Thursday, March 20, 2014

Retired but Not Gone Away

Retired but Not Gone Away / Mario Lleonart
Posted on March 20, 2014

On Friday, November 22, we made another stop on our U.S. itinerary that
we will never forget. At the invitation of the Fellowship of Hispanic
Churches, we participated in a tribute paid to retired pastors. Honor to
whom honor is due, or as the Scripture says in Hebrews 13:7: ̈ Remember
your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you; Consider the result of
their conduct, and imitate their faith."

This special occasion took place in Gethsemane Baptist Church in Miami
at 5298 NW 7th St. The meeting was full of fond feelings. The pastor of
the local church Felipe Rodriguez, moderator of the radio program
"Building Lives," which airs daily from 7 – 8 p.m, on 1450 AM, who was
in an evangelistic campaign in our church in Taguayabon in 1993 while
serving as pastor in Regla, blessed everyone with a few inspired words
from Galatians 1:6 – 2:5 from which he set out seven truths he learned
from the honorable elders: the one called by God preaches the true
gospel (1:6-7); is radical (1.8-10); has a divine message ( 1:11-12); is
set apart by God's grace (1:15); is prepared by God (1:17-18); preaches
with his testimony (1:24); and identifies the false brethren and does
not submit to them even for a moment (2:4-5).

My wife Yoaxis and I had the blessing of greeting such worthy elders. To
share the table with Dr. Marcos Antonio Ramos, who prefers to be known
as "Tony" the son of "Cheo", showed us that even if they are retired
they have by no means gone away. Some of them we knew from Cuba, as in
the case of those who were our pastors in my early childhood: Isabel and
Esteban Estrada, as well as Dora and Leoncio Veguilla, who for years
occupied the highest offices of our Association in Cuba.

I was moved to find there the widow of former Taguayabon pastor Obed
Guzman, the moderator for many years of the "Baptist Hour" program in
Miami that we listened to from Cuba. It was also very moving for us to
to be embraced by the widow of the great Jorge Comezañas. One of the
most beautiful moments was the wedding sendoff of Rafael Melian (Felo)
and Miriam Sánchez Parodi, who will move to Jacksonville in January.

As a continuation of Friday, on Sunday morning I attended the first
service of Northside Baptist Church Pastor Adalberto Cuellar, also
retired, who baptized my parents and many other relatives in Cuba
because he was pastor at our church in Taguayabon in the hardest times,
just as they got up the nerve to put a stamp on our door between
November 1963 and December 1964. In our area, the work of this man of
God, who remained unwavering in difficult times, still survives.

Leaders like Pablo Miret, Andrés Olivares, Luis Estevez, and Nathaniel
Vicens struggled and performed a work of genuine servants "washing the
feet" of so many heroes and reaching the goal. I embrace them for the
gracious invitation and thank them for the master's class that was given
to me that day, fantastic for my ministry in the midst of an aging
country, in the most-aged province, and with the fate of lacking an
entire generation of senior pastors who, like most of those present that
day, had to leave Cuba in a choice that I do not judge, as a result of
one of the greatest persecutions that we believers have suffered in the
entire continent.

Translated by Tomás A.

25 November 2013

Source: Retired but Not Gone Away / Mario Lleonart | Translating Cuba -

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