Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
29 October 2014 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
Bulletin # 17
Back From Cuba
hould we really have gone? A few well-meaning friends counseled 84-year-old Edwin to stay at home and perhaps send a video instead. After all, he had that heart surgery four and a half years ago and limps a little on a walking stick because of an old back injury. Ria is a little younger though not enormously so. Jack Blanco was amazed and said we were not 25 years anymore!
Well, we went and have returned. The trip was physically good for us, due to much walking in old Havana to the church as well as the Western Conference building where some of our meals were served. Fortunately it never rained while we were out on the streets. In mind and spirit, too, we were greatly invigorated. Edwin’s four lectures were on prophetic Historicism, contradicted and undermined at different times through the centuries, yet valid all the same. They were a hit at the convention with local Cuban believers as well as many who were bused in from far away in the island.
Most marvelously, interpreter Nestor Rivero had previously translated into Spanish the entire text of the lecture series and had it projected it onto the screen. Edwin was able to touch only the highlights, for it runs to many pages. But all of it was also made available in Spanish via a memory stick to the Seminary and others who want to study it in detail. The English version is now also available on website propheticum.com, where the series of lectures can be found under All Publications.
We also donated a set of Edwin’s books on prophecy to the Seminary, where the head of the history department wants to study them and use material in the course for training ministers—much as has happened at the Seminary, Andrews University.
An amazing byproduct is, as we suddenly realized, that the four lectures virtually constitute another book. Some of the material presented in them is brand new. It can be published as a separate volume of about 60 pages—in English as well as Spanish versions.
Was our going to Cuba worthwhile? We let our readers decide.
ituated at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba is a subtropical archipelago of islands. Only two are inhabited. Eleven million people live there, two million in Havana, the capital city. The main island in the north is 745 miles long and 124 miles at its widest points. Due to its strategic position, Cuba has long been known as the Key to the Gulf. Others, enchanted by it, have called it the Pearl of the Antilles. A book with beautiful photographs that we received as a gift describes it as the Pearl of the Caribbean. After attending the Convention for which we had gone, we saw something of its rural splendor on 20 October during a very long westward journey. Cuba produces much food but also tobacco and sugar cane, its main exports.
It is a country in transition and of contradictions. The streets of Havana are populated by many vehicles. Though old cars from half a century ago and frequently patched up abound, there are also many new ones made in Germany and other countries, though not usually from the United States, which maintains a trade and travel embargo against Cuba. These modern vehicles are mainly owned by the government and other organizations which can afford them. Ordinary citizens do not earn enough to buy them. Salaries of $25.00 a month are common. Some professionals do a little better. For instance, a medical doctor earns $40.00 a month.
Both the Cubans and most Americans would like to see the embargo lifted, but this would require legislation by Congress and remains mired in politics.
Cuba is a Socialist state, which dislikes religion, though it is now tolerated to a limited extent. No public evangelism or discussion is permitted. Preaching and suchlike talk must be confined to private houses, denominational buildings, and churches. Catholicism is common. Other religious organizations include the Baptists, Presbyterians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists. Our membership in the country is about 30,000. We have several churches, Conference and Union offices, and a four-year theological seminary.
A further restriction is that our denomination is not allowed to erect new structures or enlarge the old ones. We can use and renovate only what we already have. La Vibora Seventh-day Adventist church, where Edwin spoke, is the largest in Havana. On Sabbath, more than 450 people were in attendance. Incidentally, that afternoon at lunch in the adjacent hall, we sat opposite the Honorable Simeon Bouro, Ambassador of the Solomon Islands to Cuba, a Seventh-day Adventist. His wife, from Papua-New Guinea, was on Edwin’s right. The ambassador told us one in every ten people in his country belonged to our Church.
eventeen years ago, the Lord directed two Americans, Henry Stubbs of Westminster, South Carolina, an R.N., and wife Arleen, who is his administrative assistant, to go to Cuba and work for him. They are the most loving and humble servants of the King that you could ever wish to meet.
Although at first they knew little or no Spanish, they started a self-supporting ministry of Bible Workers-Medical Missionaries (B.W.-M.M.s), which they called the World Youth Group. For these laborers, young as well as somewhat older Cubans, our health message is the right arm of the Gospel, as counseled by Ellen G. White.
The latest intake constitutes 45 enthusiastic volunteers, who receive a stipend and will be deployed to different parts of Cuba.
B.W.-M.M.s begin their service with a one-month training course. This teaches them how to improve or restore health through a non-medical approach, holistically combining clear air, sunlight, temperance, a better diet, exercise, adequate rest, a positive mindset, and clean water. Included are massage and hydrotherapy. They do not deny the value of traditional medicine, and a qualified physician is always available. In more than 90 percent of cases, those who turn to the B.W.-M.M.s for help experience a remarkable, often an even spectacular, improvement in their health.
Their method features the “eight doctors,” first made famous at Wildwood, Georgia, of which Arleen is a graduate. She and Henry have, with donated money, started working on a more ambitious undertaking: a center that will offer six-month courses. For this, they have acquired more than three acres of land with magnificent avocado and guava trees adjacent to our Seminary. Two existing buildings can form the basis of the center. Another $75,000 will be needed to complete the project. At the Seminary, plans are afoot for theology students to learn B.W.-M.M. methods.
