June 2024 Newsletter

Written By César Arreaga

Published June 11, 2024

Report on Cuba Trip by Douglas Springer

May 23, 2024

I returned yesterday from 2 weeks in Cuba filled with adventure.   What the Cuban people are enduring is very sad.   I can’t truly feel their suffering, but I can show them compassion that comes from my heart. If I really care about them, they will know it by what I do and say.  I was able to visit with eight pastors and their families, one chaplain and his family, and one children’s worker, all who we support monthly.

Chaplain William and Santa and son Mario
Otto Pardo and wife Janette and daughter Zurisaday

Arrival in Havana was uneventful at first and then one of my suitcases did not arrive. This delayed my travel to Santa Clara by two days because half of the items I brought to distribute did not arrive. Eventually, the suitcase arrived after a great visit with Pastor Joshua and his wife Anna. I had to make a change, and instead of bus, I went 3 ½ hours by taxi to Santa Clara. With one hour left in my nice newer Mercedes taxi, it quit on the side of the road. One hour later, in 36 degree heat, I was rescued by a man in a 40-year-old run down Russian Lada, and it got me there hitting top speed of 80 kms per hour.

Geovani and Juana
Jorge and Esperanza

The next two days were spent visiting and sharing meals at pastors’ homes.  One evening during a blackout, we ate and visited in a small, hot, one-room house with Chaplain William, his wife, and their 19-year-old son by lantern.
Next was a 1 ½ hour bus trip to Cienfuegos.  In both Santa Clara and Cienfuegos there were many blackouts.  (Blackouts never happened for me in Havana.)  The worst part of the blackouts was that you never knew when they were going to happen or how long they would last.  Cienfuegos was especially bad, and every day the blackouts lasted about 15 to 20 hours per day total.  In my Airbnb, we had a generator and air conditioning.  Great Idea!  RIGHT?  The problem is that fuel is expensive and rationed.  The generator was on for four hours in the evening and then around 11:00 was shut off.  The joys of life in Cuba!  None of the homes I visited had air conditioning, only fans.  When the fans quit working and it was 36 degrees feeling like 40, the home quickly became stifling hot.  Many people slept next to the door or on their porch.
Surprisingly, most of the people I visited did not complain.  Most of our conversation was about their church, ministry, and family but also a lot about the blackouts.

William’s dinner in blackout

The situation in Cuba has gotten worse.  I did see a lot of people on the street buying goods, but food prices are very high for their income.  Many of the items are similar in cost to Canada, but their income is so much less.  One of the ladies I talked to is retired and her pension is $12 US a month.  A friend’s father is a doctor and receives about $48 per month.  How do they live on it?  I have no clue.  Most live with families and pool what little money they have.

Over the years, Cuba bragged about how good their medical system was.  They exported doctors to many other countries which brought income into the country.  Now Cuba does not have sufficient medical supplies for their needs.  Before surgeries can happen, patients need to try to buy the medical items needed for the surgery.  Maria told us about her niece who was having a baby.   One month before she was due, her doctor told her to buy sutures and the other supplies needed just in case she needed a caesarian delivery. 

Pastor Elpidio and his wife Alina

All the pastors we support asked me to greet you all and say how thankful they are for the monthly financial support from you.   So to those of you who support our mission financially and in prayer, thank you very much.

This is why I continue; I am blessed to sit and visit and share what you have provided.  Walking seven kms a day in 35 degree weather is worth it to be able to serve on your behalf.

Doug Springer
Executive Director

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for Pastor Elpidio and his wife Alina in Cuba as Elpidio begins his chemotherapy treatments for the cancer in his back.
  • Continue to pray for Karen who ministers to the young women in our Women’s Education program.  Pray for wisdom for Karen as she manages our program and disciples the women.
  • Pray for our upcoming Annual board meeting on June 7th.  Give the board wisdom as we plan for the future.
  • Pray for someone who has a heart for Latin American Pastors to come alongside Doug Springer and minister.
  • Pray for Pastor Giovanni as he raises funds to build a Sunday school room in his growing church.
  • Pray for Doug and Marni as they travel out to British Colombia to visit supporters.

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