I just want to share one more story from my last Herald of Truth trip to Cuba. I know I’m running the risk of being like your friend who wants to show you 557 pictures from his last vacation. But I wanted to talk about making a visit to the home of Manuel Manrique.
Everyone calls him Manrique. Manrique was a preacher before the revolution and stayed faithful, even during the hard times. He used to ride a bicycle with an antenna on the back and a sign on the front that said, “Only Jesus Saves.” They would stop him, rough him up and rip the sign off his bike. He’d go home, put a new sign on and head out again. He was responsible for planting numerous congregations back in the day.
When I first met Manrique, he just seemed to be a quaint old gentlemen with failing eyesight who was at every church meeting. He would talk out during sermons, finishing verses that were being quoted or even making the preacher’s point for him. Over time, I came to know his story and came to have a great love and respect for the man.
Manrique wasn’t at the events this time. When I asked, they told me that his health is bad and his wife’s health is worse, so he was at home. He was sorely missed.
Tony Fernández took me to visit Manrique one afternoon, and what a visit it was. He told stories, sang hymns and reveled in the joy of the Lord.
But my favorite moments were when Tony described the evangelistic work going on, particularly the revival of a dormant work in the town of Cárdenas. Manrique sat on the edge of his seat, pumping his fist and cheering aloud, looking for all the world like a rabid sports fan listening to a game. But his sport is Christianity, and I’m not sure there’s a bigger fan. Tears came to my eyes as I watched him.
There are some pictures and other stories about Manrique in several articles on the Christian Chronicle web site:
After 35 years, and one hurricane, lectureship reaches Cuba
Seeing the light in Cuba
Classic cars, Communism and Churches of Christ