In 1960, my husband Zeral Brown wrote the following in a newsletter just after leaving Cuba:

Castro apparently is out to brainwash the Cuban people. His own newspaper now sets the pace for every newspaper in Cuba (except 4), as well as all magazines, radio and television stations. Everything concerning the U.S. is distorted in an unreasonable manner. For instance, when the munitions ship blew up in the Havana Harbor, the Revolution actually said the U.S. had engineered it ‘just as they did the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japs.’

There are many other things we could write about: the secret police who followed us from one campaign to another, the ninety political prisoners we preached to one Sunday morning who have never been charged with a crime or have had a trial, business men who are going broke and landowners who are afraid they will be next. The government INRA headed by Fidel Castro, himself , is taking over the people’s land, cattle, factories and other wealth and is building “People’s Stores” to drive private-owned stores out of business. In spite of all this we still had religious freedom. We were not hindered from preaching the Gospel. Our last campaign was the best we ever held in Cuba.”

During the summers we traveled to Cuba with our family. They were our special music as we had taught them to play instruments and to sing.

Today I visited with some Cuban dentists who came direct from Cuba, sponsored by STCH Ministries and the Baptist Medical and Dental Fellowship to hold a dental clinic in the Dominican Republic. Cuba has changed since 1960, but not by much. One of them said, “We in Cuba know nothing about the rest of the world. I did not even know there was a place called Dominican Republic.” The door is open to foreign visitors, the Gospel is being preached and souls are being saved and churches are growing. However, there are still many restrictions. No new church buildings are being built. However, as long as you build on to a present building as an attachment to your own house, you can build.

Money is scarce. The need for everything material is enormous. When I asked how we could help pastors, I was told, “They need everything. Money to build, clothes to wear, food to eat, ministry help in every way.” Materials are available but everything, including food, has to be imported and therefore is expensive. You can take cash up to $5,000 each without declaring it but if you bring more in your purse no one cares or asks questions. Dentists and family doctors can get permission to leave, however specialist in any medical field are denied permission.

How can we help? Please pray with us to know if and how God would have us give a hand to our neighbors. I am planning a visit to Cuba, the Lord willing, the first week of September to scout out the situation along with our Dominican missionaries. Please pray for God’s leading.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God; if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us, and if we know that He hears us, we know that whatever we ask we have what we ask of Him.”  (I John 5:14-15, NIV)

-Doretta Brown

{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}

1  Instituto Nacional de Reforma Agraria, The National Institute for Agrarian Reform.

An Eventful Christmas in the Dominican Republic

It was Christmas Eve in 1950. All three missionary couples and their children were gathered at the home of together for a Christmas Eve dinner. The dinner included the Jessups’ two boys, the Augsburgers’ daughter and son, and the Browns’ three children, a boy and 2 girls.

At about nine o’clock it became necessary to take the youngest Jessup boy to the hospital in the capital city, Santo Domingo. David had had a fever earlier in the day and his mother had taken him to the local doctor but he had not improved. When he began to vomit and appear much worse, his parents Lyle and Marie loaded him in the car and drove him to the hospital. At that time we only had gravel roads and the trip was a 3 hour journey.  David was unconscious when they arrived at the hospital and was put in an oxygen tent immediately.

The next morning the Jessups’ second son, Dick, awoke with a fever and vomiting. Zeral and I left our three children with the Augsburgers and immediately put Dick into our only other vehicle between all of us and drove him to the hospital.  By the time we arrived with Dick, David’s fever had increased to 106° and they were fearful that he would not live through the day.

You can imagine the fervent prayers that went up to our Savior for the lives of these children, as well as for those we had left in our small town of Hato Mayor with a missionary who now had no means of transportation if another one of the children became ill. Later that day, we received a phone call from Missionary Augsburger telling us that our youngest child, just 18 months old, was beginning to have the same symptoms.  Immediately Zeral left with a car and drove the 3 hours back home to bring our baby in to the hospital (another 3 hour trip).

As we called upon our Father in Heaven, God gave us the peace he has promised as we stood vigil over our children and prayed for those left back home. My baby, Sharon, was put in a crib and was injected with a needle in the muscle of her upper leg to give her the fluids she was losing. I remember so well watching her try to crawl around the crib dragging her oversized leg behind.

Praise God, within a short time each child began to improve and we were able to take them all home at the end of the week, all alive and well. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God, if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that He hears us whatever we ask, we know that we have the things we ask of Him” (NIV, 1 John 5:14-15).

Does God answer prayer?  Just claim His promises and trust Him when he says he is listening and will give us the things for which we ask.

-Dorretta Brown, Co-Founder of TIME Ministries