Series Code: ASIC
Program Code: ASIC000009A
00:19 This is another one of our Offering and Action segments.
00:22 And throughout the convention,
00:24 we have brought to you just a few of the projects
00:28 of the 42 projects
00:29 that will be funded from the offering this year.
00:31 And we've heard from many of them
00:33 that God has really blessed them
00:36 and that through partnership with others,
00:39 God has helped them to be more effective in their ministry.
00:42 And I just want to turn in
00:44 and thank Danny on behalf of ASI
00:47 for 3ABN becoming one of those partnerships
00:51 for many of our ministries.
00:53 Because of 3ABN, many ministries who otherwise
00:56 would not have a voice
00:57 have been able to share with others
00:59 the burden on their heart that God has given them
01:02 to reach others for His kingdom.
01:04 So we're thankful for 3ABN and all that 3ABN has done
01:08 to give voice to so many ministries.
01:10 Thank you, Debbie.
01:11 And I in turn have to thank ASI
01:13 because 1985 I went to my first ASI,
01:18 that's longer than some of these folk have been alive.
01:21 Went to it first in 1985 in Big Sky, Montana.
01:26 And there I was asked, Phil Winsted was the president
01:29 and Henry Martin, vice president.
01:31 And I had an opportunity, there was no 3ABN,
01:33 we were just beginning it, they let me share the vision
01:37 of building a television station to reach the world.
01:40 From there, many of the individual people
01:42 began to step up.
01:44 Some joined our board of directors.
01:46 And today, the history is what it is,
01:48 3ABN, because of ASI
01:51 and the Lord's blessings, of course,
01:54 and now reaching the world
01:55 with an undiluted three angels' messages,
01:57 one would counteract the counterfeit.
01:58 So I want to say thank you to ASI
02:01 and we're happy in turn to be able to share that
02:05 and give opportunity to others to share the gospel as we do.
02:09 So we want to just ask you tonight
02:11 that you would pray fervently in your hearts
02:14 when you go back to your rooms to consider the projects
02:18 that are listed in your program,
02:20 pray over them and ask God to tell you,
02:23 "What is it that I can do, Lord?
02:26 How can I partner with you, Jesus,
02:28 to help these ministries to reach more people
02:30 in the world?"
02:32 So I want to thank you, Danny, for 3ABN and for ASI
02:35 and all those that are watching on 3ABN to help us.
02:39 I'd like to encourage the folks at home too
02:41 because so many can't be here
02:43 that I'm sure would love to be here,
02:45 but again, as the Holy Spirit's impressing, you pray and say,
02:48 "Lord, what would you have me to do
02:50 for this great organization
02:52 that is sharing Jesus in the marketplace
02:54 not only here but around the world?"
02:57 And I know that the Lord would have you to do something
02:59 so while you're not here, this Sabbath
03:01 and aren't able to physically put the money in an envelope,
03:04 you can contact, the address would be on the screen.
03:07 And we encourage you to support this great Godly organization.
03:12 Thank you very much, Danny.
03:16 Each of us has a testimony to God's grace
03:19 and His goodness to us.
03:21 Our speaker tonight Alexis Abrahantes Carralero
03:26 was born in Communist Cuba
03:29 and through a series of miraculous events
03:32 came to know Jesus.
03:34 I asked Alexis,
03:36 what is the core of your message
03:37 that you would like for us to hear,
03:40 as you share your testimony.
03:42 And he said, "Debbie, with all that I've gone through,
03:45 with what I've experienced, I realize one thing,
03:49 that no matter how weak and disabled and downtrodden
03:54 and out we are,
03:56 God is continually on a rescue mission for us.
04:00 For each of us, and I pray that everyone will remember
04:04 that regardless of how we feel about ourselves,
04:08 that we don't have anything to offer Jesus,
04:11 to do anything with that because of God's love
04:16 and Him always reaching out to us.
04:19 We mean that much to Him
04:21 that He would come and die for us."
04:24 So I ask that you would pray with me for Alexis,
04:29 as he shares his testimony about God's mercy,
04:33 His grace and His favor to Him
04:36 as He rescued him from the clutches of Satan.
