I suggested our conference speakers could work with Yoan Moreno. Yoan lived in a remote are of Bayamo province, and didn’t have email, so he and I had lost touch over the past couple of years. But Yoan was a good translator and also someone who was passionate to serve God. I thought he might like to help us in October.
Much to my surprise, during these discussions someone responded, “Yoan died. He died about a year and a half ago.”
I was stunned.
Later that day I went to my closest colleague, Alternan, and I asked him, “Why didn’t you let me know Yoan Moreno had died? I just found out.” It was Alter’s turn to be shocked. “What are you talking about?” he replied. He then hung his head and said, “I had no idea.”
In confirming this awful news with other church leaders who were at the conference, I discovered that a while back Yoan began experiencing severe headaches. He was sent to Havana for tests, where he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Within a few weeks, he died.
Yoan was a young, single, short, scrawny, prematurely-balding geek who normally wore thick glasses. Since in the early 2000’s Christian books in Spanish were very scarce in Cuba, he began finding them and reading them in English and that is how he developed a proficiency for the language.
He and I used to have a long chat at least once or twice a year, and Yoan always had Christ and His work on His mind. I would always compliment him on his English and he would respond that he would love to help ACTION as a translator but that he was too shy to translate in front of a large group. In January of 2007 I convinced him to “give it a try” and he translated for Dr. Wil Chevalier at a pastors’ conference. He did an excellent job, and was not nearly as nervous as he thought he would be.
One evening during that event Yoan and I walked up to the roof of the church late at night and we looked at the city and at the stars. He explained to me a recurring vision he was having, of small spiritual fires that were starting all over the island, as Cuba was hearing the gospel. I recall him asking me, “Am I crazy, or will Cuba be won for Christ?”
Some years later we lost touch, and I did not know of him again until this trip when I learned of his untimely passing.
Yoan Moreno was a true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and he went home too soon. I cannot believe I will not see him again on this earth. Rest in peace, my friend. We’ll meet again soon, at the top of the church, and gaze at the stars.