Preamble: The following story if from my good friend and sister in Yeshua, Lori. She posted this article on Facebook just after the second election of Barack Obama. Having escaped to the United States with her family during the early days of Communism she shares some interesting insights for those who think that Obama’s Communism will somehow “save” America. My question to my fellow Americans is; where will we escape to?
From Communism to Freedom – One Family’s Story of
Courage, Survival and Divine Providence in Yeshua (Jesus)
I was born in Cuba two years after Castro took over. He came into power wearing a cross around his neck preaching HOPE AND CHANGE. Sound familiar? Anyway, Cuba had been communist before him but American companies were allowed into the Island so it wasn’t too bad. Castro quickly took over the schools so as to spread his poison to young minds. From the time I started school I was afraid because my teacher was a die-hard communist and knew that my family wasn’t so to punish me she grabbed me by the shoulders and threw me in my desk, causing me to fear schools for the rest of my life. The teachers taught us that there was no God and to prove her point she would ask us to pray to God for a bicycle and we would not get one but if we joined the communist party we could have any toy we wanted. Unless you had family at home to show you the truth, you just believed their lies.
Before the Cuban government knew that we were planning on leaving (by the way, we couldn’t leave freely, we had to be rescued) my father made some preparations by copying his medical diploma and smuggling it out of Cuba before anyone knew. Knowing that we were not allowed to give any of our belongings away, my mother would dress my sister and I in layers of clothing and walk to friends and cousin’s homes and take the under layers off and leave them with our loved ones. We were children and couldn’t be trusted not to speak of anything at school so my parents wouldn’t tell us what was going on…one wrong word and my dad would have been arrested because in a communist country, the government owns EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING!! If they want to come into your home and take anything out, there’s nothing you can do about it.
When the time was right my father entered our names into a Catholic relief program. If we were chosen to be rescued then my family who lived in the US had to come up with $200 for each of us (there were 5–mom and dad, my dad’s great aunt and my sister and I) to pay as a ransom to the Cuban government at which time our name was placed on an enemy’s list and we were put on a two year probation until our names were called to have passage out of Cuba. At the beginning of the two years a government official came into our home and did an inventory of everything we owned and at the end of the two years, he would come back and do another inventory and if there was anything missing or broken, my dad would be arrested as a political prisoner and the rest of us would be homeless because once you are on that enemy’s list, you are NEVER ALLOWE HOUSING IN CUBA AGAIN. If we made any mistake the same scenario would happen, dad would be arrested and we would be homeless. Also, at the beginning of this two year period, all our rights were taken away, what little we had I mean. including the right to buy and sell anything.
For the following two years as the Cuban government meant for us to starve to death, God fed us. Like manna from Heaven, every morning on the back window sill of the house, we found enough food to survive for that day….no more and no less. Just enough (like in the Bible…God is sooo GOOD!! (happy tear)….In Cuba, everything is rationed, you are told how much food you can buy and when you can buy it according to the number of people in your family. A family of five is allowed 5lbs of rice and 3lbs of chicken PER MONTH!!!! Milk is considered a luxury….yes, you heard me right MILK IS A LUXURY….You are only allowed to purchase milk if you have a family member under 7 or over 60. The people that snuck food to our house SACRIFICED their provisions for us!!!!! The first miracle!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!! My dad’s great aunt had lived in his house for a total of 15 years. she had rented her little shack in the country for $5 a month for those 15 years. Someone turned her into the government and we were made to pay her back rent before she was allowed to leave with us. Another sacrifice!!! Relatives, neighbors and friends collected that money to pay for my great aunt to leave with us. Had she stayed she would have died because my dad was her only living relative. She died in Kentucky 6 months after we arrived in the US…she had a short change to taste freedom!! THANK YOU JESUS!!
During our probation my sister and I were punished in school for being children of “traitors”…we were not allowed to use the bathroom for the entire two year period; if we had an “accident” the teacher would call attention to us and ridicule us in front of the entire class….I WAS 6 AND MY SISTER WAS 8 WHEN THIS STARTED….just kids!!! GGrrrr!!! The teacher would tell us that when we reached Miami there would be a firing squad at the airport to kill us….we believed her because firing squads were common in Cuba. The schools resembled prisons. There were rows of razor wire along the top of a chain link fence and an armed guard at every entrance. Parents were not allowed past that point. Schools are little communist factories!! .
While we were waiting to leave my father was forced to go to work in the hospital. EVERYONE WORKS FOR THE GOVERNMENT IN CUBA….even though we couldn’t drive the car, use the toaster or anything because we couldn’t take the chance of something being missing or broken at the second inventory….my dad would leave most of the food for us so a couple of times he passed out at work from lack of food and come home with stitches in his head. A while before we were to leave we were made to leave our home…..yup…we were kicked out of our own home so friends and neighbors took us in until our time had passed. My mom had to ride a bus to a government office where she would sit for hours waiting for our name to be called. Once she heard our name, she had just a few hours to gather the family and head to the airport…with no money, living in a cashless society we had to gather enough gas for a friend to take us to the airport. At the airport we were searched and my parents were stripped of their wedding bands (crying)…when we were on the plane and the wheels were in the air my dad began to sob. When mom asked him what was wrong all he could say is “We’re free!!! We’re finally free!!” When we touched down in Miami my sister and I clung to my parents in fear….we were expecting to see guns drawn and a firing squad. But instead the stewardess gave us a toy and a piece of gum…which we swallowed because we didn’t know what it was. Everyone was so nice but we were still so scared. We didn’t know the language or what was going on. All we were allowed to bring with us was the clothes on our backs…that’s it!!! My mom’s aunt and uncle took us in for the next few months until we were able to move into the slums of Miami. we had to hide in their apartment because if the landlord knew we were there they would have been charged more rent.
