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.