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good shepherd

The Good Shepherd

Memories of Cuba

From time to time I have been asked to share some memories of Cuba. From the places I’ve stayed at, to the wonderful people I’ve met and also those special moments. Well, a special memory comes to mind from a visit during 2009.

This photo was taken at Campamento Las Palmas and more specifically the building that is used for church services and special events. As you can see there are no doors on the building however generally there is orange plastic fencing put in front of each of the 5 entrances to keep the livestock out.


Speaking of livestock…

During our visit to the camp in 2009, there were sheep, goats, horses, birds, cats, and pigs all over the property. As we walked through the camp these animals would scatter… they didn’t know us and more importantly, they did not trust us. Enter now, Manny. 

Manny is in charge of overseeing the camp and he is also the caretaker of the animals. One Sunday while we were attending a worship service Manny was asked to give his testimony. As riveting as it was the Lord provided an even more magnificent close to the afternoon.

As he closed the service Manny began to sing a song of praise, his powerful voice bellowing throughout the camp and it sent shivers up my spine. Now the orange plastic fencing was blocking each of the entrances but moments after Manny started singing each of these openings had sheep staring in and singing a chorus of their own. It was amazing to hear the non-stop bleating cries of these animals and when Manny ended the sheep got quiet and slowly went back to the pasture. The vision of this event brings me to tears every time I try to relate it to others…

As we go through God’s Holy Word we read so many wonderful passages about The Good Shepherd. The Gospel of John, chapter 10, was illustrated to me in such a beautiful way that day. Starting at verse 2: “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

These sheep did not know me or anyone else from our team – they would only listen to and follow Manny.

Verse 14 goes on to state “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”. These sheep were passively going about their day but when they heard his voice echoing over the hills they came running. It was not only his voice but the love they heard in it – he was not threatening but rather assuring them, that is why they came so quickly. And in verse 27: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

However, the passage that is known by most is Psalm 23-

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

When our Lord calls us, He calls to us with love and affection because we are His. The images of that day served as a powerful example to remind us of God’s mighty word and the one that I follow – Jesus Christ. Now if you haven’t already, isn’t it time to put your trust in The Good Shepherd and follow Him? I am thankful that I have.

This post was contributed by Tom Tengelsen, a much-loved deacon at ICC.

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