Hope For Cuba

I am finally sharing more of my pictures from Cuba. I’m not an expert on Cuba and I know some of you who read my blog are from Cuba or have family from Cuba.

I did learn a few things while on our mission trip there in July. One of the things I felt from the very beginning is the feeling of fear from the government.

I'm no longer a slave to fearIt began as soon as we arrived at the airport in Havana. A woman took all our passports and asked us to come with her. Within a few minutes she gave them back to us and led us outside but it seemed they wanted to show us they had control.

From Havana, we rode a school bus to Santa Clara. We were stopped on the highway by the government and they checked the bus driver’s papers. They also put a man, that we didn’t know, on the bus and he rode with us for over 100 miles until he got off the bus. (He was a little scary looking and the men on our team were keeping a close eye on him.)

All these pictures were taken with my iPhone so the quality is not great but the first picture was taken on Sunday morning before worship.

This is where our  hostel  was located. (In case you don’t know, a hostel is a building with guest rooms. We stayed one night in Miami on the way down and one night on the way back at a Quality Inn and it felt like a 5 star hotel compared to our hostel. Just for comparison.)

Hope For Cuba-12hope for cuba-2This is where we ate most of our meals. It was at one of the pastor’s homes. The money for our trip was used to buy the food and pay them for preparing the food. They were able to eat much better because we were there for the week.

hope for cuba-0
I had a hard time eating the food so I played with these two sweet babies a lot. We ate eggs every morning for breakfast which I could eat but they had hot dogs with them. I couldn’t do it. When I go back, I will bring healthy, protein snacks and keep them in my backpack.

hope for cuba-1
hope for cuba-9Wayne loved playing with the babies too and this one wanted Wayne all the time.

hope for cuba-44When you’re in Cuba, it feels like you have gone back in time. There are horse and buggies everywhere, even in the city. We snapped this picture of a donkey pulling a buggy.

hope for cuba-3
There were also pay phones all over the city and people used them. Because we stopped trading with Cuba in the ’50’s (until recently and we now can trade with Cuba), you see so many old American cars. All the men on our team loved seeing the 57 Chevys!

hope for cuba-7We ministered, discipled and preached in Cuba on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On Sunday night, the leader and his wife of our team, Colby and Sarah, (they are Americans), were visited by someone at their hostel and were asked to come to the police station on Monday morning.

The police had been watching us and they knew we were visiting church homes, they knew my husband was a pastor and they knew he had preached on Sunday morning.

The Cuban pastor we were working with was asked to come to the police station on Tuesday morning. We waited at his house until he got back. Everything went fine but they felt we needed to lay low and not do anymore discipling or preaching.

So on Tuesday and Wednesday we acted more like tourists. We took pictures at all the touristy places in case the police wanted to see us. We would have pictures on our phones that made us look like tourists.

hope for cuba-8
You are allowed to have Bible study and worship in your homes in Cuba but you can’t build a church and believe me, they are watching.

They don’t want Christ to be worshipped too much. What the Cuban government doesn’t know, is you can’t regulate Jesus. If you are a believer, He is LORD of your life!

I fell in love with the Cuban people. Even though they have been oppressed they have a love for people. They are friendly and loving and they greet you with a kiss on your cheek. This was many of the people we ministered to during our time in Cuba.

hope for cuba-11
The Cuban people blessed us more than they could ever imagine. I think it’s safe to say, we were all changed by our time in Cuba.

hope for cuba-22
I have played this song before but as I listened to it this week, I thought about my time in Cuba and although the government wanted us to be fearful we aren’t slaves to fear because we are children of God.

Thank ya Jesus!!!

For more Beauty For the Heart posts go here.

If you would like to receive my posts in your inbox, you can sign up to receive my daily emails and you’ll never miss a thing. I’m also on FacebookPinterest and my favorite one, Instagram.

Have a blessed day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

41 Comments

  1. I love your blog, and your posts. This, however, was one of the best. I wasn’t happy when I heard our g’ment had lifted sanctions against Cuba. I now see God’s merciful hand in all of it! Thank you for your beautiful insights, and your heart for Jesus!

  2. Thank you for sharing about your trip! What a blessing! And I love this song so much… Especially when my son sings it at church!! I have to remind myself daily (especially lately with all of the politics going on) that I do not have to be a slave to fear, worry or doubt… Jesus paid the price for that and when I bow to it, it’s like saying to Him that the price wasn’t enough… Eek!! I do not want to ever say that to Jesus intentionally!!

    Thanks again!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. You’re beautiful inside out. Those two boys were absolutely adorable and I’m sure were just overjoyed for you spend time with them. I know you made some eternal investments that will reap much joy in heaven!

    God bless you,
    Shannon

  4. Hi Cyndi,

    I was born in this country but my parents are Cuban. They came to this country legally in the 1960’s. They became citizens, worked hard, and prospered in the United States. They love this country and never take freedom for granted.

