After visiting with the daycare centers in Guantanamo, we traveled about 80 Kilos further east to the small village of San Antonio del Sur which is roughly 80 kilometers from the east coast of Cuba, and some 900 kilometers from Havana.
San Antonio is a very rural and remote area that has the usual Cuban attributes. Poor, no clean water, remote, little transportation and no streetlights.
The church in San Antonio is a thatched roof outdoor structure that can seat about 75 people on benches. The service is normally at night to limit the heat. There is no transportation to the church, so all the church goers walk to the service. It is such an inspiring time to watch the people walking to the church with flashlights. All you see is the flickering of the flashlights as they walk through the village to the worship service.
The service normally has 70-80 people with 30 of them made up of children. All the adults and children participate in leading parts of the service. It’s always one of our favorite times of worship.
The pastor and his wife live in a separate building beside the outdoor church. Up until the last year it had no indoor bathroom, so everyone had to use an outhouse that was very primitive.
Because of you our donors, we have been able to give them enough funds to build an indoor bathroom complete with a tiled shower.
The Cuban council of churches gave them a rudimentary water system that serves the immediate area on a limited volume basis. With your support, the foundation has approved the funding and installation of a new large-scale clean water system in a secure building that has been scheduled to be built and installed soon which will serve some 2,000 plus people.
To become self-sufficient, the church has three projects.
- The church has purchased a 2.5-acre farm to grow banana trees, onions, and corn. They have determined that in the future the return on an onion farm would be the most practical and profitable, so they have plans to eliminate the banana trees and grow onions and corn and rotate a few other crops as well. On this trip we left them the funds to purchase a well and pump for irrigation needs on their farm. Thanks again for your efforts. We left them $120 for the well and another $350 for the pump.
- They have an idea and need to purchase a horse and buggy to transport 8 people. They have so many disabled or ones who walk from long distances (some as many as 4 miles) that could utilize this transportation. This need would be a significant service for the church. When not in use they could lease out to other institutions for similar services. Their intent is to put the money back into the churches budget. They estimate the horse to cost $300 and the buggy $625.
- The pastor’s wife enjoys making pocketbooks. Based on other similar pocketbooks the foundation has sold at auction, we feel like we can sell them for at least $50 each. After discussion with the pastor’s wife, we left her money to purchase materials to make 10 bags thus giving the church $500 for their use. After this first trial she will make additional bags to make this an ongoing ministry. The need there will be material and a new sewing machine.
The fellowship in San Antonio has recently expanded and the pastor’s mother and father have started a fellowship in Baracoa which is on the extreme east coast of the Island. We have not visited that church but will update you on future visits to Baracoa. The one thing we do know is that once the large water system in San Antonio is installed, they will move the small water system to Baracoa.
I hope after reviewing each of these updates and pictures you have a good feel for what is going on with the Cuban Moravian Churches. You our supporters, are making a fantastic difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
God is clearly working in Cuba through YOU!!!!