The 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!
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.
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.
The trip is the first time TSA USA officers from the contiguous US have traveled to the island nation in nearly 60 years. Our group will meet with officials of the Salvation Army of Cuba and government leaders to learn more about the country and the needs of its people. The trip is a way for The Salvation Army USA to bring its goodwill to Cuba and its gift of music from the renowned Salvation Army New York Staff Band.
These are some of their impressions and experiences relayed to our offices in Philadelphia so far, ranging from the travel itself to life in Cuba:
Trip Signifies First Visit by Salvation Army USA Reps to Island Nation in nearly 60 Years
A group of Salvation Army representatives from the Eastern Territory, USA will travel to Cuba on February 18 through February 22. They will meet with officers of The Salvation Army of Cuba and government leaders to learn more about the country and the needs of its people, as well as, to share the gift of music to the people of Cuba. It is the first time Salvation Army leadership from the United States will visit Cuba in nearly 60 years.
Representing The Salvation Army Eastern Territory, USA are: The Salvation Army Eastern Territorial leaders, Commissioners Barry and Sue Swanson, along with The Salvation Army New York Staff Band; Lt. Colonel Stephen Banfield, Divisional Commander and Reverend Bonnie Camarda, Director of Partnerships from The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware; Major A. Philip Ferreira, Director of Operations and Aaron Cohen, Advisory Board Chair from The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia.
“It is our hope that through this visit we will find out how we can lend more support to our Salvation Army colleagues and the impoverished people of Cuba,” said Lt. Colonel Stephen Banfield, Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. “We are proud to represent The Salvation Army USA in this effort.”