04:39 Thank you.
07:26 Happy Sabbath to my brothers and sisters
07:28 here and across the globe.
07:32 What a journey has brought me here before you.
07:37 Before I begin,
07:39 I think it proper to make a short introduction
07:43 and I want to use the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15,
07:50 and there he says the following,
07:53 "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation
07:57 that Christ Jesus came into the world
08:01 to save the sinners,
08:04 of whom I am chief."
08:08 What could I presume to teach you tonight?
08:14 What do I know about your struggles, your battles,
08:18 your pains, your triumphs, your victories?
08:22 All that I can do tonight is share with you
08:27 some of the lessons of mercy, hope, and rescue
08:32 that God has shown in my life.
08:36 And before I begin, I just want to have a short word of prayer.
08:40 Let's bow our heads.
08:44 Dear heavenly Father,
08:46 we thank You that we're gathered here
08:48 this evening to worship You, Lord,
08:51 on your holy Sabbath.
08:53 Thank You for this incredible opportunity
08:55 that we value so little at times.
08:58 Lord, may You use me as a vessel
09:00 so that we can realize
09:03 how valuable, how precious this freedom is.
09:08 And, Lord, how You work so relentlessly to rescue us,
09:13 each and every day.
09:16 In Christ loving name, I ask these things, amen.
09:22 I come from the Island of Cuba, the largest in the Caribbean,
09:28 I was born April 9, 1981,
09:32 into a world that was partitioned
09:36 into Soviet Union and the West
09:39 with the great powers.
09:41 And my father was a colonel
09:44 of the Interior Ministry of the Armed Forces.
09:48 He had been working also as a diplomat
09:51 and he served in Czechoslovakia,
09:54 Bulgaria, and Romania.
09:57 My mother worked in commerce
10:00 and born into that sort of military family,
10:04 I knew nothing at all about God.
10:08 I was being bred
10:11 and prepared to take some day my father's shoes
10:16 in some role of the Communist government.
10:19 So when I was born, my parents were living in Revolution Plaza
10:25 which was the equivalent
10:27 of what the Kremlin was to Russia and Cuba
10:31 and we were living in flat one.
10:35 And I was born knowing absolutely nothing about God
10:40 and it was most likely
10:42 that I would know very little about Him.
10:45 But unbeknownst to me,
10:47 a rescue mission have been going on,
10:50 a rescue mission that God have been partaking
10:54 very long before I was even born,
10:58 and now with that introduction of that moment in 1981,
11:03 when the world was in competition,
11:06 the Soviets and the West each wanted to prove
11:09 their ascendancy and their superiority.
11:13 And I was like all the children of my class
11:18 stuck in that world of competition
11:21 to show the world that we were better, faster,
11:25 smarter than the decadent and corrupt West.
11:30 But before all of this had occurred,
11:34 the Lord had began to lay the groundwork for my rescue.
11:40 And so I will take you back in time into history
11:45 and into a particular family called the Carraleros.
11:49 And what God began to do for the Carraleros.
11:54 In the earlier 20th century,
11:57 there was several members of the Adventist church
12:00 that felt the call to convert and establish communities
12:06 and spread the Word of God in Cuba.
12:08 And so, in the 1920s,
12:11 several missionaries began to travel
12:14 in the countryside and in the cities.
12:16 And one of this gentleman was Emmanuel Pupo,
12:20 and Emmanuel Pupo began to go to the oriental regions of Cuba
12:26 and began to go from farm to farm to farm
12:29 sharing the Word of God and the Adventist message.
12:34 Now this was a difficult task in a very Catholic Cuba,
12:40 where Protestants were still seen with suspicion
12:45 but he did not stop
12:48 from his calling and persevered.
12:52 And one evening he arrived
12:54 at a farm of the Carralero family.
12:58 Now, he gathered there with the workers
13:01 and began to share the Word of God.
13:04 And one of the sons of the farm owner
13:09 went to listen to the meeting
13:11 and he was very moved,
13:13 and he went back to his father,
13:15 whose name is Emiliano
13:17 and he said, "Dad, this man is sharing this amazing message
13:21 and I want to keep on going to his meetings."
