Return to Cuba

August 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two Days.....

Team Cuba is very excited to depart in a few short days for the Mision Mundial Family Camp in Las Palmas, Cuba.  We are full of hope and expectation as we wait to see what the Lord will do in us and through us as we serve these pastors and their families.  A friend recently sent me this verse.  I Samuel 12:16 says, "Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes."  I realize now that we will be doing anything but literally standing still.  We will be traveling, visiting, sharing, teaching, encouraging, playing, learning, crafting, building relationships...trying to stay cool!  But in our hearts, we will be standing still in the presence of the Lord.  We will stand still in reliance upon His absolute power and strength, His unfailing wisdom and love, His mighty direction and provision.  We will stand still in surrender to Him, allowing Him to use us, these jars of clay, to proclaim His Good News.  We will stand still in praise and thanksgiving for all He has done and all He is yet to do.  We will stand still so that we do not miss the great thing He is about to do.  I believe He has much in store! Pray for us as we are away ministering to our Cuban friends.  We look forward to sharing with you what He does right before our very eyes.  We will not be able to update the blog while away since there is no Internet capabilities in country; however, we will be sure to update you when we return.  Thank you for all your love, prayer, and support.-- Team Cuba

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

August 2012

We are excited to introduce the new team members of our Hope For Cuba Team.  We are spending time in prayer, planning, and working on fundraisers for our August trip.  Check out some of the new members who will be traveling to Cuba in August.

 

Brandon Perry

Occupation: Sales at Extreme Reach, Inc.
Activities: Kayaking, hiking, traveling
Most excited about: Blessing others with what God has blessed me with
Life Verse: I believe God asks us to ask ourselves the following from Genesis 16:8- "...where have you come from, and where are you going?"




 Carlese Linker



Occupation: Paralegal
Activities: hangin' out at Forest Hill, volunteering, traveling, spending time with my animal menagerie, gardening, reading
Most excited about: witnessing our team mission statement of "Go, Love, Serve, and Transform!" in action.
Life verse: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27









Cameron Todd



Occupation: First grade teacher at Sterling Elementary School
Activities: cooking/grilling out,yoga and the gym, bible study
Most Excited about:loving on and holding the little ones..."We love, because he first loved us."
Life Verse: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Phil 4:6





Jean Miers



Occupation: Interior Designer + Marketing at Pease Engineering & Architecture, PC
Activities: Baking cake balls for my side business Veri Cake, Riding my horse, Coaching Lacrosse and Field Hockey, Running, Hiking, Singing at worship!
Most excited about: Witnessing a culture finding joy, passion, and appreciation in so little.  Worship services!
Life Verse: 1 John 3:20 "God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

April Trip Update



Due to an unexpected situation, we will not be traveling to Cuba in
April.  The Pope will be visiting the country around the same time as
our trip, so the island will be full of visitors both before and after
his visit.  We are, of course, saddened by the news that this trip
will not take place; however, we are trusting the Lord's sovereignty
and His perfect plan.  We continue to pray for the Women and Men's
Conference that is taking place Saturday, April 7, and we ask you to
join us.  Even though we won't be present, the conference will
continue as planned.  We pray that the Lord uses it in a mighty way to
bless and encourage the Cuban believers.  Thanks to ALL OF YOU who
donated to our trip.  The money that we raised will go toward our return
in August.   Please keep checking in on our blog as we will begin
planning for our August trip soon.  Thank you for all your love and
support!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our trip leader Polly Paulson

Our trip leader, Polly Paulson sharing thoughts on the upcoming trip.  Read her story below!!

