Frequently asked questions about ACTION’s ministry in Cuba:
1) Can my church send a group to work with you?
Yes. We have opportunities for church teams of up to 12 people.
Here are three things to keep in mind as you consider Cuba as a possible missions destination:
• Though Cuba is very close to the tip of Florida, the travel budget for a trip can be between $1200 and $1700 depending on where you are located in the US. This is primarily because just the flight from Miami to Cuba costs $500.
• The event that your team will participate in, whether it be a conference, VBS, or discipleship camp, costs money to organize. In addition to each traveler covering his or her personal travel expenses, we ask the church to cover the event budget.
• In order for your team to have the best experience possible, it’s imperative that your people be able to communicate with the Cubans you meet. Cubans are wonderfully easy to make friends with — as long as you can communicate, that is!
A good ratio for a team is at least one bilingual person (to serve as an English-Spanish interpreter) for every 3 non-Spanish speakers.
If your team does not have bilingual members, we can hire Cuban Christian interpreters to join you, but your team would need to cover the interpreters’ travel, lodging, and food expenses.
2) Can an individual join one of your teams?
Yes. Since our primary ministry is pastoral leadership development through our Bible Training Workshops, we are always looking for qualified Bible teachers to help us train and edify Cuban pastors and leaders.
Individuals can also join one of our existing teams ministering at summer camps or VBS.
3) I don’t speak Spanish. What sort of ministry could I do?
Some of the ways that American teams have helped out at our VBS and summer camps is by preparing individuals who can contribute to an event in the following ways:
• playing music.
• directing and participating in sports and games. This can be as simple as bringing down sports equipment (which is non-existent in Cuba) and setting up for baseball, soccer and volleyball. This can also mean bringing down some fun “camp” games that can get even onlookers having fun.
• sharing their testimony through a translator, during the evening service.
• leading an arts and craft time, including choosing the craft or activity based on the theme of the camp and taking down all necessary materials since there is nothing available in Cuba.
• preparing and running some multi-media presentations that can be shown throughout the day. Since meals come in shifts, this brightens up the time for those waiting. It has also been a blessing to have a “camp photographer” who takes candid shots each day and then makes them into a presentation that is shown each evening.
• at times, and depending on the facility that we are able to rent, there are many opportunities to help in the kitchen and also serving and bussing the tables.
4) What denominations do you partner with?
All our ministry is done in conjunction with and under the authority of Cuban church leadership.
Currently we have three main ministry partnerships: the Christian Pentecostal Church of Cuba, the Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba, and CIMPEC (the national pastors’ and ministers’ association).
We also have good working with relationships with other denominations and groups such as the Open Bible Church, Pinos Nuevos, Lutheran Church, UGECU (university students group), the ELIM Bible Institute, and others.
5) Does ACTION have any missionaries living in Cuba?
No. Cuba does not allow any American missionaries to reside there. The Stewart family has spoken to high-ranking members of the government about this and it is simply not possible at this time.
6) Is Cuba a dangerous place to minister?
No. This is a common misconception based on the unpleasant history of how the Communist Party treated churches and believers some years ago. Times have changed in Cuba.
You may not notice the changes if you focus on politics, but if you look with Kingdom eyes then Cuba is vastly different than even a decade ago and the opportunities to preach Christ and minister to the needy are amazing.
For a thorough response to this question, please read the article “The Cuban Church is Not a Persecuted Church.”
7) Does the Cuban government monitor what you do?
Yes. Unfortunately, they have reason to believe that American missionaries may have political motives and intentions.
They therefore monitor what our teams do while on the island, to ascertain if our motives are truly of a religious nature. As long as that is the case (and for us it always is), then there is nothing to worry about.
For a thorough response to this question, please read the article “Why Cuba Thinks American Missionaries Might be Spies.”
The summary of that article is simple: be a true ambassador of Jesus Christ, not of the United States, and the scrutiny you will be under will only serve to glorify the Lord as your speech and conduct will be judged to be above reproach.
If you are traveling near Havana, Camaguey, or Bayamo, then YES, PLEASE.
Just contact me using the form on the About Me page and I will have one of our official representatives in those cities email you and arrange for a time and place to meet.
Many Canadian families, for example, vacation in Varadero which is near Havana. Each year a few families drop off suitcases of supplies to our representative in Havana. We consider this to be a great help to the ministry, whether you bring in ministry items or items listed on our Shopping List page.