May 17, 2023
Dear Presbytery Family,

We greet you today with a short story from the Mutual Mission Cuba Team. We look forward to sharing more stories from trips to Cuba and Jamaica in the future.
Early on February 10, nine members of the Presbytery of St. Augustine filled an airport shuttle to the brim with their suitcases and carry-ons to begin a ministry and mission trip to Cuba. They represented five churches within the presbytery. Three people participated in previous mission trips to Cuba. Six were first time visitors. They brought 18 suitcases, filled to the 50-pound capacity. Three suitcases contained Days for Girls products for the Cuba representative. The remaining 15 suitcases were filled with over-the-counter medications for our ministry partners in Cuba.
Stories from Cuba
By: Rev. Dr. Susan Rose
On the way into the dining hall for dinner one night, Javier held his phone
out, smiled and said in Spanish, “My wife is pregnant!” Javier is a student at
SET, the Semanario Evangelico Teologico, where we were staying while we were in
Cuba. I quickly translated his statement in my head, smiled enthusiastically
and wished him congratulations, first in English, then in Spanish.

Javier’s wife is 4 months pregnant. Like any new parents, they are scared
and excited. He said it is hard because he goes to school during the week and
preaches on weekends. She is staying with her parents. The next morning, when
the students arrived for breakfast, I asked Javier, again in Spanish strung
together without knowing all the right words or using proper verb tenses, “Your
wife, is she taking vitamins?” He looked confused. “Vitamins, did the doctor
give her vitamins?” A colleague jumped in to save me with a few key words in
Spanish. He shook his head no. There are no vitamins. I pressed a bottle of
women’s vitamins, sent by our presbytery, into his hands. “It’s very important,
very important, that you give these to your wife and she takes one each day.”

That was the day that was the hardest to keep the tears back.

I can tell you about the woman who skipped with joy when handed a bottle of
Tylenol. Or the woman who thanked me because she will finally be able to sleep
with pain relief. Or our translator who looked at the bag we gave him with
Tylenol, ibuprofen, Benadryl and Bio-freeze in it and said, “My grandmother
will be so happy!”

The over-the-counter medications brought to Matanzas Presbytery by the
Presbytery of St. Augustine made an immediate impact on lives within the
churches and their communities. The resources provided through our partnership
with individual churches and the presbytery as a whole serve as a lifeline to
the Cuban people. They have very few ways to obtain daily items we take for
granted without outside people or groups bringing them into the country. Over
the counter medications are simply one example of a very long list.

At each and every church we visited, what they requested more than the
desperately needed resources was fellowship. Fellowship with other Christians.
To not be left and forgotten. To “do life” together in some way. The Mutual
Mission team is already working on “what next” looks like for our presbyteries
in the way of fellowship and resources.
Ways to Support Mutual Mission
  • Make a donation to support Mutual Mission here.
  • Pray for our mission teams.
  • Pray for the Presbyterian Churches and their leaders in Cuba.
Susan Rose, Moderator of the Presbytery
Charlie Evans, Stated Clerk
Previous Staying Connected emails are available on our website.