13:24 But his dad didn't want to have anything to do with it,
13:27 so the young man continued to go to the meetings.
13:32 Now, his father was the son of a man
13:36 whose name is Locadio Carralero.
13:39 And this man in the early decades of the 20th century
13:44 had 28 children,
13:47 and out of this 28 branches,
13:50 there are 100's of descendants today.
13:54 And this one branch, the Emiliano branch
13:58 was the one that this young man belonged to.
14:01 And so he began to go to all the meetings
14:04 night by night,
14:06 and he was convinced that this message
14:09 was what he needed in his life.
14:11 So he decided to be baptized,
14:14 but his family wanted to have nothing to do with it.
14:17 He had a prayer and his prayer was that for the second coming,
14:23 he wanted all of his family to be there with him.
14:28 And so he began to pray for his father and his mother,
14:32 and as the months progressed a miracle began to occur.
14:37 The practice of the beliefs that he had learned
14:41 has so changed this young man
14:44 that his example touched every member of his family
14:49 and before the year had ended,
14:51 all his sisters and brothers and his parents
14:55 had become Seventh-day Adventists.
14:58 He was very young, a late teenager
15:02 and he had fallen in love with a young lady
15:04 and decided to marry.
15:06 And so the family gathered for this beautiful wedding,
15:09 the bride with her white satin dress
15:11 and they were living their fairytale.
15:16 His wife quickly became pregnant
15:18 and a year later a little girl was born to them.
15:24 But three months after she was born,
15:27 he felt ill and laid dying.
15:30 And in the 1940s,
15:33 there was still in those regions of Cuba
15:36 not the same capacities that we have today around the world
15:41 and they couldn't figure out
15:42 precisely what was wrong with him.
15:45 And feeling himself to be close to death door,
15:48 he gathered his very numerous family around him
15:53 and he made them,
15:56 each one of them promise him something,
15:59 'cause he wanted only one thing,
16:01 that was his dying wish,
16:03 and his dying wish was,
16:05 that since he was going to die,
16:08 he wanted to have the great joy
16:10 on the day of resurrection of seeing his daughter
16:14 and his descendants there with her.
16:18 And so all the members of the family,
16:21 vowed to educate this little girl
16:24 and the precepts of the Adventist church
16:27 and to prepare her so that, when her father someday
16:32 would be resurrected for the second coming,
16:37 she also would be there and share with the same joy.
16:42 And secure in that promise, he died.
16:48 So the little girl grew up,
16:50 going from home to home in her family
16:54 and being educated with a different family members
16:57 until she grew up
16:59 and it was time for her to go to academy.
17:04 And in Cuba, there was a very prestigious academy
17:08 called the College of the Antilles,
17:12 which still exists today in Puerto Rico.
17:15 And so she went to the college of the Antilles
17:18 and began to study and prepare.
17:23 And something interesting was happening at the same time.
17:27 There was another family,
17:28 that her family knew, the Castros.
17:32 And one of the sons in that family
17:34 Fidel Castro was beginning to rile up the whole country
17:39 because he had the answer to an ancient problem
17:43 that we have been trying to solve
17:45 since the beginning of time,
17:48 the ancient problem of inequality and poverty.
17:53 And so he began to rouse society and say,
17:56 "You know, we have so much missing in education,
18:01 so much missing in health care,
18:04 so much missing with the difference in the classes
18:08 but we have the answer to this
18:11 and the answer is to overthrow the dictatorship
18:15 of Fulgencio Batista.
18:18 And he resonated
18:21 with a great deal of Cuban society,
18:24 even the Cuban upper classes began to help him.
18:29 Now we are in the glamorous 50s,
18:33 the age of Christian Dior and Harry Winston, and Cuba,
18:39 and its glamorous society were all cut up in the balls
18:43 and the ball gowns and the fancy cars
18:47 and extravagant living
18:50 and Castro is saying the whole time, "This is not fair.
18:57 We have to fix this gap.
18:59 We have to fix our society."
