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Logo of ASI 2017: Called. Chosen. Committed.

A God of Hope in Hopeless Times

Alexis Abrahantes Carralero
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Alexis Abrahantes Carralero was born in Havana, Cuba, during the height of the Cold War, to a father who was a communist diplomat and member of the military class. He witnessed the religious struggle of underground Christians who still worshipped in spite of severe oppression and persecution. He soon joined those believers. In the midst of Alexis' conversion he suffered a severe accident, which led to a series of miraculous events that eventually brought him and his mother to the United States. 

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  • August 4, 2017
    7:00 PM

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Happy Sabbath Houston. Happy Sabbath to my brothers and sisters here and across the globe. What a journey has brought me here before you. Before I began I think it proper to. Make a short introduction and I want to use the words of Paul and First Timothy one fifteen. And there he says the following. This is a faithful saying and worth the of all us a patient that Christ Jesus came into the world to save centers of whom I am chief. What could I pursue him to teach you. Tonight. What do I know about your struggles your battles your pains your triumphs your victory if. All that I can do tonight is share with you some of the lessons of mercy hope and rescue that God has shown in my life. And before I begin I just want to have a short word of prayer as far hits. Hamley Father we thank you that we're gathered here this evening to worship you Lord on your holy Sabbath thank you for this incredible opportunity that we value so little at times. Lord may you use me as a vessel so that we can realize how valuable how precious this freedom this. And Lord how you work soul relentlessly to rescue us each and every day. In Christ living I ask this things human. Come from the island of Cuba the largest in the Caribbean. I was born April nine hundred eighty one. And to a world that was. Partitioned the savage Union and the West or the great powers. And my father was a colonel of the Interior Ministry of the armed forces. He had been working also as a diplomat and it served and she also Baka all Garia and Romania. My mother worked in commerce and born into that sort of military family I knew nothing at all about God. I was being bred and prepared to take some day my father's shoes and some roll of the communist government. So when I was born my parents were living and Revolution Plaza which was the equivalent of what the Kremlin was to Russia and Cuba and were living in father one. And I was born knowing absolutely nothing about God and it was most likely that I would know very little about him but been known to do me a rescue mission had been going on a rescue mission died God had been partaking very long before I was even born. And now with the introduction of the moment in one thousand nine hundred one when the world was in competition the Soviets and the West each wanted to prove their ascendancy and their superiority and I was like all the children of my class stock and that world of competition to show the world that. We were better faster smarter than the decadent and corrupt West. But before all of this had occurred. The Lord had began to lay the groundwork for my rescue. And so I will take you back in time and to history and then to upper tickler family call that god i let us and what God began to do for the car littles. And the earlier twentieth century there was several members of the Adventist Church that felt the call to convert and establish communities and spread the word of God in Cuba and so and the one nine hundred twenty S. several missionaries began to travel and the countryside in the cities and one of these gentleman was and man when people pull and money would pull pull began to go to the Oriental regions of Cuba and began to go from farm to farm to farm sharing the word of God and the Adventist message now this was a difficult task and a very Catholic Cuba where Protestants were still seen with suspicion but he did not stop from his calling and persevered and one evening he arrived at a farm of the kind a little family. Now he gathered there with the workers and began to share the word of God and one of the sons of the farm owner. Went to listen to the meeting and he was very moved. And he went back to his father whose name is Emiliano and he said this man is sharing this amazing message and I want to keep on going to the. Meetings but is that they don't want to have anything to do with it so the young man continued to go to the meetings now his father was the son of a man whose name is look out the oak on a little and this man and the early decades of the twentieth century had twenty eight children. And out of this twenty eight branches there are hundreds of descendants today and this one branch the Emiliano branch. Was the one that this young man belong to. And so he began to go to all the meetings night by night and he was convinced that this message was what he needed and his life so he decided to be baptized but his family wanted to have nothing to do with it he had a prayer and his prayer was that for the second coming he wanted all of his family to be there with him. And so he began to pray for his