Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cuba - Saturday

Our Saturday in Cuba was a full one. Breakfast at 8am in the fellowship hall of the church again and then onto the Bishop's bus with Pastor Luis and his wife for a trip back to Perserverancia. We dropped off all the suitcases we brought with us with items for the church and its people and picked up Pastor Javier and his wife for a day of touring. 

It was interesting to see a little bit more of Perserverancia and the church by daylight. This big building in the field as you head down the main road into town looks abandoned at first glance. It's not. Its the secondary school. 

There were all kinds of interesting ways to travel around town too. 

When Elsa visited the church back in early February, none of the outdoor courtyard was complete. The people worked hard in the last few months to put up the walls, the gates and lay the tile in the courtyard.

The right half of the building functions as the church sanctuary space - the left half of the building functions as the parsonage, with one bedroom, a small living area and a kitchen with a dining room table.

Standing out front of the church, looking towards the town center. 

Our main destination for the day was the southern port city of Cienfuegos. But along the way we stopped to visit a church in a university town. We popped by unannounced and found the pastor at church. Actually, this church is run by a pastora (lady pastor). That language is sometimes confusing because pastor's wives are also referred to as the pastora. It was exciting to visit this church and hear about its ministries. Not only do they have regular worship and study here but they also help support a few other smaller house churches in the area. 

The Road of Life Methodist Church 

La Pastora and Pastor Luis sharing about the church through our translator. Davis is snuggled up with  Pastor Javier's wife.  

Here are the two La Pastoras together! 

All the pastors and spouses together. 

Davis was absolutely fascinated by all of the dogs he came across. He wanted them all to have collars and leashes so that they could be part of a family. Right after we snapped this picture, he tried to pick up the church dog and take him on the bus with us. 

Our next stop was the Jose Marti Plaza in the heart of Cienfuegos. We got out to walk around the plaza and admire the architecture. The boys also got a chance to join another family with children and feed the birds. 

Scenes from driving around town. Many of the buildings sit empty and unused, like the Luisa Theater (Teatro Luisa).

This building is a Yacht Club on the water. 

Many of these small homes had names on them - they serve as vacation rentals near the water for folks from Europe and there are a few fancy hotels here catering to tourists.

Next stop - touring the downtown church in Cienfuegos. Pastor Luis had already been in contact with this pastor, who made our group lunch reservations. This is one of the oldest Methodist churches in Cuba and one of the biggest. About 600 people worship here in four worship services in a weekend.

The parsonage behind the church building. 

There was a Bible study group meeting in the back of the sanctuary.

The chairs for the pastor and worship leader.

View up to the balcony.

The boys explored the balcony and found the belltower!!

Next up was lunchtime!!!! This restaurant's food was amazing. 

Most of the grownups had virgin Pina Coladas!

One of my favorite all-time Cuban dishes, Piccadillo. And some of the best I've ever had.

Davis ordered grilled fish (no kids menu here). There were four big pieces of fish on his plate and he ate them all!! 

Back to Aguada, we took siesta again. Before dinner, we took a walk with Pastor Luis through the streets of Aguada to check out some of the shops and residential areas. That was an incredibly eye-opening experience into life in Cuba. 

Hanging out between dinner and worship time

We went to worship in Aguada for what was supposed to be mostly a song service. Twenty minutes into the singing, the power went out. The government frequently turns off the power at will, so this was not surprising. Without the microphones and the electric piano, the singers finished up the song that they were doing and then we switched gears for folks to come up and read Scripture and preach. People grabbed flashlights and cell phones for light. After about 30 minutes the power came back on and we finished up the service (about 90 minutes total for worship, which was the shortest of all four services we attended over the weekend!)  

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