Delivered in the luggage of visiting missionaries or shipped from the Dominican Republic, The Upper Room daily devotional has blessed individuals and churches in Cuba for decades. The guide was never printed within the country until now. In January, after years of planning and coordinating with Upper Room staff in Nashville, Tennessee and publishing partners in neighboring countries, leaders from the Methodist Church of Cuba printed the first Cuban edition of El Aposento Alto, the Spanish language edition of The Upper Room. Copies of El Aposento Alto are a rare, treasured resource among the 40,000+ Methodists in Cuba. Many have been aware of—and hungry for—the scant 4,000 copies previously delivered to Bishop Ricardo Pereira Díaz’ office and then distributed to Methodist Churches around the country. The first printing of the Cuban edition of the devotional guide nearly doubled the current supply, and there are plans for steady, sustainable growth. Bishop Pereira, Oscar Carpio Licea, and Samuel Figueredo Pérez, leaders of the El Aposento Alto publishing team in Cuba, have read the devotional guide in their homes for years. The bishop adds that his mother, also a devoted EAA reader, wrote many meditations for the magazine, long before the Cuban edition was a reality.
“The publishing team of El Aposento Alto in Cuba has as one of its goals,” the team recently wrote, “to fill the void of devotional literature and to nourish, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the writing of meditations by those that dwell in the heart of each Cuban.”
Conversations for this project began in 2011 when Sarah Wilke, Publisher and World Editor of The Upper Room, joined Latin American and Caribbean ministry partners in Brazil for an Upper Room Family Reunion. In the years since, Blanca Longhurst (Upper Room Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Relations), Hugo Urcola (the manager of El Aposento Alto in Argentina), Carmen Gaud (former EAA editor), Aldo González (UMC Global Ministries missionary), and countless others facilitated the process and communications between Bishop Diaz and The Upper Room offices. Blanca Longhurst says, “Holding a copy of the Cuban edition was a dream come true. Many people worked so hard, for so long, and now we see our labor of love come to life.” The development of the Cuban edition was underway well before the lifting of sanctions and shift in relations between the US and Cuba. The director of International Ministries of The Upper Room, Dale Rust Waymack notes that much of this project involved hurdles, scrutiny, and government approvals that slowed the process to a snail’s pace. “There is great hope that recent political changes between the two countries will help make the path easier, providing Cubans easier access to resources like The Upper Room,” she adds.
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