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Jim Durham's series of trips to Cuba
CUBA MISSION TRIP 2016
In September 2016, I had the privilege of going to Cuba for my fifth mission trip there, with full permission from the USA and Castro governments. Tourism is still not legal for Americans, but mission trips are.
The official reason
for going, is for church construction. The government will not allow
new church campuses to be built; but with permits and permission
additions and renovations of existing churches are allowed. Because of
these restrictions, Cubans have had to expand into “home churches”
which is allowed and helps the mother church to grow. In Cuba, the elderly original Evangelical churches are growing at a fast rate by expand into more
and more homes.
(Ron's comment: This is very much like the New Testament churches in a large city growing by home churches spread throughout the city and suburbs. In the Bible such a city church would have a Lord-established bishop in charge with elders over the home churches.)
When you step out of the airport in Havana, you have the feeling that you have flown back in time to the 1950’s. Cars from the 1950’s, 1940’s, and even the 1930’s are everywhere. Here the newest American car would be a 1959 model ... the year Castro took over Cuba. You see cars that you would never see on the streets in the USA ... Nash, Studebaker, Kaiser, plus many other models that you only see in car shows at home; but because of the embargo, most have Toyota engines and transmissions.
When you enter ithe countryside time seems to go back even farther. Horses and wagons dot the country roads and streets in the smaller towns. These small towns often have horse drawn wagons for taxis.
The economy is impossible to figure out. Government pay scale for a typical worker is about $20 a month. A doctor might make $40-$50 a month. How can anyone live on that? It is not easy to answer that. Here is the “black economy” ... the underground economy ... which explains part of it. Also, Cuba has two forms of currency; one for visitors and another for the people. For tourists a $1 dollar is about one Peso. Yet, the native peso is only worth 1/25 of the tourist Peso; which means natives about 500 to 1200 pesos per month.
Few buildings have been painted since 1959 because who can afford paint? Much of the food is rationed, especially beef. Here you can be executed for stealing a cow.
While some email is available to the citizens, the Internet is not. Only a few could even afford a PC or Internet access; yet, many have cell phones. It seems now almost everyone in the world has a cell phone. Lol. Thus, their knowledge of the outside world is pretty well limited to that which the government news agencies tell them.
Perhaps the lack of material possessions is a part of why the church is growing rapidly. They don’t have all the distractions that “prosperity” offers in other countries. The Church is the only real place where they can find hope.
They have tremendous financial needs. Christians from other areas of the world have an many opportunities to help ... a little money goes a long way.
((At 74 year of age, Jim has an
eye for the old cars swarming the streets ... both classy ones and
those for every day travel and business.))
Baptist Church Catholic Church
Site of a home (Baptist church people start to build) Two forms of Taxi working in many towns
You have reached THE END.
- Christian Wilderness Press -