When a paper shortage hit Cuba several months ago, the Seventh-day Adventist print shop was forced to close. Not being able to find paper anywhere on the island at a time when the world began its lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic meant the church was facing a serious problem.
Because access to Christian radio, television, and online programs are restricted or too expensive for most Seventh-day Adventists and the community in Cuba, printed Sabbath school quarterly lessons have become the most valuable resource to strengthen the study of the Bible among the membership, says Pastor Aldo Perez, president of the church in Cuba.
“The Sabbath school quarterly is the only printed vehicle to spiritually feed the church throughout the year,” adds Perez. Local leaders exhausted efforts looking for paper options outside of Cuba without success.
“We prayed about it, had made plans to inform the membership to begin studying the previous Sabbath school lesson, and presented our situation to the administration of the Inter-American Division back in April,” Perez explains. “It was a very stressful situation.”
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the church was forced to repeat several quarterlies, but during the last few decades, the church had never been faced with such a dire situation.
Because of the high cost of shipping, the Inter-American Division Publishing Association (IADPA) sends the quarterly material to be printed locally and the Division pays for its printing in the church’s print shop in Cuba. The quarterlies are delivered to the conference offices and local pastors pick them up and deliver them to their congregations.
“This is like pure gold for our church here,” says Dayami Rodríguez, communication director for the church in Cuba. “The church in Cuba had never seen such a high quality quarterly and so beautiful.”
When a shipment with 11,000 Sabbath School quarterlies for adults and children and pallets of paper arrived in the port of Havana on June 29, church leaders and members rejoiced at the sight of their answered prayers.
Local leaders received the shipment on July 6 and quickly moved to distribute them across the island.
“The church in Cuba is so happy today because it has seen the hand of God working yet another miracle in our favor,” says Perez. “Many have called our offices grateful that they can study this third quarterly filled with such important messages for the time in which we are living.”
Pastor Perez says that churches are beginning to partially open for worship services and members are rejoicing in God’s blessings. There are challenges still facing members in many ways on the island, but no COVID-19 cases among the members have been reported.
The church’s print shop will soon begin printing the fourth quarterly lessons and make them available at the end of September.
“Beyond that, it’s in God’s hands,” Perez says.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cuba has nearly 38,000 church members in 491 churches and congregations. The church oversees four conferences, a theological seminary, and a print shop.
Dayamí Rodríguez contributed to this report.