The following excerpt is from the book Extreme Devotion which we like to highlight every Monday to give you all a boost in your faith. This particular devotion describes what Tom White and his wife Ofelia White did while Tom was imprisoned in Cuba. Tom is the current Director for the USA The Voice of the Martyrs.
For those who have suffered in prison for their faith in Christ, Holy Communion is a precious ceremony; however, it is rarely shared under the watchful eye of prison guards.
Tom White and a pilot named Mel were flying over Communist Cuba in a small plane, dropping thousands of leaflets that communicated the gospel of Christ to the oppressed people under Fidel Castro’s dictatorship. They got caught in a thunderstorm and were forced to make a crash landing. Although Tom and Mel were unharmed, they had landed in Cuba, and Communist guards were waiting with loaded guns. Tom and Mel were sentenced to twenty-four years in prison.
Tom was allowed two visits from his wife, Ofelia, who had a mission of her own. She smuggled a tiny packet of powdered grape drink enclosed in plastic and a rubber band. Tom would take the drink back into the prison cell so that he and the other Christian prisoners could share communion when the guards were not watching.
Tom and Ofelia White both understood one thing. Celebrating Jesus Christ and his shed blood on the cross was the most powerful symbol holding their marriage and mission intact.
Tom and Mel were released after eighteen months. Today Tom and Ofelia continue to celebrate Christ’s sacrifice for them in Oklahoma, where Tom directs the work of The Voice of the Martyrs.
Christ instructed his disciples to celebrate two traditions: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are symbols of devotion to him—a celebration of his death and resurrection. As much as they are Christian traditions, however, they ought never become merely traditional events. We may not understand believers who risk their lives to commemorate the Lord’s Supper because the tradition has never been at risk in our own cultural setting. But those who are persecuted for their faith find their priorities are reordered. The symbols become precious expressions of devotion. What do the Christian symbols of baptism and communion mean to you? How will you heighten your celebration the next time you observe Christian baptism and participate in communion?