Seeking Something Good
When I met 23 year old Elianis, she showed maturity beyond her age. She benefitted from the improvements in Cuba education that started providing communication access in schools and established Schools for the Deaf in a few communities. She is hard of hearing and grew up in Santiago de Cuba.
Elianis’s upbringing follows a theme I am often hearing about young deaf girls in Cuba… as she was growing up, her father was very protective of her and did not allow her to go out into the community other than to school. As smart as she is, she got sneaky. When her father was away at work during the day, her curiosity got the best of her as she would go explore in the community as she has a personality of an extrovert that needed to be around others and socializing.
One time, a religious group well known worldwide came knocking on her door… and paid her a visit at home as they were targeting deaf individuals. While she enjoyed the visit (visitors, yeah!), she did not feel comfortable with what they were telling her as the information seemed a little strange. Nevertheless, she agreed to attend one of their meetings, but her father was not allowing her to go. She lied and said she was going to visit her grandmother, but instead headed to the meeting. This experience further confirmed her uneasiness with the information she was receiving, yet they gave her a CD of stories from their bible, and of all the information there, she specifically liked the part about Jesus. She was curious. She realized she needed God, but the other stuff from their bible felt fishy to her. She was at a loss as to what to do because she did not know about any other churches she could learn more about God so she kind of put that search on hold.
Meanwhile, she was at the point of her life where she was considering marriage and was having difficulty finding a good man. Most of the deaf guys her age seemed only interested in one thing and were involved in activities she considered negative in her life and wanted to get away from.
While visiting friends in Guantánamo, Elianis was introduced to an older deaf man from Spain, who happened to be visiting family in the same town … after getting to know each other, despite their large age difference, love developed and they were married a year ago. She moved to Guantánamo to reside with her Husband’s daughter and her family, which she enjoys as she feels accepted by them and they communicate well with her. Her husband works in Spain as a cobbler, and his family, along with his new wife, is making arrangements to relocate to Spain.
While waiting for the move to happen, she felt a strong sense of something spiritual. Her curiosity about Jesus and God returned. She met a deaf christian and they invited her to the Guantánamo church and their deaf ministry. This is where she found the gospel message made sense to her and she liked what she was seeing. Elianis became a believer 7 months later. Since then, she has learned so much, has become a passionate Christian and is emerging as a deaf leader within the deaf ministry. She has been sharing her newfound faith with her husband in Spain and he has been very supportive and she plans to share more of the gospel with him once they are reunited. Until then, she continues to really enjoy participating in all the services- especially the singing part and the various deaf ministry activities.