Monday, October 9, 2017

Cuba - Thursday and Friday

After Daryl got home from Cuba last year, the talk began about going back and taking our whole family to Cuba this year for the dedication of our sister church. That conversation continued and eventually we worked it out for the first weekend in October. We were accompanied by our church's mission coordinator Elsa Kaye and her husband Glenn, as well as four others from our church who have visited Cuba in the last several years while the church was being built: Dale Dooley, Marti Frayne, Star Johnson and Bob Turner. 

The last Thursday evening of September our family of five drove down to Orlando to meet up with the rest of the team. We had a wonderful time of fellowship over dinner at Olive Garden. Davis had lots of helpers to work on the kids' menu puzzles - with Star and Elsa. 

We stayed in an Orlando hotel that night and we were all up on Friday morning at 4am to get ready and head to the airport for our 8:30am flight to Cuba. After some breakfast, we were waiting at the gate. 

Davis doesn't remember riding in an airplane before - but it's been four years since he came home from China. He was super excited about going on an airplane and our short 1 hour flight from Orlando to Cuba was perfect for him. 

Waiting in the Havana airport for our paper visas to arrive at immigration. 

Immigration all done, we went to collect our luggage. A few of our group had their suitcases flagged for extra checks so the rest of us spent some time hanging out in the airport with the bags.

Our first glance of Cuba outside of the airport. The cars made quite an impression! Then the boys realized that we were going to get to ride in one on the three hour ride to Aguada. The excitement only lasted for so long before the need to nap kicked in! 

Our home for the weekend - The District Superintendent Pastor Luis hosted our team at his church and the parsonage in Aguada. He moved his family into the church offices and let our team stay in the house. 

The courtyard between the house and the church, looking back towards the church kitchen and fellowship hall. 

The back patio with all our luggage. Davis loved all the little birds in their cages on the walls. 

Bob with the boys up on the roof over the church offices. This is where the Sunday school classes meet on Sunday mornings. 

Getting the tour inside the sanctuary. The drums were a big hit with the kids and the adults loved the Holy Spirit window. 

Time for a refreshing snack before our siesta! 

We stayed in the bedroom of Pastor Luis' daughter. She had just recently celebrated her 15th birthday. 

Hanging out on the patio waiting for dinner. This is Daryl with Glenn Kaye. 

Dinner was an amazing feast. They had roasted a whole pig! 

After dinner we drove about 15 minutes away to our sister church in Perseverancia for the church dedication service. They had a guest worship band and dancers. Bishop Pereira was also there from Havana. 

Everyone from the team got a chance to share a bit about their memories of visiting over the years. 

Here's Star with Pastor Javier from the church. 

Bishop Pereria speaking. He was impressed with how many people had traveled from our church to Cuba for the dedication of the church. He said it was one of the largest groups he had seen. 

Pastor Luis sharing as the District Superintendent about the history of the church and its ministry. 

There were so many people there for the dedication that they were standing outside the building all around peeking in through the windows. 

A special solo from this little one that the Bishop invited up to sing. 

The Bishop, Pastor Luis, Pastor Javier and Daryl dedicating the church to God and then praying over the people. 

Afterwards we gathered in the parsonage kitchen to make another gift to support the work of the church in the future. 

It might have been 11pm when the service ended, but the kids were still having fun. 

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