father and his mother. And as the months progressed Americal began to occur. The practice of the believes that he has learnt has so changed this young man that his ex sample touched every member of his family. And before the year had ended all his sisters and brothers and his parents had become Seventh Day Adventists. He was very young a late teenager and he had fun a love for the only and decided to marry and so the family gathered for this beautiful wedding the bride with her white satin dress and there were living their fairy tales. His wife quickly became pregnant and a year later a little girl was born to the. But three months after she was born. He fell ill and lay dying and the one nine hundred forty S. there was still in those regions of Cuba not the same capacities that we have today around the world and they couldn't figure out precisely what was wrong with him and feeling himself to be close to death's door he gathered his very numerous family around him. And he made them each one of them promise him something because he wanted only one thing that was his dying wish and his dying wish was that sense he was going to die. He wanted to have to great joy on the Day of Resurrection of seen his daughter and his the sentence there with her. And so all the members of the family. To educate this little girl and the precepts of the Adventist Church and to prepare her so that when her father some day would be resurrected for the second coming she also would be there and share with the same joy. And secure and promise. He died. So the little girl grew up going from home to home and her family and being educated with a different different family members until she grew up and it was time for her to go to Academy and in Cuba there was a very prestigious academy called the College of the UNTIL. Which still exists today in Puerto Rico. And so she went to the College of the UNTIL. And began to study and prepare. And something interesting was happening at the same time there was another family that her family knew that Castro's. And one of the sons and that family for their Castro. Was beginning to rile up the whole country because he had the answer to an engine problem that we have been trying to solve since the beginning of time. The engine problem of inequality and poverty. And so he began to rouse society and say you know we have so much missing and you cation so much missing and health care so much missing with the difference in the classes but we have the answer to this and the answer is to overthrow the dictatorship of old Hansie about the stuff. And he rests unaided with a great deal of Cuban society even the Cuban upper classes began to help him. Now we are and the kilometer is fifty's the age of Christian Dior and Harry Winston and Cuba and it's a society we're all caught up in the balls and the bargain around and the fancy cars and extravagant living and Castro is saying the whole time. This is not fair we have to fix this gap we have to fix our society. And so young people began to catch up to that. And they wanted to reestablish the Cuban Republic before the dictatorship of old hands about the East. And so Cuba which was very prosperous at the time began to wield its muscle and say. Once we have Castro. The Republic will be restorable this democracy will truly be working once more and we will begin to address some of the social evils that we have had. And so. Civil war breaks out. And many of the kind of liberals. Went to fight for Castro site and to support him with arms and money and with their contacts and society. And soon enough the revolution caught up the winds of change and in one nine hundred fifty nine for Dell Castro with us rebels triumphantly entered have. But quickly after he entered have Ana his rhythm changed. And while they were coming down from the mountains as rebels they had crucifixes and said that the revolution was as green as our palm trees. Something began to emerge and the revolution. Something that was very far away from us across the world and the Soviet Union communism. And I after he had managed to see himself and power. His change everything he had said. And said we are communists we don't believe in God God is a fable and the Christian churches have been supporting and abating the Esther Gratz and the board just see and sense that cross must be destroyed so must the churches. And the midst of this revolution all this is world that they had collided right into the Revolution began to evaporate right before their eyes. And as a. So you have Cubans in every unlikely corner of the world. For an age of precedent of persecution and file and exploded in Cuba and much of the violence was aimed at the Christian churches and there was absolutely no consequence of who you were what your connections were how much power you had had everybody was going to suffer the same fate. Soon enough the communist soldiers began to go house by house to ransack every library with a list of block books just like the Nazis had done not too many decades before them and endless lists were all the works of Ellen G. White the Bible exciter etc etc and all of these works were entrusted to the flames. Then being and that you MUP concentration camps and countless of up dentists were sent to this concentration camps and order to silence and close up our reach and Cuba. Yet. Emiliano got a little the father of the young man who passed away. Would gather