as they sat there looking at me, I felt like the Holy Spirit engaged me in what became a running conversation. I seem to get in these talks often with the Lord, especially when I muster the audacity to kind of argue with Him:
“Sing.” The Lord told me very distinctly.
“I don’t sing, Lord.” Like He didn’t know that already!
He said it again, “Sing.”
“I don’t speak Spanish.” Like He didn’t know already.
For the final time, He said, “Sing.”
“’Nothing but the Blood.’”
If you’ve ever been around me during any worship times, you’d know that I have a singing voice that only the Father could love! Ironically though, the Lord used me as the worship leader in a couple different congregations that I pastored when I was a missionary in the Philippines. He’s not really looking for technically proficient singers—just people who worship Him with whole hearts.
Anyway, back to Cuba. In that small sitting room on that day in 2004, I opened my mouth and began to let it rip. I know this may sound cliché, but suddenly, it was as if Jesus opened the door and walked in the room. When I started singing, I felt like a big bottle of Coke: someone took the cap off and God came rushing out. The whole atmosphere became super-charged with the presence of the Lord. The air in the room began to feel so heavy that when I tried to lift my hands to Him in worship and adoration, I couldn’t even raise them above my head. After a few minutes, my feet couldn’t support me any longer because the spiritual climate of the room was saturated with the glory of God. I had the sensation that if I could just raise my hands above my head, then I could poke through the ceiling and all of heaven might fall down!
People began to pray and sing in the Spirit, in Spanish, and even in English. I started gently laying hands on almost everyone present just to bless and encourage them—and men, women, and kids began to fall out all over the place. The power of the Holy Ghost was so pronounced that one guy even hit his head really hard against the wall on his way down, and I remember thinking, “God, this better be you…because if it’s not, that dude is gonna be in pain.”
It was the most intense, power-packed renewal that I had ever experienced. Maybe the Lord wants these kinds of encounters to be normal? At any rate, this environment continued on for maybe 20 minutes until finally another interpreter arrived. Everyone kind of regained their composure, including me, and I began to minister through some of the material that the Lord had given me. As I’ve said about my singing, I’m not the greatest preacher on the planet, either. Yet that morning, as I stood there and simply talked about Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, people just wept and wept and wept. The floodgates were open. I talked about her posture—how every time she appears in the gospels, she’s always at the feet of Jesus.
The church couldn’t get enough. Jesus was in the room in the many-membered Body of Christ—singing, laughing, weeping, loving. His power and glory were on display in our midst in the most concrete, tangible way. May it ever be so Lord!
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.