In late October, I was blessed to visit El Colorado. That’s not the state of Colorado, but instead a small, hurricane-ravaged village in central Cuba. As I traveled around Cuba visiting small churches, this particular stop was very important, because many of you at CCC provided resources for hurricane relief in this and other hard-hit Cuban villages.
El Colorado, a poor village in central Cuba, is composed mainly of low-income people who have emigrated from the eastern part of the island for work. Because this area is so poor, the houses which are built of wood are more like shacks. When hurricane Irma hit the north part of Cuba on September 9th, this community was seriously affected. Many people suffered massive damage to their homes and were left destitute.
In the midst of the pain and despair that consumed many of the people in El Colorado, a small Alliance church with hardly any resources embraced their mission to share the love of Jesus and serve the community, helping the people most in need. Maribel, the leader of the group, along with her husband and several other church members, embraced the neighbors with a message of hope and strength from the Lord. They began by sharing what little they had of food, clothing, and basic supplies. This humble church with a dirty floor and no windows became a refuge for many who were affected.
Through our denomination’s relief efforts, CCC was able to quickly provide money for churches like this to not only help their church members but also their local community. I arrived about 7 weeks after the hurricane to see firsthand the critical impact of our support. Here are a few things I saw:
- I saw this church using the CCC funds to feed about 75 people from the community every Sunday and Wednesday. Many of the families have little food to eat between those two meals, so these have become life-saving nourishment for their bodies and souls.
- I met a single mom with 5 kids who does not attend the church but has literally been saved by this church. Now that her little hut is destroyed, she is homeless and without any food. The church has taken her in and is feeding and loving her family.
- I saw one of many houses where the roof had been completely blown off. The church provided building materials and free labor to re-build half of the roof so the family could live inside again.
During my visit, we provided the church just $50 to buy the goods for a simple meal for us. The church purchased a huge pig to roast with all the fixings for our meal, which fed not only all eight of us visitors, but also the entire community.
I praise God for a leader like Maribel, a brave woman with an unwavering dedication to God, filled with the Holy Spirit. While we visited with people and the community ate their lunch, an Alliance pastor shared the Gospel and prayed passionately over the people. What a joy to see the church in Omaha and the church in Cuba partner to reach people with the love and hope of Jesus Christ!