Cuba is back in the news because of new U.S. restrictions

I can still travel to Cuba for “religious activities”, but Americans who are planning to take a cruise to Cuba will have to change their plans. The new travel ban announced by the U.S. this month is targeted specifically to stop large group tourism (cruises), as well as private yachts and planes from the US. The move is an effort to increase pressure on both Cuba and Venezuela. The Cuban economy will definitely feel the impact of the sanctions, making life for all Cubans, including our church family there, harder than it is already.

Asheville Christian Academy (ACA) students visit Cuba

In March, 16 kids and 3 adults, traveled with me to Cuba for their winter/spring break. This is the second trip for this Christian school to Cuba with me in recent years. We started in Havana and traveled to the center of the island where the Buenas Nuevas churches got their start with my mom and dad back in 1953. To say it was eye opening for these kids would be an understatement—they were amazed and inspired to experience Cuba and the life of Cuban believers.

The ACA group at the new Buenas Nuevas church in Maria Luisa, CUBA

Among the many wonderful experiences during our time in Cuba, the group worked hard to clean up and paint a small church in the tiny village of Maria Luisa that is one of our newest Buenas Nuevas churches. It’s a beautiful redemptive story because this little church had been abandoned and the village was left without any house of worship at all. So it was a great experience for both our group of students and the people in this village to see life and joy return in such an unexpected way—we were the first foreign visitors to that village that anyone could remember! 

 A Festival for Venezuela in Colombia

In April I was invited to travel back to the city of Cúcuta in Colombia on the border with Venezuela. My grandparents, Buck and Alice Northrup, were missionaries in Venezuela with New Tribes Missions and my dad and his siblings grew up there, so this trip was especially meaningful for me. 

John (second from right) and the video crew with José, Tania & their children, a family we followed in Cúcuta, Colombia (center). That’s Venezuela in the background.

The Billy Graham ministry organized a 3-day festival in the soccer stadium as a response to the tragedy that continues to devastate neighboring Venezuela. I worked with a video production team gathering personal stories of how God used the event to touch lives in the city of Cúcuta and those who came across the border from Venezuela. This ministry is respected for accuracy in reporting event statistics and, while numbers don’t tell the full story, it is encouraging to know that over 100,000 attended the event over 3 days and over 9,000 people responded to give their lives to Christ or to receive counseling. Now that’s good news!

Please Pray

• Remember our Cuban family, facing new economic hardships.

• Remember Christians in Venezuela where conditions are increasingly desperate.

• Planning for upcoming trips back to Cuba later this year.

 We are grateful for friends who pray—Thank you!

God bless you!

John Northrup