At the beginning of this year I heard God tell me that He was going to open up opportunities in other countries in Latin America. When I was asked to take part in a trip to Cuba, I did not hesitate to say “yes” to Him. Cuba is a communistic country with heavy witchcraft and government oppression. Simple things like milk, meat, and medications are extremely difficult to find. I did not realize the magnitude of the lack of basic necessities until we arrived. It was there that I was reminded again of the importance of meeting a physical need in the name of Jesus.
Living In Colombia, we can purchase many different medications without a prescription. I was able to buy hundreds of pills of antibiotics to bring with me to Cuba. I met up with the team in Miami and together we took the hour long flight to the neighboring island of the U.S.A. Upon arrival, I handed the pastors the large bag of medications. They looked inside the bag and their eyes told the story. They began to share stories about how many people died last year from simple illnesses that could have been treated with antibiotics.
As missionaries, we are constantly faced with the spiritual and physical needs of those around us. The ultimate goal is to lead people into the Kingdom, but if we are ignoring the physical needs are we missing the mark? In the Bible, we read that Jesus made disciples, cast out demons, and healed the sick. In Matthew 20, we read how 2 blind men were sitting on the side of the road as Jesus was passing by.
“Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
They said to Him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”
And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
We read time and time again throughout the Gospels that Jesus cared about the physical needs of others. Jesus cared about the hearts of these 2 men, but he also cared about the health of their eyes. After Jesus healed them, they followed Him. First came the healing, then they chose to follow Him.
During the height of the pandemic our church was able to feed 3,000 families with a bag of food that would last a week. They were eating 1 meal a day at that point and many were starving. What would have happened if we overlooked that need? Through the gift of food, we were able to share the gospel and talk about God’s love for them by providing something that they needed desperately.
In John 6:35 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Eternal life comes through believing in Jesus, His death, and resurrection. However, let’s not overlook those who need help. Purchasing necessary medications, handing out food, providing shelter, are all ways to come alongside those in need. Now is the time to open our eyes to the spiritual AND physical necessities of those around us.
By: Amanda Vining
To find out more about the Vining family and their ministry, click here