To offer advice and boost this work, James Hartley attended the Convention and was its main speaker. He is a Vice President of Wildwood, in charge of the Lay Institute for Global Health Training (LIGHT), which trains Medical Missionaries worldwide. Also present was Jim Ayer, a Vice President of the General Conference, from Adventist World Radio, whose individualistic sermons were greatly appreciated. As already stated, Edwin lectured on prophecy.
A Spanish-speaking contributor to the Convention, who needed no interpreter, was José Suazo, from Honduras.
Being a single man, he was teased about the Seventh-day Adventist señoritas in Cuba who very much wanted him to stay there. But he just laughed. Of course, he could not; great responsibilities awaited him back at Vida Internacional (Life International), of which he is the president. Located 75 minutes outside Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, this is an ambitious project, which he pioneered in 2005. Previously he had graduated from Laurelbrook Sanitarium and School at Dayton, Tennessee. Founded in 1950, it was inspired by E. A. Sutherland’s educational ideas as applied at Madison College. After that, José completed a course at the European Bible School in Skotselv, Norway, where preventive medicine (massage hydrotherapy and other remedies) were also taught and young people trained for service as missionaries. In 2008, his friend, Jesse Zwiker from Ausria, another former EBS student, joined him. That same summer, Vida Internacional hosted a one-month training course conducted by LIGHT from Wildwood. In February 2009, this expanded into an 11-month program for young people. It provides them with foundational knowledge about Biblical and health evangelism. Since then, Vida Internacional has expanded further into food production through the acquisition of a property with 1,600 tamarind trees. In 2011, it opened a school. Nearby a Seventh-day Adventist church had come into existence as a result of EBS evangelism. In short, as its website shows, Vida Internacional is a much advanced version of what could someday exist on the island Pearl of the Caribbean. Honduras, with at least eight and a half million inhabitants in 2014 is the home of more than 263,000 Seventh-day Adventists. Unfortunately it is also a crime-ridden country with the largest murder rate of any nation on earth.
At the Convention, local Cuban B.W.-M.M.s also participated. They testified to their triumphs and trials, including conflict with demons as represented by Santeria. This is a blend of Catholicism with a spiritualistic cult that originated in West Africa and was originally brought by slaves to Cuba. Since the B.W.-M.M.s all spoke in rapid and sometimes excited Spanish, we could unfortunately not understand them.
These meetings, lasting from 16 to 19 October, provided a beautiful example of how regular denominational structures can cooperate with self-supporting ministries. The Central American Division sponsored Edwin as well as Ria, and our largest church in Havana hosted the meetings. To this was added the direct assistance of both the Western Conference and The Cuban Union. The latter made available its van and its driver to transport us.
We are all Seventh-day Adventists furthering our Saviour’s cause. In fact, we do not know everything that the Lord has in mind for the friendly people of Cuba, whom he loves with an everlasting love like everybody on his blood-bought planet.
Another Ambitious Dream
enry Stubbs has salt water in his veins; he loves the sea and is an experienced boater. He also has a dream to advance the work of God, despite the embargo.
At present, the Central American Division, headquartered in Miami, Florida, is allowed to send to Cuba only two shipping containers a year. And to fly in items to Havana is expensive, as we saw. It costs about $2.00 per pound weight, including everybody’s luggage. This greatly hampers what our Church can do.
A well-wisher donated a 45-foot hull, which is worth $75,000. On it, two expert workmen from Europe can build the rest of the boat. For this, however, another $100,000 is needed. Please pray that the Lord will open the hearts and wallets of those who can help with this project. When completed, such a craft can transport a large quantity of material more cheaply.
This would be a missionary boat, not on the distant Amazon in South America or in the eastern Pacific, but next door to North America. About this and the rest of his ministry, please feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ur Seminary needs further development. In addition to the four-year degree in Theology, a Master’s Degree is offered as four summer-school installments.
A major problem that Edwin noticed at once was its small library with far too few books, although they are augmented by digital publications, which students can read on computer screens. We are sure that in America there are potential generous donors with books in Spanish, English, French, and other languages. But how could this material be transported to Cuba? The Lord will have a way. He always does. And do not forget about Henry’s boat.
Meanwhile from the Far East
oot van Wyk, D.Litt. et Phil, Th.D., an expatriate South African and Seventh-day Adventist, is a visiting professor at Kyungpook National University, South Korea. In our previous Bulletin, we told of exciting developments in that country which concern The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy (2013). Before going further, readers are requested please to go to our website, propheticum.com, and refresh their memories by rereading the second page of Prophetic Bulletin # 16. It was, we said, “a developing story.” An e-mail has just arrived from Dr. van Wyk to tell what has been happening since. His article upholding my book, was translated into Korean by his wife, Sookyoung Kim, who has a Ph.D. from Andrews University. With proper acknowledgement to the van Wyks, much of that material has now been published by Church Compass, No. 11, 2014. This is our prestigious Ministerial and Church Magazine in South Korea, with glossy covers and 138 colorful, interesting pages. It is a two-part study appearing under the name of Dr. Keumyoung Ahn, a highly respected former professor of our Sahmyook University, Seoul. Three pages of it have already appeared. The other three are scheduled for December. It is in Korean. But embedded within it are titles, names, and references in Latin script. See other Attachment.