Amid Economic Crisis, Ministry And Music Propel Cuban Minister Devoted To Sharing Bread Of Life


An artist in the family

Fernandez’s father died about 20 years ago. His mother, now 90 years old, remains a faithful Christian.

After the revolution, his dad worked as a sewing machine repairman.

He brought the Gospel with him into homes.

“When his father was alive, the church had a lot of seamstresses,” Archer said, pointing to his evangelistic zeal. “And with Tony, they’ve brought in a lot of musicians.”

And now, the church just might become a haven for artists.

Susana “Gio” Fernandez, the 18-year-old daughter of Tony and his wife, Liudmila, is an artist specializing in fine arts photography. She just opened her own studio in Matanzas. 

Like her father and mother, who coordinates Texas International Bible Institute’s ministry in Cuba, Susana intends to use her talents for the Lord.

“I really believe that art is a way to share the Gospel,” she said. “I want young people to see that there are other ways to have fun besides just going out and dancing and drinking or whatever. I want to focus on art as a way to glorify God.”

As a young girl, Susana tried playing the piano and guitar, but she said she lacked her father’s musical prowess.

Still, she benefited from his example.

“I always saw him and how he is worried about helping his neighbor,” she said. “And that made me want to do the same. 

“And I always said that the first work of art I sold, I wanted to use the money to help other people,” she added. “So that’s what has marked my decisions, my life as an artist.”

That outlook has marked her father’s ministry as well.

Given the hardships Cubans face, he finds his music especially helpful now.

“Jesus said that we have to weep with those that weep,” Fernandez said. “Here in Cuba, we have to be there to hug people and be with people, and the music prepares me for that.”

But Fernandez seeks salvation for his nation, not material riches.

“I’ll never forget what he told me one time,” Archer said. “He said, ‘I pray that abundance never comes to the island because people will stop seeking God.’ I thought that was very profound.”

This piece is republished from The Christian Chronicle.

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