International response helps circumvent a paper shortage.
When a paper shortage hit Cuba, the Seventh-day Adventist printshop was forced to close. Not being able to find paper anywhere on the island when the world began its lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, the church in Cuba faced a serious problem.
Because access to Christian radio, television, and online programs is restricted or too expensive for most Seventh-day Adventists and the community in Cuba, printed Sabbath School Bible study guides have become the most valuable resource to strengthen the study of the Bible among the membership, said Aldo Perez, president of the Adventist Church in Cuba.
Local leaders looked without success for paper options outside of Cuba.
“We prayed about it, made plans to inform the membership to begin studying the previous Sabbath School lesson based on the book of Daniel, and presented our situation to the administration of the Inter-American Division in April,” Perez explained. “It was a very stressful situation.”
In the 1980s and 1990s, the church was forced to repeat the use of several Bible study guides, but during more recent decades the church had not faced such a dire situation, Perez said.
Because of the high cost of shipping, the Inter-American Division Publishing Association (IADPA) sends the Bible study materials to Cuba to be printed locally. The division pays for the printing in the church’s printshop in Cuba. The studies are delivered to conference offices, and local pastors pick them up and deliver them to their congregations.
When, on June 29, 2020, a shipment with 11,000 Sabbath School Bible study guides for adults and children and pallets of paper arrived in the port of Havana, church leaders and members rejoiced at the sight of God’s answer to prayer.
“This is like pure gold for our church here,” said Dayami Rodríguez, communication director for the Adventist Church in Cuba. “The church in Cuba had never seen such a high-quality quarterly, and so beautiful.”
Local leaders received the shipment on July 6 and quickly moved to distribute the materials across the island.
“The church in Cuba is so happy because it has seen the hand of God working yet another miracle in our favor,” Perez said. “Many have called our offices grateful that they can study this third quarterly filled with such important messages for the time in which we are living.”
Perez said that just the week before, churches had begun to partially open for worship services, and members are rejoicing in God’s blessings. Members still face many challenges on the island, but no COVID-19 cases among members have been reported.
The church’s printshop will soon begin printing the fourth quarter’s lessons and make them available at the end of September. “Beyond that, it’s in God’s hands,” Perez said.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cuba has nearly 38,000 church members in 491 churches and congregations. The church oversees four conferences, a theological seminary, and a printshop.