19:02 And so young people began to catch up to that,
19:06 and they wanted to re-establish the Cuban republic
19:10 before the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
19:14 And so Cuba, which was very prosperous at the time,
19:18 began to wield its muscle and say,
19:21 "Once we have Castro,
19:23 the republic will be re-established,
19:26 democracy will truly be working once more
19:30 and we will begin to address some of this social evils
19:34 that we have had.
19:37 And so civil war breaks out,
19:42 and many of the Carraleros went to fight for Castro side,
19:48 and to support him with arms and money
19:51 and with their contacts in society,
19:57 and soon enough the revolution caught up the winds of change.
20:02 And in 1959, Fidel Castro with his rebels
20:07 triumphantly entered Havana.
20:11 But quickly after he entered Havana,
20:13 his rhythm changed.
20:17 And while they were coming down from the mountains as rebels,
20:21 they had crucifixes
20:23 and said that the revolution
20:24 was as green as our palm trees,
20:27 something began to emerge in the revolution,
20:32 something that was very far away from us,
20:34 across the world in the Soviet Union, communism.
20:40 And after he had managed to sit himself in power,
20:45 he changed everything he had said
20:48 and said, "We are communists, we don't believe in God,
20:53 God is a fable
20:54 and the Christian churches have been supporting and abetting
20:59 the aristocrats and the bourgeoisies
21:02 and since that class must be destroyed,
21:05 so must the churches.
21:08 And in the midst of this revolution,
21:12 all these glamorous world
21:14 that they had collided right into the revolution
21:17 began to evaporate right before their eyes.
21:22 And as a result now you have Cubans
21:25 in every unlikely corner of the world.
21:29 For at an age of unprecedented persecution
21:34 and violence exploded in Cuba.
21:38 And much of the violence
21:40 was aimed at the Christian churches.
21:44 And there was absolutely no consequence of who you were,
21:49 what your connections were, how much power you had had.
21:53 Everybody was going to suffer the same fate.
21:59 Soon enough the communist soldiers
22:01 began to go house by house
22:03 to ransack every library with a list of black books,
22:07 just like the Nazis had done,
22:09 not too many decades before them.
22:11 And in those lists
22:13 were all the works of Ellen G. White,
22:15 the Bible etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
22:19 And all of these works were entrusted to the flames.
22:24 Then began the UMAP concentration camps
22:28 and countless of Adventists
22:30 were sent to this concentration camps
22:33 in order to silence
22:35 and close up our reach in Cuba.
22:41 Yet, Emiliano Carralero, the father of the young man
22:46 who had passed away, would gather his family
22:51 and they were seeing how their pastors were being sent off,
22:56 how their laymen were being sent off,
22:59 how their houses were being invaded
23:02 without any excuse and ransacked.
23:05 How their relatives were in fear of their lives
23:08 and everybody was trying to escape to any country
23:12 that would provide them a visa.
23:14 And soon enough he began to see how his numerous family
23:17 began to spread across the globe,
23:20 some to Australia, others to Spain,
23:23 others to France, the United States,
23:25 Mexico, Argentina
23:28 anywhere with just their clothes on their backs.
23:31 For every house was inventoried,
23:33 and before you left, they went to check
23:36 if you had taken even a spoon.
23:38 And if you had taken a spoon, you are not allowed to leave.
23:43 But he will gather his family
23:45 and read them many times
23:46 from the Bible to encourage them.
23:49 And one of the verses that is dear to the family
23:54 is in Deuteronomy 31:6,
23:59 "Be strong and of a good courage,
24:02 fear not, nor be afraid of them:
24:05 for the Lord thy God, he is that doth go with thee;
24:09 he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
24:16 This little girl had grown up to be a beautiful woman.
24:20 But she was watching with this man,
24:22 how her world was being completely destroyed.
24:26 But there was a strength of her grandfather
24:29 who had raised her.
24:31 This pillar of certainty and faith
24:35 until he got sick and he got cancer and liver cirrhosis
24:42 and one night he lay dying.
24:45 And he said to his granddaughter,
24:47 who he called his daughter,
24:50 "Daughter, don't forget who is the God of your fathers.
24:55 Don't forsake that God.
24:57 Though the world may be shaken and fall away, stay true."
