Monday, February 2, 2015

{Guest Blogger} First UMVIM Team to the "New" Cuba!

The United Methodist Connection spreads far and wide, and even to some places that are hard to reach! UMVIM has actually had a strong presence on the isolated island of Cuba for many years. Just 90 miles away, but virtually unattainable...until now. The first UMVIM team recently returned from Cuba since the new relationship between their country and ours. This team was comprised of members from First UMC Little Rock, Pulaski Heights UMC in Little Rock, Salem UMC in Conway, Arkansas, First UMC Hamburg, and First UMC, Blytheville. We are so grateful to our friends in the South Central Jurisdiction for their service to our neighbors! And thank you so much to team member Nechi Fullerton who filled us in on all of the good work they did with their Cuban counterparts while there:

"The first UMVIM team since the new relationship between Cuba & the USA just returned from a construction mission in Havana. Also the first Cuba mission team from Arkansas and the first Cuba UMVIM of 2015, the 11 member group worked to build professor housing for the Seminario Evangélico Metodista and worshiped with our Cuban sisters and brothers in their churches. Building relationships and taking construction supplies, vitamins, medicines and other much needed items is also a part of the mission.

The seminary was established in 2006 and moved to the current Havana location in 2009 to educate pastors for the rapidly growing Methodist church. The Methodist church in Cuba was dying in the 1990s, but now continues to experience a revival growing rapidly 15% annually, from 92 churches in 1996 to 403 churches and over 700 home churches currently. With over 50,000 members and even more on attendance, it is very inspiring to witness their energy, enthusiasm and love for Jesus. They are hopeful with the new USA/Cuba relations, but find even more hope in the Lord."

Ms. Fullerton also explained to us how staying in steady communication with their partners in Cuba is extremely important to them, as it is easy for them to feel isolated and forgotten. Establishing covenant relationships--which is built not on sporadic service, but on commitment to friendship, prayers, training, and resources between sending and receiving churches--is one of the most important things we teach to team leaders; it's what differentiates a "mission trip" or "service project" from a true mission journey.
She also wanted to let us know that there is much more work to be done, and they are always needing additional teams to work alongside them. Please reach out to us at if you would like more information regarding UMVIM teams to Cuba.

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