his family. And they were seen their pastors were being sent off their lame and well being sent off their houses were being invaded without any excuse and ransacked their relatives were in fear of their lives and everybody was trying to escape to any country that would provide them a visa and soon enough he began to see how his numerous family began to spread across the globe some to Australia other sustain. Others to France the United States Mexico Argentina anywhere with just the clothes on their backs for every house was inventoried and before you left they went to check if you had taken even a spoon and if you had taken a spoon you were not allowed to leave. But he will gather his family and read them many times from the Bible to encourage them. And one of the Versus. That is dear to the family is and draw me thirty one six. Be strong and of good curch fear not nor be afraid of them for the Lord thy God he is that does go with T. he will not fail be nor forsake the. This little girl had grown up to be a beautiful woman. But she was watching with this man how her world was being completely destroyed. But there was the strength of her grandfather who had raced her this pillar of certainty and faith. Until he got sick. And he got cancer and liver cirrhosis and one night he lay dying. And he said to his granddaughter who we called his daughter. And daughter don't forget who is the God of your fathers. Don't for sake of God. Though the world may be shaken and fall away stay true. And he died. And our arms. And she was absolutely devastated by his death and she vowed that if such a God that could permit the destruction of an entire society and take away the only. The strength that she had of such a god existed she wanted to have nothing to do with God. And so she decided that she would never again. Go into a seven day up and this church and her life. She turned her heart cold. And she left the few members of her family that were in Cuba went to have Ana and turned herself into a brand new person. Many years later she met a colonel of the armed forces and they began to court. And he was besotted and in love and so asked the government to give its blessing to their union and the government ran an investigation of her background. And then presented him with a thick folio and said you know your fiance. She has within her something evil. She has that evil seed of religion. Because she comes from Bordeaux see family and her family help to spread the Gospel and to build institutions of the Christian faith. And so because this is part of her character although she may be a member of the Communist Party. That dark seed within her will come out and she will betray the Communist Party one day. But he was in love and said on I'm going to and I'm willing to take that risk and so he married her. And I was born some years later but there was an understanding that I was never to know who my mother was and who her family. Had Been there was only a handful of members of her family in Cuba. And those people were instructed never ever to reveal the secret. And so I grew up completely ignorant as to what was happening. But God has a rescue mission working. And the rescue mission was under go in this whole time there was a Bible worker Her name is but side. Who through the persecution state through true to her faith she went to visit people in jails and the hospitals outreach without fear and her stir it really is a stir of incredible courage in every year but side I would go and visit my mother and remind her who the god of her fathers was and this was an incredible risk because the military class was under a special set of laws call the laws against diversion of ideology which prohibited them from having contact with any religious institution or with people that had contact with religious institutions so efforts was discovered to be doing that she would be sent off to a working camp or worse for a period of five to more years some people had gone to this camps for fifteen to twenty years. But she took that risk and one night when my father was away and want to have diplomatic. Trips I met but sighed up and she quickly didn't lose any time again to tell me everything about God and I would notice that later tonight my mother. What said. And she would began to. Sing a song and the words of the song is I will lift up my eyes onto the hills from whence cometh my help my help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth. She was literally sitting inside of the lion's mouth. But she was lifting her eyes asking God for some sort of a scape. And so after I learned about God I became extremely curious my dad returned. From Europe right as the Sufi at Union was beginning to dissemble. And there was a wind of hope in Cuba that may be that great change died shaken the world in Europe would come to us. But the Communist Party closed up ranks and cracked down on every freedom that could possibly spring up. And so as this is happening. My mother and I began to visit the church which was a very risky endeavor and because of and pressed for time I cannot tell you the adventures that truly Sherlock Holmes adventures that we had to do to go to church and to study the Bible but my mother knew that it was a cat and mouse game it was only a matter of time before we would be reported to the government. And because of the loss of diversion of ideology I would be taken away from my