25:04 And he died in her arms
25:08 and she was absolutely devastated by his death.
25:12 And she vowed that if such a God
25:15 that could permit
25:17 the destruction of an entire society
25:20 and take away the only strength that she had,
25:24 if such a God existed,
25:26 she wanted to have nothing to do with that God.
25:30 And so she decided that she would never again
25:35 go into Seventh-day Adventist church in her life.
25:39 She turned her heart cold
25:41 and she left the few members of her family
25:46 that were in Cuba, went to Havana,
25:48 and turned herself into a brand new person.
25:53 Many years later, she met a colonel of the armed forces
25:59 and they began to court.
26:01 And he was besotted and in love,
26:04 and so asked the government
26:07 to give its blessing to their union.
26:11 And the government ran
26:13 an investigation of her background.
26:17 And then presented him with a thick folio
26:20 and said, "You know, that your fiancee,
26:24 she has within her something evil.
26:28 She has the evil seed of religion
26:32 because she comes from a bourgeoisie family
26:35 and her family helped to spread the gospel
26:39 and to build institutions of the Christian faith."
26:44 And so because this is part of her character,
26:47 although she may be a member of the communists party,
26:52 that dark seed within her will come out.
26:56 And she will betray the communist party one day."
27:00 But he was in love and said,
27:04 "I am going to and I'm willing to take that risk."
27:06 And so he married her.
27:10 And I was born some years later.
27:14 But there was an understanding
27:16 that I was never to know who my mother was
27:21 and who her family had been.
27:24 There was only a handful
27:26 of members of her family in Cuba.
27:30 And those people were instructed,
27:33 never ever to reveal the secret.
27:38 And so I grew up completely ignorant
27:42 as to what was happening.
27:45 But God has a rescue mission working.
27:48 And the rescue mission was undergoing this whole time.
27:53 There was a Bible worker, her name is Bethsaida Hidalgo,
27:57 who through the persecution stayed true to her faith.
28:02 She went to visit people in the jails and the hospitals,
28:05 outreach without fear.
28:08 And her story really is a story of incredible courage.
28:13 And every year, Bethsaida Hidalgo
28:16 would go and visit my mother
28:19 and remind her who the God of her father's was.
28:24 And this was an incredible risk because the military class
28:28 was under special set of laws
28:31 called the laws against diversion of ideology
28:36 which prohibited them from having contact
28:38 with any religious institution
28:40 or with people that had contact with religious institutions.
28:44 So if Bethsaida was discovered to be doing that,
28:48 she would be sent off to a working camp or worse
28:54 for a period of five to more years.
28:57 Some people had gone to these camps
28:59 for 15 to 20 years.
29:03 But she took that risk.
29:05 And one night when my father was away
29:08 and went to have diplomatic trips,
29:11 I met Bethsaida.
29:13 And she quickly didn't lose any time,
29:15 begin to tell me everything about God.
29:19 And I would notice that late at night,
29:22 my mother would sit
29:26 and she would begin to sing a song
29:30 and the words of the song is,
29:32 "I would lift up my eyes on to the hills
29:34 from whence cometh my help.
29:36 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth."
29:41 She was literally sitting inside of the lion's mouth.
29:46 But she was lifting her eyes,
29:49 asking God for some sort of escape route.
29:54 And so after I learned about God,
29:57 I became extremely curious.
29:59 My dad returned from Europe
30:03 right as the Soviet Union was beginning to dissembled.
30:08 And there was a wind of hope in Cuba
30:12 that may be that great change
30:14 that had shaken the world in Europe would come to us.
30:19 But the communist party closed up ranks
30:22 and cracked down on every freedom
30:24 that could possibly spring up.
30:28 And so as this is happening,
30:32 my mother and I began to visit the church,
30:36 which was a very risky endeavor
30:38 and because I'm pressed for time,
30:40 I cannot tell you the adventures,
30:42 that truly Sherlock Holmes adventures
30:45 that we had to do to go to church
30:48 and to study the Bible.
30:50 But my mother knew that it was a cat and mouse game,
30:53 it was only a matter of time
30:55 before we would be reported to the government.
