Friends, I’m so excited to make our first medical trip to Cuba February 26-March 2! We have a great team of 12 awesome folks going. Half of the team is in the medical profession, 3 members of the team has a great deal of experience in medical missions so I’m super fired up about the team God has drawn together for this trip. We will be working with 2 Cuban physicians and a nurse there. Setting up in two different neighborhoods the first two days and then traveling to the westernmost part of the island on day 3 to take much needed medical supplies to 2 different areas. Sunday will be preaching and teaching in the house churches as we will divide up into pairs and visit 6 house churches in the east Havana area. Prayers for our team to glorify God in all we encounter.
We had 6 on our team and had a wonderful time! Our team included 3 pastors so it was a great opportunity to share Christ with folks in their homes, on the street, and in teaching settings. Campo Amor is the foundation we partner with there in Cuba along with First Christian Church of Alamar. Pastor Eduardo is a longtime brother and friend and he and his team provided many opportunities for community involvement and continued relationship building.
We were able to take food, clothing, and other basic needs for those areas of Regla and El Roble that suffered damage from the first tornado in 80 years. We also took funds for building materials to repair damage to many homes. Thanks to many kind friends here in the U.S. that made generous contributions to our foundation we were able to assist many families. The Cuban people are just so grateful for the help and have such sweet hearts it’s impossible to not love them. I have traveled there so many times that many have become part of my family and it’s pure joy to be with them.
Another opportunity we had was to help them secure an apartment in a neighborhood about 40 minutes from the church. There is not a house church in the area and currently there’s the start up of a kids ministry there. They already have 20 kids that participate in a meeting on Thursday early evenings, followed by 10-12 adults from 7-8 p.m. It’s a very cramped space outside and the apartment privides plenty of room and has a terrace on top that is fenced in and can host many kids as well as adults. The kids director and her husband are selling the place they have lived for 20 years and relocating to the new place with their son. The husband will be the house church Pastor and she will lead the kids ministry. It’s a bold move and they feel called to lead in this community.
I traveled down last month to deliver the rest of the funds collected so we now have enough to make it happen. Again it wouldn’t be possible without the help of many here who are so kind to contribute to this ministry.
Our next trip is scheduled for Oct. 9-14 and we have a need for more that would like to make the trip. Give it some thought and prayer and just let me know. God bless each and every one of you.
Six of us had a wonderful trip 3/6-3/12 as we visited the areas affected by the tornado and saw the strength and joy of those impacted most. What an inspiration the Cuban people are to me every time I visit. Our team was shown a great lesson in joy through suffering only available through the Holy Spirit. We delivered food, toiletries, clothing to those in need. The local house church pastor will distribute more each day to the many that need basic items. We also left an offering to help with buying glass to replace windows, roofing materials, paint, etc. Thanks to so many friends that had donated to our mission and they thank you for your gracious gift. Many of the areas had pushed much of the debris out to the street so a lot of initial cleanup had taken place. One house church in particular was the one of Matilda, a 91 year old lady that was in her apartment by herself when it hit. Glass was blown everywhere but she was not hurt. Just as always had a huge smile on her face when we went to visit her and her church group.
The areas of El Roble and Regla were hit pretty hard by the storm but others not so much thank God.
We also visited a few sick folks in the Alamar neighborhood and was amazed at the number of friends that dropped in to check on them personally. We were only at each residence around 20 minutes but they had several drop by to see if they needed anything and if they could help in some way. Heartwarming people in those communities and I wish we had more of that here in the U.S.
We visited an area where we are starting a new house church near Miramar. Playa is the name (not the beach) and we have a couple who have volunteered to move there from their apartment in Alamar which is about a 35 minute drive away. They already have a vibrant children’s ministry of almost 20 beautiful kids. The place they currently meet is small and cramped with that many kids so we are looking to help get a place about 12 blocks away with a terrace and lots of room. Some of you have made very strong contributions toward this and we are about halfway there. I truly feel the Lord will provide the way for us to have it to use for this wonderful ministry. We had a kids service followed by an adult service on Thursday evening. It was just awesome.
Sweet people that want to gather together a couple of times a week and have Bible study and sing. God is doing awesome things there and it’s such a joy to spend time with all of those we have built great relationships with over the years.
Friends, we have a couple of needs we want to try to meet in Cuba. First, a little over 2 weeks ago a strong force tornado ripped areas in East Havana causing extensive damage to homes and 6 people were killed and 95 people injured. It’s the first time a tornado of that force had hit the island in 80 years. We are looking to raise money to assist the over 2000 homes that were either destroyed completely or heavily damaged. We need to buy windows, roofing materials, tools, etc. Some items such as door locks and many tools aren’t available there so we’ll need to purchase them here and hand carry on our trip March 6th.
The other need is to help the partner church purchase a 2 bedroom apartment with a terrace and community backyard to use for children’s ministry and a Christian center. The area is in the Playa area west of downtown Havana. We currently don’t have a lot of outreach in that area. A wonderful opportunity as the cost is $55,000 USD and the reason it is so cheap is the owners have left the country and need to sell it quickly. We currently have 14,400 pledged toward the purchase. Every donation helps. It’s in a very safe area and doesn’t need any work really to start the move in. We appreciate any help and can get you a letter of confirmation for tax purposes.
Our next trip is March 6-12 and we have 6 going on our team of which 3 are ministers! Should be a great opportunity for everyone to represent Christ in all of our activities. We will continue to pick up trash and litter in the community of Alamar and show the community we will do the lowest job to represent the highest power. We will teach house church leaders, students ages 16-19, and smaller kids in the ministry. One member of our team was the biggest influence in my initial trip to Cuba in 2001, and he has not been able to return since 2009 due to health reasons. It will be wonderful for him personally to be able to get back and see everyone. I’m so excited to spend time with the group that is going and also to see all those in Alamar that have become family. Would love to have you join us as there is still time and our next trip will be in the late summer or fall if you can’t make this one.
Dios te Bendiga. Steve
We had a wonderful trip that was full of service and outreach. We love to build relationships and that is the key to reaching those in need of a relationship with Christ. The first two days were picking up litter and trash on the streets in the neighborhood of Alamar. There are many lessons involved in doing this type of activity. First it’s a dirty and humble job that nobody wants to do. So by doing this in front of the people it sends a message of humility that is what Christ ask us to model. It also is meaningful because we are able to interact with people walking on the street and explain what and why we are doing it. We explain that they have a beautiful community and should be proud of it and want to keep it clean. Also when stuff piles up it creates even more problems in regard to disease and unhealthy environment for kids playing outside. We also give them information about the nearby church and give them the book of John in Spanish. The goal is to give the community a different mindset that even though the government owns it they should take pride in it . The dumpsters are for the most part always full so it will take some time to get them to use a different form of pickup and and collection. In the meantime we can use the symbolism in our message of keeping ourselves clean from sin and sinful nature by developing a relationship with Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to be the Counseler in our decisions. We also met with the youth on Saturday morning and spoke about responsibility and accountability for our actions and decisions. It was an interactive group of about 30 young people ages 16-20. They are the future of the church there and need to understand the importance of being a role model to the younger kids in the community. Sunday was speaking in house churches during worship and early afternoon was Baptism at a nearby beach in Bacuranao. We hope to continue to stay the course on follow up trips. Next scheduled trip is March 6-12, 2019. Please go with us!