Carlos Faith

As we turned from the asphalt road on to a dirt/mud road Pastor Carlos words echoed through my head, “this is not a road you want to be on if it is raining or wet.”  That was not a problem today as the sun radiated through the dirty windshield of our fifty-year-old Russian car.   Our car had road clearance of about three to four inches so this was no four-wheeler we were riding in.  There was not a cloud in the sky and that was the reason we were wandering down to this remote village.

 By the time we pulled up in front the church it was probably 11:00 a.m. and the Cuban sun was “hot” to say the least.  Sitting there waiting in the shade was the pastor, his wife and the total church congregation.  That totaled somewhere in the range of fifteen to twenty people.  The church was leaning slightly to the left with cracks between each piece of siding that you could see through to the other side of this humble house of worship. 

 They had a makeshift shaded area covered with palm fronds to protect us from the sun.  The table was set full of food and I know this little village had sacrificed much to provide this meal.  By this time the sun had moved and direct rays were shining across their faces.  Each face had a story to be told, the wrinkles of time and hard work were apparent on many of their faces. Yet, the inquisitive brown eyes of the young peaked through church pews and the cracks in the walls to see this strange white-haired American man.  They had never seen anyone that looked like that. 

By this time the entire village had gathered, it was standing room only with people hanging in the two windows on the left side of the church. 

As I started speaking, I notice out of the corner of my eye this dark cloud in the horizon.  My message was on Peter’s faith or lack of faith as he walked on water.  I was speaking and as I glanced out the window hole that horizon cloud was now a black billowing cloud looking but minutes away. I continued talking about Peter’s faith and him stepping over the side of the boat walking toward Jesus.  All of sudden a cool breeze came through the window telling you rain was approaching, all I could think of was Carlos words, “this is not a road you want to be on if it raining or wet.”  Well it was too late to worry about that now.  The coolest of the breeze was refreshing but do you know we never received a drop of rain.  Jesus words, “You don’t have much faith,” rang through my head as we drove over the winding dry road to the awaiting asphalt.  We had not traveled one mile until signs of a torrential rainstorm were visible on each side of the road.  

I know my Cuban brothers and sisters and the lack of faith is not one of their shortcomings, but I sure fell short that day. 

Dan Christopherson






Forty-Four Minutes

“This is your Captain speaking. We will be cruising at an altitude of 29,000 feet and will be landing in Santa Carla, Cuba in 44 minutes. The weather in Santa Carla is 85 degrees and with very high humidity.   Thank you for flying American Airlines.”  I hear this announcement six to seven times a year. 

 Forty-four minutes from the glitz and glitter in Miami with restaurants and houses full of food to Cuba where there is a tremendous food shortage.  In fact, on my last trip we were told if you want to eat breakfast you need to bring your own because there are no eggs or food for breakfast.  Endless number of shiny new cars, road so smooth you never feel a bump. Forty-four minutes to horse carts, bicycles, fifty-year-old cars and people walking everywhere.  

 Contaminated water not in one village, not in one district but the entire country, how could this be?  Twenty eight percent of all water going through the Cuba infrastructure is lost before it reaches the destination.  Nickel mines, sugarcane mills contamination this is not counting human waste pollution.  It makes you think is there anything good here?

Yes, there sure is! It’s the people!

 It’s Dani the little girl waiting at the curb for hours because she knows Dan is coming.

 It’s the nine-year old boy that was sleeping in a potato sack until we gave him and his mother blankets to keep them warm in the mountains of Guantanamo.

It’s the man that could not read because his eyes were so bad until we gave him a $2.00 pair of readers.

It’s the Pastor that thanks me so much for paying him a salary for the first time so he could buy his two-year daughter her first pair of shoes.

It’s the mother and father holding back tears thanking me because they now have clean water to drink and their son is no longer sick because of the water.

Are you getting the picture?  I could go on for pages, maybe it’s the lady that received a new Bible we were able to give her because she could not afford one. 

Maybe it’s the Galcom recorded Bible we gave a blind man, so now he can have the Bible read to him for the first time. 

Years ago, my wife came up with the phrase, “Cuba So Close, But a World Away.”   Yes, just 44 minutes.