It was with great sadness I learned on Sunday August 29th that Oziel Barrios Rosales, my dear friend and co-worker in the Lord had passed away from Covid complications.
I met Oziel in 2004 in the city of Santa Clara, Cuba. I met his wife Maria Elena one year before when she rode the back of a large truck for 9 hours to pick up a Gloria Digital Orchestra to use in their ministry to children and university students.
Oziel was born on January 10th 1948 in Holguin. After attending university to become a veterinarian Oziel was refused certification because he was an Evangelical Christian. This prompted Oziel to strive even harder to live out his faith.
After marrying Maria Elena they moved to Santa Clara and plunged headfirst into the work of the Lord. Oziel began a ministry to university students holding services in the jungle to avoid government detection. Oziel and Maria Elena never had any children but Oziel always shared his home with university students who came to study with their extensive (for Cuba) library. As the students studied using a piece of wood as a desk, Oziel would share Christ and disciple them. Many of those young people now serve the Lord as pastors in Cuba and other countries.
Oziel was also a strong believer in tract distribution and was able to distribute over 5 million tracts to churches for distribution by local church members across the Island of Cuba. Oziel worked alongside Maria Elena in her work training children’s workers in many churches and denominations.
I was privileged to become a close friend of Oziel’s and shared many cups of coffee in their modest home filled with Christian literature waiting to be distributed to churches. Oziel loved to laugh and share time together.
For their wedding Oziel’s uncle gave him a pair of silver and gold cuff links. On one visit Oziel presented them to me. He said, I will never own a shirt that uses cuff links, please take these as a gift from me. Oziel had a very soft heart for others and a great sense of humour.
Along with many believers in many countries I will miss my dear brother and friend.
JOSHUA and ANNA SEIDE Haiti Missionaries
For about 12 years we supported Pastor Josue (Joshua) Seide and his wife Ana in Florida City Cuba monthly. In 2017 Joshua and Ana were asked by their denomination to become missionaries to Haiti. They are now working with a church -seminary in the city of Leogane, Haiti. Last year they returned to Cuba on furlough and ended up stuck for 6 months because of the pandemic.
Joshua said “But God was there for us. We want to express our special gratitude to CMRC that extended support for us during that time in Cuba. Please, know that we are still here to testify of God’s provision because of the CMRC generosity. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. May God keep blessing you and multiplying what you do for the glory of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.”
At this time Joshua and Anna are back in Haiti however due to the combination of the pandemic, earthquake and assassination of the president it is making their work there much more difficult. Please pray for them. Here is Joshua’s story.
My father was originally from Les Cayes, Haiti. In the early 50s he went to Cuba as a visitor and spent some time with his Haitian friends who had gone to Cuba looking for better economic conditions. While in Cuba my father met Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord. Then he became a preacher and helped founding the Baptist Church in his community.
The political system of Cuba changed when Castro took over in 1959. Due to the new regulations that were implemented many people left the country and some other had no way to leave. That was the case of not only my father but also of many citizens from different countries who lived there during that time.
My father met a beautiful young lady who in time became my mother, a Haitian descendant who was born in Cuba. They have six children, four boys and two girls. We attended the Baptist church with our parents but then we all left the church. My father died after his second leg surgery when I was ten years old. We grew up with my mother who did her best to help us. They were challenging years.
Today, my mother is 85 and lives in Esmeralda a town located to the north of Camaguey in Cuba. She is fluent in Creole and French even when she never went to school to learn. She learned both languages by reading the Bible in such languages. God did it for her. She became a Christian in her teens and she is still an active member of the Baptist church in Esmeralda.
When I graduated in 1994 as a teacher of English, I was living in Florida City where I worked in education for nine years. I met Jesus Christ in 1996. My life changed for the better. I attended the Pentecostal Church in Florida where I grew as a youth leader for eight consecutive years. I also served as a deacon, church secretary, a student of theology, leader of a house church, Sunday school teacher and translator.
In 2003 I quit education and served as an administrator for eight years. During that time, I became a church planter, helping to plant two churches just outside the city of Florida, Cuba. I became a pastor in Cuba because I had this calling in my life – God directed my steps to do this.
At one point I asked the Lord how I could become a missionary in another country for I had no resources to do that. Then I felt He told me: It is true, you have nothing but I can send people your way so that you can become a missionary. Amazingly, some 30 minutes later the national leader of missions in Cuba told me that there was an opportunity to serve as a missionary in Haiti and he had chosen me. I was sent to Haiti as a missionary in 2017 because it is the land of my ancestors.
In Haiti, I helped start a theology school in Leogane and planted a church in Cavaillon. I also preach and teach the Bible at the local church as one of the pastors, give counseling, train leaders and give marriage seminars and lectures for boyfriends and girlfriends. I also teach theology courses and English language.
Ana is my helper in the ministry and she has taught seminars for women. She also needs more of the language to do more in the ministry. In Cuba, Ana was an excellent biology teacher, working in education and training students to apply for their university exams. Our ministry future in Haiti is uncertain Due to the present state of the country. Only God knows. Today we pray that God may lead us in our next step.
In spite of the situation and poverty in Cuba, the churches are sending Cuban missionaries not only to Haiti but in other nations like Mexico, Spain, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Italy. Cuba has many more missionaries waiting to go but the financial support is not available.
Please pray that they will be able to go as God’s people provide the resources.