So about the trip. . .
April 14 my brother Levi & I met with the rest of the evangelistic team in Miami, Florida. Our team was led by Henry & Arleen Stubbs who have been involved in evangelism in Cuba for 15 years. Others joined our team from Idaho, North Dakota, North Carolina, Virginia, and of course Levi & I from Kentucky. That evening went quickly, as we became acquainted with each other, spent some time in orientation meetings, and did last-minute packing.
April 15, at 4:00 AM we began the big day. We made it to the check-in line in the Miami airport without much mishap, aside from some confusion about what airlines we were traveling on! The ladies at the counter meticulously weighed our luggage, including our carry-ons, charging us each $1 per pound for everything above 44 lbs. That bill came to around $1,000, but we were thankful it wasn't more. What we were more concerned about however, was the reception we might get on the Cuban side. Would we be able to get all of our precious literature and Bibles through? Would we be subject to "taxes" and "custom fees" or have our books taken away? We had about 45 minutes in the air from Miami to Cuba to pray and prepare our hearts for any questioning or problems might lie ahead.
We were met at the Cuban terminal by immigration officers, eager to direct us to the private immigration cubicles. However, we soon learned that before we could go through immigration, we needed the original copies of our religious visas. (We had already received photocopies of our visas a couple weeks prior.) The originals had been deposited at the airport a few days before, but apparently not with the correct window of time for processing. We were thankful to soon find out that a dear airport official had labored during her off-hours to make sure that we could still enter the country when we arrived! This lady, Maria Rosa, stayed with us through most of our airport experience to make sure we didn't have problems. We were granted mercy through our whole experience in the airport, entering Cuba without sustaining any losses or fines. Praise God!
A bus from the Adventist Seminary met us at the airport and took us to the seminary for a couple hours to re-organize and prepare to go to our 3 separate evangelistic sites.
My part was the health presentations at the beginning of each evening meeting. I spoke about the benefits of water and exercise, the effects of alcohol and caffeine, and the ways to reverse diabetes and high blood pressure.
Each night the children had a craft that helped reinforce the lesson learned.
|One girl from our group had an underwater camera. . . unfortunately it couldn't capture half the beauty!|
Our first visit was to a pastor and his family. This family has been faithful and earnest in their work for their own people. Despite great poverty (pastors are not paid much there!), they faithfully labor together as a family for the Lord. They were very grateful to welcome us into their home. (As a special donation to their work, James gave this family his personal laptop computer.)
|Levi in front of a bunch of banana plants|
|James, the Cuban farmer|
|Levi & I enjoying a pre-breakfast feast under the mango tree! (I ate 5 mangos that time. . . yum!)|