International Ministries

Up And Down: Cuba Journal Entry #1

June 26, 2015 Journal
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Jesus replied, “I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God’s kingdom!” (John 3:3, CEV)

Planes Go Up and Down

20 of us got on the plane. There were 2 flights on the departure and return legs of the journey.  The planes went up, and eventually came back down in the expected ways.  When the plane came down in Cuba, we were open with anticipation with just enough knowledge to create a sense of expectation.  It was all new.  That was a good way to come down

Fruit Goes Up and Down

At first glance, the tropical climate had produced a lush landscape of flowering plants and trees.  Everywhere I looked there were Mangoes, Bananas, Papaya, huge Avocados and Guava. Mangoes are so abundant that there is a saying on the island, "If it is a year of the Mango, it is a year of hunger.”  I guess it is possible for the palate to become saturated with such abundance.  The trees grow, and the fruit comes down.

The People on the Bus Go Up and Down

There are plenty of people in Cuba.  11 million.  They move about freely, but transportation is a real challenge.  Cars are very expensive.  A pastor told me that there are three things you need to decide on in Cuba:  food, clothing, and transportation.  If you live for a car, then you don't have nice clothes or enough to eat.   If you live to have enough to eat, then you won't have a car or a motorcycle.  So, you decide what your priorities are on the $20-25 average monthly income.  Most people rely on public transportation.  It is limited and irregular.  The large double cabin buses are so stuffed that people are hanging out the doors as they go up and down the road.

Staying Up, Not Going Down

The people waiting for the buses line the roads.  Some of the faces are neutral, some hopeful, some distant, some hardened by the constant struggle.  I got the idea that it is a hard life in Cuba just from looking at the people.  The system keeps them down as much as they work to get above it. There are different faces in the church, however. They are exuberant, joyful, hopeful....glad faces.  It became clear in the next several days that in a place where there is so much struggle, these people of Christ are living “being born from above.”  And they are not coming down anytime soon!

Makes me ask myself, “What do I need, really?”

By David Reed, Cuba Journal #1