How can I begin to explain the experience that our team shared at an orphanage near downtown Havana? We were told that it would be nearly impossible to visit an orphanage while in Havana but that was the number 1 thing that almost everyone on the team wanted to do, so Pastor Jorge from Templo Bautista Church in Cuba made it happen. We were told that we could not evangelize, talk about Jesus, or mention God, but we could talk about being good children and leading good lives. So we did a puppet show based on the fruits of the spirit and called them ‘good virtues’ and told the story of the Good Samaritan talking about good neighbors and bad neighbors. We also changed the song ‘I Command My Hands to Praise the Lord’ to ‘I Command My Hands to Do Good.’
After a short program, we did crafts and played games with the 20 children who lived in the orphanage, which in Cuba is a combination foster care home and orphanage. But the highlight of the day was hanging a piñata in the back yard full of candy. The children were thrilled to see the huge clown face hanging from a tree knowing that soon they would have handfuls of candy.
We ended our time with the children by sharing gifts with both them and their housemother. We’ve been told that it is better to give gifts rather than money to bless the people we minister to so we’ve made that our practice.
After another delicious dinner, we worshipped with the Templo Bautista congregation and shared both short words of blessing for the people and two songs. Tomorrow brings our trip to ‘Honoring the Father,’ a little league baseball ministry. We are tired but thrilled at the difference we are making in this socialist/communist country. Our paradigms of Cuba have shifted dramatically, and we have learned so much about this beautiful country and outgoing and friendly people. Most of us are even learning a bit of Spanish since everyone speaks that language.
Please continue to pray for the Christians in this highly government regulated country as well as for the team. As God blesses us, we can pass along that blessing to our Cuban brothers and sisters in Christ.