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Tag Archives: Cuba

The Power of People

There were six rows of benches on either side of the aisle. Each bench sat four people, which meant our United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team took up 25 percent of the space. It was Wednesday evening, and we were at a United Methodist church in Manajanabo in the center of Cuba. It was their midweek service, and it was packed. There was music, drama, reading from the Bible and songs sung by so many different people. Five small children came up, one playing a ukulele, and sang a song ... Read More »

Finding Community in Cuba

Hola From Cuba, We are here. Finally. Not that it takes so much time to get here like Africa or other remote locations. Just finally as in the moment we have all been waiting for has arrived. Months of preparation, anticipation, apprehension, all come together. As has been my experience, mission trips produce instant familial familiarity. That is, close quarters, a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, some sarcastic humor, some ribbing and teasing as we reveal our individual idiosyncrasies, and before you know it strangers are family. We have spent quite some ... Read More »

What is Cuba Like? by Bill Gray

I’m frequently asked about my trips to Cuba. What we do there is the most popular, followed by a curiosity of the island, and finally the mystique of a communist country. The politics are just that and change in that country is inevitable. But why I go there isn’t an easy answer because there is something intangible and mysterious about the experience. The Cuban Methodist Church is like many outside the US or Western culture, LIVELY. Yes, the worship experience is unlike ours, maybe closely resembling gospel here in the ... Read More »

Reflections from Cuba

On May 24, a team of 11 missioners left for Cuba for 12 days to build new and paint existing dormitories at Camp Canaan, a Methodist training and meeting center near Santa Clara, Cuba. While there, they did not have internet access.  Now that they are home, here are some reflections from their trip.  While I waited in Santa Clara for Aldo to update his Cuban passport (and thus able to leave the country), I waited outside on the busy sidewalk, which was very narrow. I stepped into an apt./house ... Read More »

Cuba Team – June 1 Post 2

Today is our last day in Cuba. This morning we visited the United Methodist seminary and the church that is attached to it. There are around 55 students who will be graduating this year from seminary with another large class right behind them. The students come to classes for a month at a time, they live in dorms, share meals and take classes together. After the month they all return to their churches, where they are full pastors, and work until it is time for another class. The professors we ... Read More »

Cuba Team – June 1 Post 1

Today is Sunday here in Pilon. Sunday means quite a bit of church attendance here in Cuba. This morning I was given the honor of teaching the adults of the church (about 40). Needless to say I was a bit nervous. Of course the Holy Spirit was alive and the lesson went well. We then all gathered together for worship. I’m sure as others have explained – worship here is alive, loud, and spirited. What a way to start your day. Having been here a week working, eating, being served ... Read More »

Cuba Team – May 28

I had the privilege to help in the kitchen. The ladies were very organized. They made huge meals. Working in very small kitchen everyone had an assigned task so it made the work flow very smooth. I also helped with the laundry. There is a small washer in the kitchen so it took hours to do laundry for ten people the clothes were hung on the clothes line to dry just like in the olden days. It was a joy to work with the ladies it allowed me to get ... Read More »

Cuba Team – May 27

Hace muy calor! Today we are mixing concrete, by hand, for the laying of tile around the church. Joel, the foreman, and Luis make it look like children playing in the sandbox but when we try to do it we realize it is hard, heavy and hot work. The other night we were able to go to a mission church here in Pilon. A mission church is similar like a satellite church in the United States. The church was started by some members of Casa de Dios in another location ... Read More »

Cuba Team – May 24 Post 2

On Sunday we attended a church service at Casa de Dios in Pilon. It was very different from the church services we have in the United States, but it was also a refreshing experience. In the service, the children did dances and were active throughout the service which was fun to see because they were so lively. The whole congregation was so involved in the service and would shout, clap, and dance. I can’t begin to explain how amazing it was to see, how filled all of these people were ... Read More »

Cuba Team – May 24 Post 1

Today we traveled to Pilon from Camp Canaan. After our delicious breakfast of fried Spam sandwiches and fruit we were on the bus. We were excited for our planned stop along the way. After 6 hours of driving, Manuel, our bus driver, made a few turns on some dirt roads and then pulled to a stop across the street from a structure with a solid foundation, windows and a roof on the front of the building. Aldo stood up and announced, “There it is!” We were looking at the Methodist ... Read More »

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