Four days in Cuba have left a lasting impression on The Salvation Army USA officers and representatives, following an historic trip to the island nation. So much so, the group intends to return for a mission trip next year. The visit encompassed fellowship with the Cuban people and The Salvation Army of Cuba, spreading the word of the Gospel, presenting the gift of music and conducting much-needed service projects at The Salvation Army Corps Community Centers there. The trip, during the weekend of February 20, is the first time The Salvation Army USA officers from the contiguous US have traveled to the once-closed off communist country in nearly 60 years.
The Salvation Army USA group included The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory Commissioners Barry and Sue Swanson; Lt. Col. Stephen Banfield, Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army of Eastern PA & DE; Major A. Philip Ferreira, Director of Operations, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia; 30+ members of the renowned Salvation Army Staff Band; and Aaron Cohen, Advisory Board Chair, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia, among many others.
Since Cuba has been closed off to many foreigners for decades, particularly from the United States, The Salvation Army USA had been unable to visit until recently. Upon taking in the sights and culture of Cuba – a mixture of beautiful aging architecture, deteriorating infrastructure, late-model vehicles, poverty and lack of access to modern technology – Lt. Col. Banfield was especially moved by the spirit of the people.