I always present a clown show at the orphanages Sus Manos visits each year, and I was excited when David, the field coordinator, managed to swing an invitation to clown for a children´s hospital here in Cuba. I clown at a hospital in Portland, but this would be the first time clowning for a hospital outside the US. However, just hours before our group was to go to the hospital, Communist Party officials paid a visit to that hospital and David got a call canceling the invitation. We hope to be able to go later in the week.
It is helpful to be living here with the Andrews University students. This morning as we talked with tonight's speaker, I realized that the skit we planned to present tonight didn’t really mesh with the sermon. Praying for inspiration, I decided to rewrite the skit this morning to be about a man (Andrés) who suffered from LWP (Life without Purpose) Syndrome and needed a new heart. I had meant to make a heart from construction paper, but couldn’t find the paper. While we were decorating for VBS, I saw a slightly inflated balloon that would be perfect for the heart. The ability to make the heart pulse ended up being a great addition to the drama.
The skit was good at the Central Church, but it was terrific in the Amigos Church. Dr. Josué and Nurse Adonías really got into their roles as they worked on poor patient Andrés. As they moved him up to the table for the surgery, his head made such a loud bang that I was barely able to keep myself from running up to check to see if he was OK. Fortunately it was more sound than impact, but it did add to the impact of this drama which people talked about days later. With Carlos at the keyboard at Amigos, our skits are like old time movies with the organ player providing sound effects and music. We adore this man and admire his quick thinking creativity.
Today we tried out our new schedule. We sang with the children at VBS (58 kids!), did the magic trick from Josh´s backpack, told the Bible story, then went downstairs to the sanctuary to present the drama, and dashed to the Amigos church to do the drama again, and finally went back to the VBS. Mariela got in extra mileage running from room to room, making sure everyone had what they needed.
The downside to our schedule is that we don't get to hear the full sermon at the Amigos church. Mike told us Joffrey's talk today about having a purpose in life was really powerful. Mike was standing at the door at the back and saw a man on the sidewalk behind him. A church member standing nearby asked if he wanted to go in, but the man shook his head and moved backward. However, as the service progressed, Mike observed the man moving closer and closer to the door. As the sermon came near its conclusion, the man put one foot up on the step into the sanctuary, then another. As the pastor made his appeal for people to come forward for prayer, the man stepped fully into the room and began waving his hand. At the conclusion, the man went forward with those wanting special prayer. He told the AU students about the trauma he was experiencing—his wife had left him and he needed to restore his confidence in God. He is not from Holguin and just happened to be passing through town when he heard the service. Divine appointment!
Our experience here is having a powerful impact on my students, as well as on the Cubans. Today Josué asked me, “Profe are you coming to Cuba next year?” Whether we are able to return or not, I pray this week will help each of us live life with purpose.