Why I’m Going to Cuba
Three years ago, I embarked on my first mission trip to Cebu City in Cebu, Philippines. Prior to leaving, I was struggling with the aftermath of a recent divorce and the depression and shame that accompanied it.  I felt distanced from the Lord, disconnected from the Church, disappointed in myself.  I knew I needed help, so with the guidance and encouragement of godly counsel, I resumed attendance at Forest Hill Church, joined a Life Group, and got involved. I even decided to take a giant leap of faith and travel across the world to the Philippines.  I prayed that God would use the trip to transform my life. 
While on the trip, I began to dig into the Word and to spend time in reflection.  I realized how much damage my recent circumstances had done, yet I was hopeful that the Lord was just waiting to restore me.  Isaiah 58:8 speaks of this very restoration.  It says, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear.”  Verses 10-11 continue with, “Then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like noonday.  The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”  Oh, how those verses spoke to me.  Oh, how I wanted all those things! 
As I continued to meditate on this scripture, a certain word caught my eye…thenThen always follows an if, so I reread the passage to determine what the first part was.  I discovered that the answer to freedom from depression, shame, and negativity is quite simple.  Quit focusing on self!  Isaiah 58:6-7 encourages us “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke, to share  food with the hungry, to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, and to clothe the naked’’  That’s the if.  If I became a followed Christ’s example and became a servant, if I shifted the focus from self to others, the darkness would lift and the healing would come.  I desperately needed this promise to be true.
Want to know the good news?  The promise is true!  When I served the Filipino people, when I put others first, I could feel the Lord transforming my life.  I could sense the beginning of a great and mighty healing.  If fact, my life’s focus hasn’t been the same since that trip.  Serving in Cebu opened my eyes to the great needs of others around the world, and I have been so blessed to travel and serve in many other countries including Colombia, Rwanda, and Cuba as well as here in Charlotte.  Each place, each trip God has used to continue to mold me into His image.  From the people I have met, I have learned so much about joy, worship, faith, hope and love, and I always return with wonderful memories and new friendships.
Cuba is one of those places God has placed in my path.  I travelled to this beautiful island nation in 2010 and 2011, and I look forward to returning in April and August of 2012.  I am eager to resume my friendships with the pastors and their wives and families.  I look forward to practicing my slowly-growing conversational Spanish with the teenagers and children.  I long to worship freely and passionately with this body of believers.  I desire to serve and encourage in whatever way I can.  Quite simply, I go to bring glory to God.  My life is in His hands to use as He sees fit.   I’m so thankful and humbled that He sees fit to use me in Cuba.   
As I prepare to return to Cuba in a few months, I can’t help but think back to that very first trip in 2009 and the way God spoke to me through the passage in Isaiah.  I also remember how the next year, while sitting in the Havana airport, God confirmed His promise to strengthen my frame and make me a well-watered garden when He revealed to me Ezekiel, the 36th chapter.  Verse 36 says, “Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate.  I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.”  He surely has.  He has done it.  He has rebuilt my life.  He has replanted, restored, redeemed and rescued.   He longs to do the same for all of us.  That is the Gospel of grace, and that is the news I go to share.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

August Trip Information Meeting



August 2012 Trip Information Meeting


We are excited to announce that we are having 2 trips to Cuba this year! Our April trip is booked but we will be returning in August.  We are having a meeting THIS Friday March 17th from 7-9 at Forest Hill Church.  If you are interested in coming to the meeting to find out details for the August trip please join us!
Contact polly.paulson@cms.k12.nc.us for more information.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Flap Jack Fundraiser

The Hope For Cuba Team is having a Flap Jack Fundraiser 

When? Saturday, February 18th from 8-10AM
Where?  10921 Carolina Place Pkwy, Pineville, NC 28134
Cost is $8.00 per person for 3 pancakes, 2 sausage links, and a drink
Please come out and support this event!
email: polly.paulson@cms.k12.nc.us for more info








Meet Our Team

Here are the members of the April 2012 Hope For Cuba Team.  We need to raise about $2,000 each for this trip.  If you wish to donate to any member of the team you can click on the paypal link on this page.  It will give you the option to enter which team member you would like to donate to.  If you don't feel led to give, please know we appreciate any prayers and support for each of us.




Leader: Polly Paulson

Occupation: English Teacher, Ardrey Kell High School
Activities: Volunteering, traveling, reading, learning Spanish
Most Excited about: Reuniting with those I’ve met on previous trips and sharing in worship with these Cuban believers
Favorite Thing about Cuba:  Jam loaf
Life Verse: “For you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10

JP Sangai 
Founder and President of By Grace Alone Ministries

 JP will be traveling as part of this team in the role of an interpreter.  As President of By Grace Alone, he will be working to cultivate the relationship between our church and the partnership in Cuba.  BGA Ministries partner with churches and other ministries to help train teams that go on short mission trips around the world.  They help with all trip coordination and logistics, going through in depth cross cultural training for the leaders and team participants and facilitating partnership. BGA ministries will work with teams for the duration of the trip(s) and beyond.  We are excited to have him on our team! For more information on BGA http://www.bgaministries.org/

Flora Brooks
 

Occupation: Nationally Certified American Sign Language Interpreter
Activities: Volunteering, reading, hanging out with family and friends
Most excited about:  Learning more about the deaf in Cuba and learning more Spanish Sign Language
Favorite thing about Cuba:  The beauty of the countryside, mango and avocado
Life Verse:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. - Phil. 4:13

Heather Wooten

Occupation: Assistant Buyer, Belk Inc
Activities: Volunteering, reading, learning Spanish, playing bunko
Most excited about: Spending time with the Cuban people in worship. 
Favorite thing about Cuba: The Malec√≥n  (A broad roadway and seawall which stretches along the coast in Havana) Beautiful!
Life Verse:  "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20