Pendel Mission to Cuba: Part One

11_havana-vieja-roof-groupThe Salvation Army of Eastern PA and DE (Pendel) traveled to Cuba in February on a special mission – to renovate the Salvation Army of Cuba’s current headquarters facility into a guest house. The guest house will provide income for the Cuba division and fund the construction of a new divisional headquarters.

Additionally the group  engaged Cubans with music and arts ministries, as well as conducting the Sunday Services at the Central Corps.

The Pendel division has given tremendous support financially to this effort, including:  donated linens for the guest house, laptops, instruments, uniform shirts/ties/socks, toiletries and assorted items which were stuffed in the luggage and horn cases!

Part one of the journey:

~Bob Myers
dscn0794After arriving to the guest house on the Army’s recently acquired bus (a vintage 20 seat school bus that has been transformed into a mobile mural depicting some of Cubans’ local pride), we walked the roughly 5-6 blocks from our temporary home for the week to the central corps. We met with local Salvation Army officers and soldiers there to greet us, while also checking on the status of the construction project, which is part of our work to be done this week.

Although behind schedule, the locals have worked diligently in the last 24 hours to try and catch up as much as possible. Yesterday (Friday) our team split into two groups following a very insightful tour of the National Revolution Museum (which resides at the site of the former palace and depicts from the story of the current Cuban government’s rise to power along with a modern history of the island nation), with the leadership-half visiting three local corps sites and the rest of us arriving back to the central corps to help with the project.

Our team saw most of the tile laid throughout most of the soon-to-open, new (and first!) Salvation Army managed guest house in Cuba! The project team worked to patch and prep walls for paint that we hope will be going on the newly finished exterior walls today.

In addition to the project team, our music and arts team will be conducting a series of workshops today with 30-40 local Army kids today. They will be getting basic brass instruction, music theory and drama. Our hope is to plant a seed through today’s music workshops that can be watered moving forward with the instruments that the Pendel Division is donating through our trip.

We know this is just the start of what will be a rewarding week connecting with our comrades in Cuba. Although we have come here to share some of our Division with our Cuban friends, we quickly found we are receiving just as much from them.

Please continue to pray for progress in our projects over the next few days. We appreciate all of the love and support received, it has been an overwhelming and needed blessing.

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