Today’s blog is written by Natalia Burton. Read as she shares her experience on the REACH Cuba trip!
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
-Psalm 126: 2-3
Going on a mission trip is something that had been on my heart for a long time. My daughter, Kaitlin, had shared that same stirring in her heart, so when the REACH trip to Cuba was announced at church one Sunday, we both immediately felt led to go. My biggest spiritual influence throughout my life, was my Cuban grandmother. She was on fire for the Lord, and never passed up an opportunity to share that enthusiasm and joy with others. It seemed only fitting that our first mission trip be to her homeland. I’m so thankful we made this decision because this trip was life-changing for both Kaitlin and me.
I am excited to share that God is doing amazing things in Cuba. Here are just a few things I learned about the wonderful believers there:
Relationships. The pace of life is slower in Cuba because the Cuban people are all about building relationships and connection. Meals would sometimes last for hours because we were on “Cuban time” – time spent truly getting to know and support one another, along with lots of stories, laughter, and lightheartedness.
Joy. There was so much joy in the Cuban people we worked with. Infectious joy, which I could feel from the first moment we walked into the church. Everyone greets each other with a kiss on the cheek, and a big smile.
Hospitality. The welcome we received wherever we went was so warm and inviting- from the homes where we stayed, to the church, and the many places we went during our visitations, we were received with love, kindness, and generosity. People wanted to love on and serve us, even though we were there to serve them. Even if they had very little, they wanted to share what they had with us. This was humbling and inspiring.
Gratitude. I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. I heard the words, Gracias Señor (meaning “Thank You, Lord”) both spoken and sung many times during our trip. The people we worked with truly gave thanks in all things and with sincerity.
Our team started every morning with breakfast, prayer, and devotions. Each day we had different tasks- we visited the sick and elderly and prayed and shared verses with them. We organized, sorted, and distributed t-shirts World Help had donated, brought food to those in need, we did sports ministry for the youth, and Bible lessons and games with both the younger children and older youth. We spent time playing games and getting to know the church family. Members of our team participated in worship, prayed with church members, shared their testimonies, and I could see that though our lives are very different, the stories and experiences shared were relatable, and lives were touched.
We were privileged to be able to see up close the great work being done in Cuba by World Help and Go & Tell Ministries. It was exciting to attend the 15th anniversary celebration of Go & Tell ministries, where over 200 people packed into the church as Vernon Brewer delivered a powerful message on the saving power of Jesus Christ, and worship was beautifully led in both English and Spanish.
I’m incredibly grateful for our team. I see how God placed everyone on our team for a specific purpose. Everyone had different gifts to share. We really connected as a team and it was so nice starting each morning and ending each day together in prayer and reflection. I was impressed at how much our team members encouraged and built each other up throughout the week. Our leaders, Josh and Jessie, were phenomenal and made sure everyone had opportunities to share and serve.
Sharing this first mission trip with my daughter was such a special experience, and we both grew deeper in our faith, and came back with a fire lit under us. We can’t wait to go back to Cuba and hope to go on many more REACH trips.
We are so grateful to be part of a church that is true to its mission to Love God, Love People, Love Life. The Point provides so many opportunities to live out this mission both in our own community and all around the world.
Dear God, thank you for your love for all your people, all over the world. Thank you for the blessing of work being done for your glory in Cuba, for the wonderful people serving you there, and for allowing us to partner with them. I pray that you would provide resources and opportunities for The Point family to reach more and more communities all over the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. We pray for all the upcoming REACH trips, and for those who are considering going on one, that they would trust your leading, and know that You will provide all they need if they make the decision to go. Thank You for loving us and empowering us to live our lives for You. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
REACH mission trips are an amazing opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in the nations! If you would like to serve on a mission trip visit: thepointva.com/reachcountries