30:58 And because of the laws of diversion of ideology,
31:01 I would be taken away from my parents at that point.
31:06 So it was a race for knowledge.
31:11 I began to read Bibles that have been handwritten
31:14 by children and compiled
31:18 because the Bible was a very rare book,
31:20 very few people have them
31:22 and so the Adventist children,
31:24 many of them had given themselves
31:26 the task to be the scribes to save
31:29 all this works for the next generation
31:31 and for the generation that I was living.
31:35 And so I began to read as a small child
31:39 underneath my bed with my last Soviet batteries, the Bible.
31:44 And I was enthralled
31:47 by everything that I was reading.
31:49 And I knew in the library of my home
31:50 there was a copy of the Bible that my father read.
31:53 And he read it because he had a degree in engine history
31:56 and read it as just another book of fables
32:00 like the Iliad and the Odyssey.
32:02 But he would not permit me to read the Bible.
32:06 Why was the Bible so dangerous
32:08 when the Odyssey and the Iliad were not?
32:12 And so my father returned,
32:16 and at that time we had been visiting the church,
32:20 and one night I decided
32:22 that I was going to be baptized.
32:26 And I told my mother,
32:28 "Mom, tomorrow I'm going to tell my dad
32:32 that I've been visiting
32:33 the Seventh-day Adventist church
32:35 and that I want to be baptized."
32:38 My mother was thunderstruck, "Do you know what that means?
32:45 Do you know that your father will divorce me
32:47 and you will be taken away to a camp
32:51 where you be reeducated?
32:53 And then the most communist member of the family
32:57 will be given to your care
33:01 when you're 21 years old?
33:04 But I had read this story of Esther
33:07 and those words of, "If I perish, I perish"
33:12 resonated deeply within me.
33:15 So that night we prepared,
33:18 we prepared for what was going to happen the next day.
33:22 And I tried to memorize my mother's face
33:24 because I knew that perhaps I would never see her again.
33:28 And so that night my parents, both came to my room
33:31 and my dad said, "Alexis, I will be going to meet
33:36 the prime minister of Nigeria tomorrow morning
33:39 and your mother has to go to a trial
33:41 that has to do with her work.
33:42 So you are going to be by yourself
33:45 and we will be out of home later on in the morning,
33:48 so don't worry."
33:50 So the next day I woke up,
33:53 and I was waiting for my parents
33:57 and it was getting later and later
34:00 and I decided that I was going to cook breakfast.
34:04 So I went to the furnace room,
34:06 I grabbed a container of kerosene,
34:11 and I went to a kitchen in the back of the house
34:15 and began to try to cook.
34:19 What I didn't realize is that the match
34:21 that I had snuffed out, I threw on the floor
34:26 and that match went right into the very small receptacle
34:32 entrance of this container.
34:36 I closed it without realizing it
34:38 and I put it underneath my arm
34:40 to return it to the furnace room.
34:43 And as I was walking to the furnace room,
34:48 this container exploded.
34:52 I had caused, I had created a bomb really
34:57 because half the container was full of air
35:00 and half of fuel.
35:03 And this, the wave of expansion that it created
35:06 was felt for a kilometer radius.
35:09 It severed my right arm
35:12 and left it hanging from the tendons in my back.
35:16 And it began to burn me from inside out.
35:21 This was a rare chemical reaction that happens
35:25 when a room is completely enclosed
35:27 and until that wave did not have an escape,
35:32 I got burnt from inside out.
35:35 And so I decimated all of my airways.
35:40 I didn't realize what was happening
35:43 and I thought that my house had been bombed by the junkies
35:48 because as a child, of course, you're brainwashed
35:52 that the junkies are going to invade
35:54 and of course, whose house would they bomb first,
35:57 but the military's.
35:59 So I thought, "Well, here the junkies
36:01 have finally invaded."
36:03 So I knelt down to roll on the ground
36:06 and then I noticed this wind in my hair.
36:10 I had long straight hair that I miss very much.
36:15 And I felt like something had caught up in my hair
36:20 and so I lifted my arms
36:23 and that's when I noticed that I didn't have my right arm.
