Tag Archives: Manuel Manrique

Manuel Manrique and the Luis Guzmán family

On Friday, I mentioned that there were several big events that happened last week(s), one being the passing of Wanda Martin. Two other big things happened while I was on my Cuba trip.

The first was the passing of Manuel Manrique. I’ve written about him a couple of times before. Back in 2011, I described a visit to Manrique’s house and the joy that was. Then I shared a video back in 2015 when Manrique had fallen, and I thought he was going to pass.

This time it was for real. Manrique passed away on the morning of October 21, the day I arrived in Cuba. As is their custom, they buried him that same afternoon. I was blessed to arrive in time to be at his funeral and was even asked to say some words at the graveside ceremony. That was a privilege for me; as I said then, Manrique is one of the few heroes I have.

On Monday, I got some bad news about my dear friends Luis and Lido Guzmán. They are from Mexico and have been living legally in Abilene for the past 6 years. Their temporary status was coming to an end, and they had applied for permanent residency. They found out that their application had been denied and that they had to leave the country within a week. How awful! They had bought a home in Abilene, their daughter is a freshman at ACU, and they were building a life here.

I’m sad for them and especially sad for our church. As I told someone, I can think of many problems that the Guzmáns helped solve, and I can’t think of any that they were the cause of.

Later this week I’ll share more about the trip itself. But I needed to share those major happenings first.

Manuel Manrique

I shared this in a private group on Facebook yesterday:

A week ago, I stood at the bedside of a giant. Manuel Manrique is 90 years old. He was a preacher in Cuba before the Revolution and never wavered from that. He would go out on a bicycle with a sign saying “Only Christ Saves,” handing out Christian literature. Ruffians would regularly beat him up, tearing off the sign, saying “Let’s see Christ save you from this.” He would go home, make a new sign, and head out on his bicycle.Now Manrique is lying in bed with a broken hip. Inoperable. He’s in terrible pain, waiting for death. When Tony Fernandez and I walked into his bedroom, he got very excited. He spelled out for Tony exactly which Bible verses to put on his tombstone so that other people can continue to hear the Gospel after he’s gone.The next day we took a group of preachers to visit Manrique. We sang with him (sounding like a bunch of preachers!), and some of these younger preachers got to see a man that I hope will stay in their minds and hearts as an example.You’ll never see him on the lectureship circuits. Probably never hear of him again. But he’s a giant of the faith.

Manuel Manrique

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