Ministry Report: Summer 2023
Caring for Those Affected by Floods in Cuba
In June several parts of Cuba experienced the worst flooding recorded on the island in 30 years. Six people were killed, more than 11,000 were evacuated, and thousands of homes were damaged. Entire livelihoods were wiped out as vegetables and other crops were destroyed. These floods struck Cuba at a time of extreme hardship and scarcity throughout the island.
After collecting donations from our network of generous supporters, we supported three partner churches on the island, including in Havana, who were able to help those in need by purchasing some food and hygiene supplies and bringing these to those affected, including elderly persons and persons with disabilities. The churches also gave each person a New Testament. In this way they’ve been able to express God’s love and care for those in need!
Our partners in Cuba also provided food “combos” to those in need. These are packages of food to make a meal, such as pork, chicken, rice, beans, and cooking oil. One of the daily realities of life for Cubans is food scarcity. Even when there is food and some materials in stores – perhaps milk, cooking oil, flour, beans, rice – these are often out of reach owing to a government-created currency crisis that leaves ordinary Cubans unable to purchase items that most of us take for granted.
Cubans affected by recent floods receiving powdered milk packets and a New Testament
Back to School in Honduras: Backpacks for Children
With one of the highest poverty rates in the Americas, for Honduran parents something as simple as buying backpacks and school supplies for their children to prepare them for the new school year can seem out of reach.
Thanks to the donations of givers like you and a donor who matched every dollar, we were able to send more than 60 backpacks filled with supplies to children in La Ceiba, Honduras. The backpacks were received and distributed by our partner evangelical church, “Centro Cristiano de Alabanza” (Christian Worship Center), led by Pastor Luis Reyes.
Kitchen Supplies for “Comedor” (Dining Room) in El Salvador
Also this summer we were able to send some much needed kitchen and eating supplies to our good friend and partner in El Salvador Pastor Carlos Nieto, who with his family serves meals to more than a hundred children every week in a “comedor,” a simple dining room in Apopa, a very poor rural town. The pastor, with his wife Yesenia and two sons, serve the children a stew of lentils and pupusas and provide some Christian instruction during the meal. Before eating, the pastor leads the children in saying the following prayer:
“God, I thank you for loving me and for thinking of me. Please bless father and mother so that we never lack food in our homes. Thank you for each person who gives of their time and money so that I have food in the comedor. We bless you and honor you in the name of Jesus, who died on the cross to forgive my sins. Amén.”
Children in the “comedor” in El Salvador
Some of the supplies donated to the “comedor”
Bringing Water to Families in the Dominican Republic
Another highlight from this summer was seeing our local partners make progress on a potable water system that will provide fresh water for 13 families in the town of La Piedra in the Dominican Republic. OAA provided some funding and supplies, including sand, cement, a pump, and piping, while our local partners and other members of the community provided the labor. Soon this community will no longer need to send donkeys up a mountain to bring drinkable water; they will be able to get it for themselves using this new system!
The new potable water system being constructed, using supplies provided by OAA, in La Piedra, Dominican Republic.
Fundación Margie in La Ceiba, Honduras
Medicines to Help the Extremely Poor in Honduras
OAA provided funding to help our partner in Honduras, Fundación Margie, which offers free medical care and medicines to the most vulnerable children and adults in the community of La Ceiba, Honduras. The volunteer doctors and medical professionals of Fundación Margie provide care to up to 90 persons every day, and they also send medical teams into neighborhoods and communities that have little or no access to medical care.
Ministry Empowering Women in Santiago de Cuba
OAA provided $500 to support with logistics, transportation, food, and the venue to Ministerio Sendas de Justicia (Paths of Justice Ministry) for its conference for women titled, “Gema: Mujer Como Piedra Preciosa” (Women as Precious Stones). Organized by Cuban pastors and religious freedom defenders Alain and Marilin Toledano, this conference sought to “empower and activate” women as leaders in their homes, churches, and communities.