    Many people don’t know this, but even though my parents are American Citizens the Cuban government will not allow them to enter Cuba with an American passport. In order to enter Cuba they would have to obtain a Cuban passport and their American nationality would not be recognized. The same goes for children born in the United States of Cuban parents. For this reason, and many others, my parents have never returned to their homeland and I have never seen the place where my family is from. They vowed to never return until real change has occurred and they don’t have to fear for their lives. Hopefully that day will come.

    I was eagerly awaiting your email about Cuba to see pictures. I appreciate you sharing the truth of what it’s like there. The Cuban government closed down all of the churches in Cuba when Castro took over, but it could not keep my parents from praying at home and having faith. Faith cannot be controlled. It’s that faith that helped them get where they are today.

    Thank you for sharing your kindness with the Cuban people and for sharing your story.

  5. Thank you for sharing! Praise God that you and your group were safe during the trip and those around you too. Glad you made it home safely.

  6. I’m happy to know you enjoyed your trip. Listen, Cindy, in one of the pictures we can see a goat (not a donkey) pulling a cart where children go for a small ride. And they really love it. The guy is responsible for the ride, and he takes the kids on ways that don’t have too much traffic, usually around squares or something like that, which seems to be the case.

  7. Thank you so much for the pictures. They are awesome. At least I can see some actual pictures of where my parents are from. Thank you so much!!

  8. I loved hearing about your time in Cuba. I understand leaving a part of your heart there as I have done the same in Kenya from a mission trip there. Also, we sang this song in church this morning! I love how God works! Bless you Cyndi!

  9. Cyndi, my son-in-law recently visited Cuba. He was there for eight days.
    I haven’t had a chance to talk with him about the trip yet. I am thankful that all of you are home safe.
    These pictures and your posts are really enlightening. It will give me a little bit of insight for when we see
    him in September.

  10. Very sad when governments choose to intimidate their citizens and visitors in order to prevent basic rights such as the freedom of religion. Cuba is a very poor country; it is shameless that the authorities would choose to squander their very limited resources squashing any attempt at religion or worship as opposed to say build a decent society. Your story rekindled a memory of mine from over 30 years ago. I had gone to Cuba on holiday as a high school graduation gift( I’m Canadian; Canucks and our money have always been welcome in Cuba) along with loads of other high school kids. The trip was fairly uneventful, we went to the beach, ate horrible food, swam and played volleyball….like normal kids. The local Cubans would come and play with us ….one of the young lads was especially nice to us, so as we were leaving we gave him some t shirts and baseball hats; no sooner had we given them to him, the police came out of nowhere, arrested him and took him away……just because some kids gave him some clothes. I don’t know whatever happened to him, hopefully nothing to serious came of it. Sadly, it seems Cuba is still choosing to harass citizens and visitors as opposed to creating a decent society where people are free to express themselves as they choose. Sounds like you and your hubby Wayne are doing good work. I loved your story about giving away your clothes…nobody got in trouble for wearing them, so see, little by little Cuba is getting better. God Bless!

  11. This reminds me of our mission trip to Ecuador several years ago. We ministered to families living in the city dump. Yes i said living in the dump. To the point of giving birth in the dump. The men and children combed through tons of garbage looking for plastic and metal scrap that they could recycle for a little cash. They women looked for food. It was heartbreaking to see the filth they lived in. The mission organization Extreme Response who we were s part of brought in temporary Showers once a week plus volunteers to give haircuts, shaves, and brought the women necessary products. The ministry was able to vuild a small building on the edge of the dump and held bible studies for adults and the children. It has been amazing to see how God orchestrated everyrhing that happened there. Ecuador and its people especially the dump people will always hold a special place in my heart!

  12. Thank you for sharing and I hope you will continue doing so. I have recently heard different takes on Cuba, but yours reminds me that the people are the most important. I pray the Lord will bless them and protect them. Blessings to you and your ministry as well.

  13. So glad to see your perspective,Cyndi. It’s hard to imagine not being the same after seeing this first hand. So proud of you and your team!

  14. Thanks for sharing. I am hoping after my children are all grown, my husband and I will have the opportunity to travel with a missionary. what a life changing opportunity.

  15. We do have so much to be grateful for in our country, the freedom to worship, the freedom to vote, to agree or disagree with our government without fear of imprisonment or death. Things we too often take for granted. God bless you all for your work with these loving people. May God bless the people of Cuba and those who bring His word to them.

  16. Thanks so much for sharing. Hope to see more pictures. I’ve been to Vietnam and China and when you arrive at your lodging they take your passports and you don’t get them back till you leave. They register you with the government so the government can keep tabs on you.

  17. Just recently returning from Nicaragua I will say that it’s similar to Cuba but has more religious freedom. The dump of Nica was covered 2 years ago and those who lived in such utter filth were able to live in very small cement homes in return for working in the new recycling center. They make an extremely low wage but have so many mouths to feed. We worked on a project sight ” Chocacente” where families left the dump for a better life. Fabulous program. Our church began work on building them a place to worship. Built a school a few years back which now has 150 students attending grades K-11. They are learning English, reading, writing, math, computer skills etc. speaking English will guarantee these kids a higher paying job when older. I have never physically worked so hard in my life. It was hard work but so gratifying. Looking forward to returning.
    Oh yes you must bring protein bars, high protein oatmeal, drink packs to get through week. Let’s not forget about bottled water, even when brushing teeth which I can assure u is a luxory in the US.

