First I ask for your prayers for the Hurricane Irma victims both in Cuba and Florida. We were blessed here in the Southwest District, but I know there are many hurting people in both Cuba and Florida.
The best way to assist your sister church and others in Cuba is to send funds that can be taken on the upcoming October trip. Funds are easy to take and can be distributed among all travelers to be taken to Cuba.
Effective immediately, as the Southwest District Coordinator, I will not transport items from individuals or churches in the United States for churches or individuals in Cuba. As mentioned above, I will take all funds until we have reached the maximum permitted amount.
I pray you understand this difficult decision. I am working with Agape Flights and cargo shipping containers to handle other items and will update you on cost and time when possible. We will do our best to get items to their destination as soon as possible.
I know every pastor/pastora and their families in the Holguin Norte District. I know their pain, I know their plight. I have sat and ate meals with most all of them one time or another. My heart aches for them and believe me if there was any way that I could fill all their needs and solve all their problems I would be the first to do it. But ten years of experience has taught me it is not possible.
The storm had no more than passed through Cuba, and Pastor Jose and others were calling to see how we were here in Florida. They are amazing people with hearts so big worrying about us here. Pastor Jose's church is okay, but they have roofs off many houses. The people are okay "they are Cuban." God gave them the biggest hearts to love with because He knew man would take everything else away from them.
The Holguin Norte District has five churches without roofs; Felton, Camilo, El Ramon, Levisa and Retrete. Food items were being delivery by Pastor Isel and Lisy the next day after the storm. Another way to assist your pastor is to recharge his or her phone. They have been and still are calling members and friends checking on their situations. This would be very helpful at this time.
Following email received from Pastor Jose Ramon in the Sancti Spirtius District:
Dear Brother Dan & Jan
Greetings and Blessings. First how is your house, not was damaged?
About us the Hurricane damaged the whole island, more in the north of all of our island. Today I hope to upload a video on youtube about the damaged in our province. Some people lost everything, others part or the roof or total, others they got all things wet (mattresses, TV), they were spoiled, how little they had. Most of our province has no electricity and not water too. Imagine!
Praying for our Cuba and our people. God Bless you
Our October trip has turned into a full fledged hurricane relief trip. Please know 100% of all funds given goes toward hurricane relief. If you want to assist please make all checks payable to:
Southwest District Mission Program, Inc.
Attn. Dan Christopherson
125 Treviso Court
North Venice, Florida 34275