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On Sunday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order reestablishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a move anticipated and welcomed by leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Prior to the U.S. State Department returning Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness joined 14 other churches and Christian organizations protesting the move due to its impact on the Cuban people.
After four years of service with the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas and the Church in Cuba, Rev. Dr. David Cortés Fuentes and Josey Sáez Acevedo have answered God’s call to serve as mission co-workers in the Dominican Republic.
of Nebraska in 1949, Lois Kroehler heard about a short-term opportunity to travel to Cuba to work as an English language secretary for a Cuban church executive. She had planned to teach Spanish after college and reasoned that a couple years of translation work would improve her Spanish, particularly grammar and vocabulary.
“After those two years, the Cuban church invited me to stay,” Kroehler said in a 1998 interview with Democracy Now!, an independent nonprofit news organization in Washington, D.C. “So, I actually became a missionary at the invitation of the Cuban church.”
Missionary, music teacher and composer, choir director, Christian educator … Lois Kroehler embraced Cuba, and accompanying the Cuban people became her passion. Kroehler died Aug. 4 at age 91.
Cuba has a lot of challenges for a minister, including widespread poverty, repression, violence, and other circumstances which can lead to apathy in a congregation and a community.
“The dishwashing detergent is lost.” In Cuba, one would say, “El detergente de lavar platos está perdido.” That means that you will not find dishwashing detergent in the store these days. As we enter our fourth year as mission co-workers in Cuba, we realize how easy it is sometimes to forget that we are strangers living in a foreign land. We still remember many embarrassing instances when we called household items a different name from what residents called them. Yes, we have spoken Spanish since childhood, and day-to-day conversations are easy. But regional nuances in the way people in Cuba talk to each other provide learning experiences for people like us.
“The dishwashing detergent is lost.” In Cuba, one would say, “El detergente de lavar platos está perdido.” That means that you will not find dishwashing detergent in the store these days. As we enter our fourth year as mission co-workers in Cuba, we realize how easy it is sometimes to forget that we are strangers living in a foreign land.
Gita, a toddler, sits on her mother’s lap, her head lying on the table in front of them so quietly she might be napping. It is as if she is willing her mother, Hiromis, to concentrate on her studies in the Superior Ecumenical Institute of Religious Sciences (ISECRE), a weekly interfaith academic program of the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary (SET) in nearby Matanzas.
You would never know from the joyful exuberance of the dancing children that they live in the midst of grinding poverty.
The Sancti Spiritus Presbyterian Church of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba established a mission in Toyos — one of the poorest neighborhoods in the town of Sancti Spiritus — to provide hope to the barrio’s hopeless.
When a psychological help “hotline” was started at Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformada de la Habana (First Presbyterian-Reformed Church of Havana) in 1995, there were virtually no telephones in Cuba, “so we had to adapt,” said Martha Rodriguez, one of two psychologists who run the unique counseling service.