parents at the point so it was a race for knowledge. I began to read Bibles that had been hand written by children. And compiled because the Bible was a very rare book very few and few people had them and. So the advent of children many of them had given themselves the task to be the scribes to say all this works for the next generation and for the generation that I was living and so I began to read as as a small child I'm going to my bed with my last salvia batteries and the Bible and I was and thrall to buy everything that I was reading and I knew in the library of my home there was a copy of the Bible that my father read and he read it because he had a degree in engine history and read it as. Just another book of fables like the Iliad and The Odyssey but he would not permit me to read the Bible why was the Bible so dangerous when the Odyssey and the Iliad it were not. And so my father returned. And at that time we had been visiting the church and one night I decided that I was going to be baptized and I told my mother Mom. Tomorrow I'm going to tell my dad. I've been visiting the Seventh Day Adventist Church and that I want to be baptized. My mother was thunderstruck. Do you know what that means. Do you know that your father will divorce me and you will be taken over a to a camp where you be reeducated and then most communist member of the family will be given. To your care when you're twenty one years old. But I had read the story of Esther and those words of if I perish I perish resonated deeply within me. So that night we prepared were prepared for what was going to happen the next day. And I tried to memorize. My mother's face because I knew that perhaps I would never see her again. And so that night my parents both came to my room and my dad said Alexis I will be going to meet the prime minister of Nigeria tomorrow morning and your mother has to go to a trial the has to do with her work so you're going to be by yourself. And we will be at home later on in the morning so don't worry. So the next day I woke up. And. I was waiting for my parents and it was getting later and later and I decided that I was going to cook breakfast. So I went to the furnace room I grabbed a container of kerosene and I went to the kitchen. And the back of the house and began to try to cook what I didn't realize is that the match that I had snuffed out true on the floor and that match when right and to the very small sceptical. Entrance of this container. I closed it without realizing it and I put it underneath my arm to return it to the furnace room and as I was walking to the furnace room. This container exploded. I had to cos I had created a bomb really because half the container was full of air and half of the fuel and this the wave of expansion that it created it was felt for a kilometer radius. It severed my right arm and left it hanging from the tendons and my back. And it began to burn me from and side out. This was a rare chemical reaction. That happens when a room is completely enclosed and until that wave that not have an escape. I got burned from inside out. And so I decimated all of my airways. I didn't realize what was happening and I thought that my house had been bombed by the junkies because as a Stroud of course you're. Brainwashed that the junkies are going to invade and of course whose house would they bomb first by the militaries so I thought well here are the jackets and finally invaded. So I knelt down to roll on the ground and then I noticed this this wind in my hair I had long straight hair that I miss very much and I felt like something caught up in my hair and so I lifted my arms and that's when I noticed that I didn't have my right arm. And when I felt it was that I was being encircled by the flames over and over again. And I had a moment of incredible clarity. I knew that this was no coincidence and it was no accident. I knew that Satan was going to do something to stop the courageous step that we're about to make and to turn once and for all my mother's heart cold towards God and I began to pray Lord if I die please help my mother to continue on the path that we have chosen but if I live I only want to live to pray soon. And that's why I'm here tonight. When I open my eyes I was standing in front of the bathroom which was at the other end of the house. And the by. Room door was open and and a large mirror I could see the flames in circling me. To this day no one knows how I got from the kitchen to the bathroom for there was a pool of blood and the kitchen where I laid during my prayer but no tracing of blood all the way to the kitchen to the bathroom. When I got inside of the bathroom the fossils of water were already turned on so I thought that I had must have gone on conscience and that somebody must have come in the house to help me and I turned still burning and started screaming for help but there was no one in the house. At that moment when I saw the water on I remember a story a story that saved my arm and part my father I told Mr Oriel a friend of his in Siberia who had lost a finger and due to frostbite in part and they had grabbed a towel with water and kept the circulation go in until they were able to reattach it. So I took the water I put on the water a towel and with my left arm and my teeth I was able to wrap this towel around those left of my shoulder and to press my arm against the gaping hole. And then I began to run out to scream for help. From that point forward it was miracle after American after American after American. I can sit here for more than six hours and relate each and every American. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of the time. But God took this nine year old boy. Who was fragile and reduce. Who's to ashes and began to demonstrate with this child. That he was present in Cuba. And that it cannot be attributed to science and it could not be attributed to men it could only be attributed to God. And so something incredible happened the story of my accident. Took off through have an eye like wildfire. And seven they haven't just churches irregardless of what was going to happen to them began to go to the hospital and began it a circle of prayer outside of the hospital day and night day and night the church prayed and God inside was showing Cuba that he had not been exiled he had not been taken to the concentration camps he was not in jail he was there amongst them he was working with them. And so one night. The present dictator of Cuba who was at the time. Vice President of Cuba. Came to see me. And I was. Literally pieces of meat gathered and a hyperbaric bed. And he sat and he was looking at the medical history. And he closed it up and he looked at me I was into bated but I was not unconscious. And he said you know Alexis I don't believe in my shadow because it moves too much. But your case. Your case shows that there is a god. The Lord. Me From that moment. And used. This example of burnable bloody. To show Cuba. That he was their God he loved them and was reaching out to them and he is today. And so one hundred twenty five surgeries later. You have me. One of God's masterpiece Frankenstein's. And I am here. And in possibility. Talking to you. I should not be speaking and I should not be walking let our known be a life. But God has given me. Those abilities. And it's not because there is anything extraordinary about me is X. exactly the opposite it is because I am so ordinary. And just. And every day and. Just the next door kind of person that he used it because he wanted to show that. No matter who you are how useless you think you are. How untalented how paint house card. How been up by life you may be. He can make something really extraordinary a miraculous out of you. I wanted to close and I want to close this image. Or the story because I think. God and many ways we read the story of the children of Israel wandering and the desert and we think how is it possible that these people that saw the red sea spread open and that had this cloud above them too so that they wouldn't be scorched by the sun and had mana raining down how could these people doubt God. And yet. Here we all are. Blessings raining down upon us and we've got God. My father had a very interesting way of introducing my scars to me before I got burned I had been a child model for Bohemia magazine and I was somewhat proud of my looks. So I had not seen the monster I had become. And one day I cut my reflection and I told my father died. I want to see what I look like he said OK OK I will bring your mare but you have to wait till I go home and I come back so he went home he dressed up and got a uniform and he put all the medals that he could on. And he knew that I loved his medals because he had been around the world have fought in many wars had many honors and I was enthralled by all this in the ANA John kind of stories in Africa and Madagascar and Europe and as he worked as a spy in infiltrate a government and I was just and all of this larger than life man. And so he went home got all his medals on. And he went back and to my room with America he said before you look. I just want to tell you something I'm envious of you. And. Said of me. What do you envy of me I have no accomplishments. I have done nothing compared to what you have done. He said Well when I get home after a parade I have to take off my medals and my uniform. But you are like says you are going to wear your medals every day of your life for the rest of your life. So every time you look at the mirror you're going to see the evidence of this fight against death. And so when I look at the mare. I saw those medals and I've had a love and a relationships with the scars that cover my body. But every day no matter how much I may doubt suddenly no matter what the moment of weakness I'm a half no matter my failures God reminds me and the mare. I did this for you. Your scars are your medals. We all have scars. We can choose to be a victim or survivor. And God has given us the tools and the calling not only to be survivors but to share our scars with the world. So that everyone may be healed. By those ultimate scars the scars on the hand of Jesus. I would like to close by reading here Bruce eleven. One two three. Now face is. Some may shine for the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders up to him Good report through faith we understand that that the worlds were framed by the Word of God so that the things which are not seen were not made of things which do appear. So I leave you faith. Because in faith there is hope. And hope there is love. And love is the ultimate gift over and over this media was produced by audio for yes. It is layman's services and industry. If you would like to learn more about. Please visit. Or if you would like to. Visit.

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