Half joking, I suggested perhaps this would be a good year to go to Cuba. I asked around, but didn’t find a project we could join. (Sus Manos always collaborates, rather than trying to do our own thing.) I was about to give up, but Mike said perhaps God had put Cuba on my heart and I should look a little more.
So I googled “Seventh-day Adventists Cuba.” One of the first stories I saw mentioned an Andrews University (SDA Seminary in Michigan) evangelistic series in Cuba last year. I called the university and asked to speak to whoever had been in charge of the trip. The director of the Master of Divinity program, Dr. Ortiz, was surprised to get my call. He told me the university had never teamed up with academy students. Over the next few weeks as we exchanged emails and spoke on the phone, I became more convinced that Dr. Ortiz and I shared a similar view of short-term missions: collaborate with locals, build lasting relationships, avoid “voluntourism,” prepare well, work hard. I think he thought he might discourage me as he talked about his “boots on the ground” philosophy, but it only confirmed my desire to go to Cuba.
Mike and I prayed that God would send us to the right place—we really didn’t want to go out of a desire to see Cuba. Finally, after about a month of discussion and prayer, we got the green light. Later, in a Skype visit between Dr. Ortiz and my team, we would learn that he is only able to take a fraction of the students who want to participate in this trip and he has turned down former students who want to take church groups to Cuba with him. God convinced him that we should be involved in this project, and I pray that God will equip us and help us be ready for whatever He is sending us to Cuba to do.
So what will we be doing? University students will be speaking at a week-long evangelistic series in half a dozen churches in eastern Cuba. There will be a venue especially for young people where will present a skit each night. We will also do a Vacation Bible School during the day and visit people in their homes. We have a lot of work to do before March!
You can get involved, too! Click on the "Care for Cuba" link in the sidebar to learn about what Andrews is doing in Cuba.