In May 2017, I had the opportunity to travel to Cuba for a two-week mission trip as part of the Crandall-Acadia Bachelor of Theology Partnership. I had heard amazing stories from previous trip participants—yet I was a bit skeptical of the full impact. However, I was curious to see how much change could happen in a short time.
Our team included nine students, two chaperones, and an interpreter who met us at the airport the evening we arrived. By morning, the interpreter became a close member of our team.
During our two weeks in Cuba, we travelled together in a van, visiting churches in a variety of cities and participating in several work projects such as painting and yard work. We spent significant time meeting youth, young adults, and pastors, sharing about our unique cultural contexts. We learned about ministries in different areas of the island, and we were privileged to participate in church services, youth programs, and a prayer meeting. We also toured several farms that are part of the partnership between Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) and the Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba (FIBAC), which provided us an opportunity to see firsthand how a gift of several farm animals truly blesses the whole community.
Throughout the trip, I was overwhelmed by the sense of community, both within our team and among our team and the Cubans we had the pleasure to meet. Despite cultural and language differences, we were warmly welcomed everywhere we travelled. Thanks to some cleverly crafted ice-breaker activities, we were sharing stories about our lives like long-time friends.
My greatest discovery from this trip is realizing that when you spend time intentionally listening to others and learning from them, everyone benefits. After this experience, I am fully convinced of the potential of short-term missions to change lives. I stand in awe of all that God did for me and inside me when I stepped out in faith and let Him use me.