36:27 And when I felt it was that I was being encircled
36:31 by the flames over and over again.
36:35 And I had a moment of incredible clarity.
36:39 I knew that this was no coincidence
36:41 and it was no accident.
36:44 I knew that Satan was going to do something
36:47 to stop the courageous step that we're about to make.
36:53 And to turn once and for all
36:55 my mother's heart cold towards God.
36:58 And I began to pray, "Lord, if I die,
37:02 please help my mother to continue on the path
37:05 that we've chosen.
37:07 But if I live, I only want to live to praise You."
37:12 And that's why I'm here tonight.
37:16 When I opened my eyes,
37:17 I was standing in front of the bathroom
37:19 which was at the other end of the house.
37:22 And the bathroom door was open, and in the large mirror,
37:26 I could see the flames encircling me.
37:30 To this day no one knows
37:32 how I got from the kitchen to the bathroom,
37:37 for there was a pool of blood in the kitchen
37:40 where I had laid during my prayer
37:42 but no tracing of blood all the way to the bathroom.
37:48 When I got inside of the bathroom,
37:50 the faucets of water were already turned on.
37:54 So I thought that I must have gone unconscious
37:57 and that somebody must have come in the house to help me,
38:01 and I turned, still burning, and started screaming for help.
38:05 But there was no one in the house.
38:08 At that moment when I saw the water on,
38:10 I remember a story,
38:12 a story that saved my arm in part.
38:15 My father had told me a story of a friend of his in Siberia
38:18 who had lost a finger
38:20 and due to frostbite and part
38:23 and they had grabbed the towel with water
38:26 and kept the circulation going
38:28 until they were able to reattach it.
38:31 So I took the water, I put on the water the towel
38:35 and with my left arm and my teeth
38:38 I was able to wrap this towel
38:40 around those left of my shoulder
38:42 and to press my arm against that gaping hole.
38:48 And then I began to run out to scream for help.
38:54 From that point forward,
38:56 it was miracle after miracle, after miracle, after miracle.
39:02 I can sit here for more than six hours
39:07 and relate each and every miracle.
39:11 Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of the time.
39:15 But God took this nine year old boy
39:20 who's fragile and reduced to ashes
39:25 and began to demonstrate with this child
39:31 that he was present in Cuba
39:34 and that it cannot be attributed to science
39:37 and it could not be attributed to men,
39:40 it could only be attributed to God.
39:45 And so something incredible happened.
39:49 The story of my accident
39:53 took off through Havana like wild fire
39:56 and Seventh-day Adventist churches
39:59 regardless of what was going to happen to them
40:01 began to go to the hospital
40:03 and began a circle of prayer outside of the hospital.
40:08 Day and night, day and night the church prayed.
40:12 And God inside was showing Cuba
40:17 that He had not been exiled.
40:19 He had not been taken to the concentration camps.
40:23 He was not in jail.
40:25 He was there amongst them.
40:28 He was working with them.
40:32 And so one night the present dictator of Cuba
40:37 who was at that time vice president of Cuba
40:43 came to see me.
40:45 And I was literally pieces of meat
40:50 gathered in a hyperbaric bed.
40:54 And he sat and he was looking at the medical history.
40:59 And he closed it up and he looked at me,
41:02 I was intubated but I was not unconscious.
41:06 And he said, "You know, Alexis, I don't believe in my shadow
41:11 because it moves too much.
41:14 But your case, your case shows that there is a God."
41:22 The Lord took me from that moment
41:27 and used this example
41:32 of vulnerability
41:35 to show Cuba that He was their God,
41:40 He loved them and was reaching out to them
41:42 and He is today.
41:45 And so 125 surgeries later,
41:51 you have me.
41:55 I am one of God's masterpiece Frankensteins.
42:01 And I am here
42:04 an impossibility talking to you.
42:09 I should not be speaking, and I should not be walking,
42:13 let alone be alive.
42:16 But God has given me those abilities.
