First day in Cuba – Sunday Jan. 10
My flight from Miami was delayed because of rain in Cuba. We were about two hours late on arrival. I had some trouble finding the person who had my visa, but eventually made it through passport control and customs. I realized then that I had no way to contact anyone or even an address for where I was to stay. Despite assurances to the contrary, my iPhone does not have service in Cuba. I came out of the airport and did not see anyone to greet me. I made the mistake of coming all of the way out, thinking that Bishop Sam or someone would be coming up from the parking lot, but no. Very helpful taxi drivers offered to help by calling someone, but I had no contact information. Poor planning on my part! I realized just how hard I work in my day to day life to avoid depending on someone. I knew that eventually I would find my host and all would be well, but I had to practice patience and trust that all would be well.
Eventually I found a face that was familiar to me from Facebook photos and videos from the Board of World Mission: Armanda Rusino. He is the founder of the Moravian Church in Cuba, and is one of the more remarkable men I have met. A former Catholic priest turned evangelical, he is constantly working to expand the work of Christ in his country. He works closely with the American Board of World Mission and has built a water filtration system and a farm in addition to churches. I thought I recognized his face, but when I saw the Moravian seal on his shirt, I knew he was a brother. He had not recognized me, probably because of my hat, and had been waiting for me for hours. He called for the car, driven by a young man, and we drove through flooded streets to the guest house where the Rt. Rev. Sam Gray, the Rev. Dr. Riddick Weber, and the esteemed Thomas Baucom (President of the Board of World Mission) were already established. Riddick and Sam came to Cuba a week ago and Riddick taught classes in Havana for the pastors in the western part of the country. I’ll teach in Camaguey.
We had a lovely rotisserie chicken at a nearby restaurant, sampled some of Cuba’s most famous exports, caught up on personal and professional news, and had an early bedtime.