Thanks to your faithful support, extra gifts and God’s continued blessing, here’s what the Cuba Connection Committee has been able to accomplish in the past two years:
1. Container to Cuba: It took about a year, most of the delay caused by “red tape” in Cuba, but a container filled with badly needed bicycles, office and other equipment, parts, all manner of goods in such short supply and even a small tractor was finally delivered to our brothers and sisters in the Cuban Christian Reformed Church in late May 2016 (see separate report and photos. The tractor is for a small farm the church has to grow food for their seniors feeding program.) Thanks to the generosity of many individuals and a few organizations, churches and companies in Alberta, we were also able to send wheelchairs, clothing and medical supplies---even 60 donated soccer balls plus windows and doors for a new parsonage. In a land that has so little, the goods in the container will make a real difference. Thanks especially to Rene Hebers from Bethel CRC for his tireless work heading up this thankless and endless, complicated task!
2. Torriente parsonage project: This project to replace a pastor’s home that was literally falling apart is now complete (see also separate report and photos) thanks to the windows and doors that were shipped in the container. There may be money left over, combined with gifts from some churches in the U.S., to replace a second condemned parsonage for another CRC minister in Cuba. Thanks the generosity of the churches of our Classis, more than $25,000 was raised (over and above our usual modest $5,000 annual budget) to replace a dangerous, dilapidated pastor’s home and diaconal ministry centre feeding dozens of seniors twice a day, five days a week.
3. Mutual visits: As you may recall, Pastor Antonio from Torriente Christian Reformed Church in Cuba visited us in November 2015 and was able to go to a number of churches, organizations and events. We hope to invite a few more Cuban pastors this fall, but it is often hard or impossible to get approval from the Canadian government for their visits. We also send teams to Cuba most years to keep our relationship strong, and did so again in March 2016, including both Rev. Roy Berkenbosch from The King’s University and Rev. Jim Dekker from World Missions. Both pastors preached and taught and Jim was the team translator. More trips are planned – our visits are very encouraging to the Cuban church.