42:22 And it's not because
42:23 there is anything extraordinary about me,
42:27 it's exactly the opposite,
42:31 it is because I am so ordinary
42:35 and just and everyday
42:41 and just the next door kind of a person
42:45 that He used it
42:47 because He wanted to show that no matter who you are,
42:52 how useless you think you are,
42:55 how untalented, how pained,
42:58 how scarred,
43:01 how beaten up by life you may be,
43:06 He can make something really extraordinary
43:08 and miraculous out of you.
43:14 I wanted to close
43:15 and I want to close this evening with a story
43:21 because I think that in many ways
43:25 we read the story of the children of Israel
43:26 wandering in the desert.
43:28 And we think how is it possible that these people
43:33 that saw the Red Sea spread open,
43:36 that had this cloud above them
43:39 so that they wouldn't be scorched by the sun
43:41 and had manna raining down,
43:45 how could these people doubt God?
43:52 And yet here we are,
43:56 blessings raining down upon us and we doubt God.
44:02 My father had a very interesting way
44:05 of introducing my scars to me.
44:09 Before I got burnt,
44:10 I had been a child model for Bohemia magazine
44:14 and I was somewhat proud of my looks.
44:18 So I had not seen the monster I had become.
44:23 And one day I cut my reflection
44:26 and I told my father,
44:27 "Dad, I want to see what I look like."
44:30 He said, "Okay, okay.
44:33 I will bring you a mirror
44:34 but you have to wait until I go home and I come back."
44:37 So he went home, he dressed up in his color uniform
44:40 and he put all the medals that he could on.
44:44 And he knew that I love these medals
44:47 because he had been around the world,
44:49 had fought in many wars, had many honors,
44:52 and I was enthralled
44:53 by all this Indiana Jones kind of stories
44:56 in Africa and Madagascar and Europe,
45:00 and as he worked as a spy in infiltrated governments.
45:04 I was just in awe of this larger than life man.
45:08 And so he went home, got all his medals on,
45:12 and he went back into my room with a mirror,
45:15 he said, "Before you look,
45:18 I just want to tell you something,
45:20 I'm envious of you."
45:22 And I said, "Of me?
45:27 What could you envy of me?
45:30 I have no accomplishments.
45:32 I've done nothing compared to what you have done."
45:36 He said, "Well, when I get home after I parade,
45:40 I have to take off my medals and my uniform.
45:44 But you, Alexis, you are going to wear your medals
45:48 everyday of your life for the rest of your life.
45:53 So every time you look at the mirror,
45:56 you're going to see the evidence
45:57 of this fight against death."
46:02 And so when I looked at the mirror,
46:05 I saw those medals
46:08 and I've had a love and hate relationships
46:10 with the scars that cover my body.
46:13 But every day no matter how much I may doubt suddenly,
46:19 no matter what that moment of weakness I may have,
46:22 no matter my failures, God reminds me in the mirror,
46:27 "I did this for you.
46:30 Your scars are your medals."
46:34 We all have scars.
46:37 We can choose to be a victim or survivor.
46:42 And God has given us the tools and the calling.
46:48 Not only to be the survivors
46:51 but to share our scars with the world
46:56 so that everyone may be healed by those ultimate scars,
47:02 the scars on the hand of Jesus.
47:09 I would like to close
47:10 by reading Hebrews 11:1-3.
47:16 "Now faith is the summation
47:21 for the evidence of things not seen.
47:24 For by it the elders obtained good report.
47:28 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed
47:32 by the Word of God,
47:33 so that the things which are not seen
47:35 were not made of things which do appear."
47:41 So I leave you with faith
47:44 because in faith there is hope
47:46 and in hope there is love,
47:49 and love is the ultimate gift of our Lord.
48:20 O love that will not let me go
48:27 I rest my weary soul in Thee
48:33 I give Thee back the life I owe
48:39 That in Thine ocean depths its flow
48:44 May richer, fuller be
48:52 O light that foll'west all my way
48:58 I yield my flickering torch to Thee
49:04 My heart restores its borrowed ray
49:10 That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
49:15 May brighter, fairer be
49:22 O joy that seekest me through pain
49:27 I cannot close my heart to Thee
49:33 I trace the rainbow through the rain
49:39 And feel the promise is not vain
49:43 That morn shall tearless be