  18. This is most deeply touching post you have shared ( for me )… Thank you for going, ministering and sharing this information and the pictures!
    Our kids have been to Jamaica a couple of times and have been on many other mission trips. Our daughter, Erica who is 21 will be going to Egypt on a mission trip in a couple of days. I know she has similar things waiting for her there ~ and is excited to witness! Thanks for your blog! It’s an inspiration… 🌟💖🌟

  19. Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad we are in this together even if we never meet this side of heaven. We recently returned from New Orleans, where we worshipped and served beside a loving Hispanic church. We had the best homemade tortillas, eggs with hotdogs and refried beans. I smiled because I remembered my first reaction to eggs and hot dogs together! 😊

  20. I have been so looking forward to hearing about your mission trip to Cuba. Thank you for sharing all these pictures with us and for sharing the message of Jesus with the people of Cuba. Beautiful!

  21. I, too, disagree with our govt lifting sanctions because I believe it was done for the wrong reasons and awards an oppressive govt. However, isn’t it so wonderful how God takes something bad and uses it for His glory? God’s word can be spread and the Christians in Cuba, while still oppressed by the govt, can be encouraged ad blessed. Praise God!

    All that being said, unfortunately I believe that here in the US it won’t be long before Christians here are also oppressed by an increasing liberal and morally bankrupt govt. But we can learn so much from those Christians in countries like Cuba where they continue to serve and worship God – in spite of their oppression and poverty.

    Thank you Cyndi for sharing this with us. It touched and blessed me.

  22. Thank you for sharing your experience in Cuba. My niece is a missionary in China and she is constantly being watched. She has to be very careful what she writes in emails and facebook posts because of that. To the point where we cannot say “Pray” . We need to say “Pr-y” and things like that. My nephew is a Christian Musician doing a 3 week tour in the Ukraine and we fear for his safety. These countries do not want the Christian faith and they will do what they can to stop it. It’s very sad 🙁

  23. Thank you for always inspiring us, Cyndi. You are a blessing. In case you haven’t heard it, check out the Afters new song, “BATTLES” on YouTube. AMAZING! And my little super hero grandsons will be so inspired! 🙂 God bless you.

  24. Your story really touched my heart, Cyndi. Thank you for sharing. Even though I know you probably felt incredibly blessed to be there and share your faith and love, I can almost see some of the pain in your eyes in these photos. I lived in another country for a couple of years with my family for my husband’s work, and you are absolutely correct…some countries want the people to ‘feel’ their control. It truly opened my ‘naive, entitled’ eyes…but by the grace of God was I born in these United States of America. No human soul can pick their homeland; and pain and suffering knows no geographical location. All of God’s children deserve to live with dignity. Suffering, whether it’s on the streets of New York, or in the barrios of a third world country, is suffering. We are truly blessed to live in a country where Freedom reigns. Thank you, again, for reminding me to be grateful and humbled.

  25. The buildings are run down partially due to US sanctions but the streets seem very clean and the people well nourished. I felt quite intimidated at Los Angeles International airport with all the heightened security, so we all need perspective. Food in different countries can take getting used to. I think the hardest part is the lack of freedom, religious and personal which the people of Cuba live with, but I believe that it is better than it was

  26. Thank you very much for sharing about the Cuban people and your personal experiences there. Just beautiful and it helps to know how to pray for these very oppressed people. Thank you Cyndi!

  27. Good morning, Cyndi, and thank you so much for sharing about your mission trip! I can relate with you because I just returned from St. Maarten which is another very poor country without much Christian influence. I so admire you & your team for taking this mission trip & trying to share the love of Jesus!

  28. Hi Cyndi, my sister sent me a link to your website only afew weeks ago and I signed up to receive your emails. I get so encouraged, & especially today reading about you and your husband & the team being in Cuba. That song is just the song I needed to hear at this time, your an inspiration. Thankyou

  29. Thank you for sharing! My kids and I loved reading your story and looking at your photographs of Cuba. How sad that the government is so oppressive. You are right, though, you can’t limit our God!!! <3

  30. Wow – what a story! It makes me feel guilty for taking my church and freedom to worship for granted. I’m thankful God is still the ruler of the universe in spite of those in government who try to eliminate Him!!

  31. Hi Cindi: Enjoyed your pics and information about Cuba. It is heart breaking to see the bondage that other countries are in. My daughter & her husband are youth pastors in California and they were in Mexico all last week on a Youth Missions trip. They went to the daycare/orphanage that their church helps. Coming home their hearts were heavy leaving those precious little ones behind. Blessings to you and your church family for reaching out & helping those in Cuba. Changing one heart for Jesus at a time & ALL Heaven rejoices.

    VaNita

  32. Thank you for sharing about your trip. I have not had enough internet signal to see it until now. I’m sure you were an encouragement to the Christians there, and I hope you are able to go back again.