When my father found his first job he was thrilled. After being a doctor in Cuba most of his life he drove a taxi to put food on the table. He was 63 with emphysema, two cataracts and coronary heart disease. We moved in to an apartment in the slums, infested with roaches and rats but we were so proud that we were finally in the US. Mom slept during the day because we had to sleep on the floor while dad and his aunt slept in the only bed…mom sat in a chair all night with a broom to swat the rats and roaches away from my sister and I. One day mom was walking us to school and crying out to God out loud asking him for our next meal. As we walked up to an intersection, the food service truck that was trying to make the green light turned too quickly and the back door of the freezer truck swung open and a block of frozen fish fell out and slid right up to our feet!!! Mom raised her hands thanking God and praising him!! ANOTHER MIRACLE!! THANK YOU JESUS!!!
My dad used to study with a magnifying glass every night after work so he could pass the state board exam and be able to practice medicine again and feed his family. The board tests were expensive so he HAD to pass it on the first try which I am told is hard to do for an English speaking person, dad had to learn enough English medical terms to pass the first time. Dad passed the board test in Florida, Kentucky and Texas. We moved frequently because dad was always looking for a job that would pay more to support us so mom wouldn’t have to work. Mom never learned English…she was distrustful of most people until the day she died in 2002. When most people were ready to retire, dad had to start over in a strange country with no money and a family of 5 to take care of!! To this day I don’t know how he did it!!!!
Dad got a job in Kansas State Hospital and his job included an apartment on the grounds of the hospital. All he had to pay is utilities. Some of the bullies in our school zeroed in on my sister and I. I’m sure we stuck out like a sore thumb with home made clothes, no make up and frizzy hair since all we could afford to wash our hair with was ivory soap. I never knew about make up and conditioner till I was in High School and got my first job. Back to Kansas. The bullies made our lives a living hell for 4 years. They would stack furniture from the lobby of our apartment building in front of our door when they knew my dad was on call so he couldn’t get out and get fired. We weren’t allowed to have a dog in our apartment but we found a dog with a broken leg, dad mended his leg and asked the superintendent if we could keep the dog on the porch, the bullies found out about our dog and killed him. In the summer when mom would walk to the hospital post office, the bullies would link arms across the road so mom would have to walk through the briers while calling her sickening names in Spanish…some of them were from other Hispanic countries, some were Americans (my dad’s boss’s daughter was the leader). When my dad finally got a job in Kentucky we were thrilled. My parents never complained about the harassment because they didn’t understand that we had rights in America. They would tell us “Don’t complain, just take it….we are the foreigners here. They will ship us back to Cuba if we complain and that means death or jail.”
So we moved to Kentucky and I was in my first year of High School. I was behind in school and afraid of my shadow, not to mention angry and bitter at everyone!!! All I had known all my life at that point was fear and distrust!! I felt so angry that I would be ashamed to tell you of my daydreams about going back to Kansas and having my revenge. I felt dead inside. I was raised a catholic and was told all my life that I would go to Heaven when I died by way of purgatory depending on how “good” I was in life! I would do all the things I was told to do and still felt dead inside. I went to my priest several times and each time he would give me scripture to read and a “penance prayer” and was told I would be fine after that. I obeyed but still felt like I would go to hell if I were to die. I even enrolled in an Experiencing God” class at the catholic church…(laughing out loud).
When dad died I was dating a guy from my home town…I married him 3 months later…MISTAKE!! We were divorced a year later….when I met my husband of 29 years I was a mess!!! POOR GUY!! (Laughing out loud). He was saved and I was not…..I was always taught that even visiting another church was a mortal sin…so my husband would come to church with me but I resisted going to his until he said, “Hey! I go to your church so why don’t you go to mine…” So I did and heard the gospel for the first time in my life!! I was 28 years old and had just had my first daughter. We had opened up a Bridal shop and as I sat there alone with my baby beside me in her swing, the Holy Spirit got hold of my heart and every sin that I had committed came crashing down on me….I cried and cried trying to find peace by reading the Bible like the priest had told me….then I stopped, put my hands in the air and cried out…”JESUS HELP ME….SAVE ME!!” Just at that moment something changed!! I felt peace!!! I KNEW I HAD PEACE WITH GOD but I wasn’t sure what just happened……but I was a new creature!! Even my sister noticed that I was different but I’m not sure if she saw it as a good thing.
I KNOW I AM SAVED, THERE IS PROOF…..YOU WOULDN’T RECOGNIZE THE OLD ME IF I WERE POSTING HERE!! Jesus saved me!!!! And all I had to do is believe!!!! I LOVE JESUS SO MUCH…I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL I CAN FALL AT HIS FEET!!! I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HIS FACE WITH MY PHYSICAL EYES!!! HE IS MY LIFE AND I WILL BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL!! Cuba is predominately catholic and Santaria so if I still lived there I might be dead or dying in my sins because I might have never heard the gospel!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!
I am now happily married to the love of my life for almost 30 years. I have two daughters, Heather,26 and Hillary 21…and two wonderful son in laws, Kyle and Wes!! They are who I have prayed for since my children were toddlers!! God has gifted me in Art, I have no formal training so I owe it all to HIM….Thank you Jesus!! My life is a miracle…I KNOW IT!! I hope everyone that reads this considers the sacrifice that Jesus made for your sins and the sins of the world. All you have to do is believe that he died for your sins, was buried and rose again according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)….believe this and you will also be saved!! May we be in Heaven together for eternity praising our maker, the Lord Jesus Christ!!