Myer’s Snail Mail
A big “Hello” to our friends, family, church and former teammates!
I mentioned in a previous newsletter that Cuba can be compared to a prince in a poor man’s coat. Boy is that statement true! This past summer we saw firsthand its ruined, tattered buildings, broken roads and antique vehicles, all of which offered us glimpses and shadows into the country’s former wealth and glory. Although everything has changed now due to the Revolution and the economic embargo that followed, what made Cuba “rich” back then is still what makes it “rich” today: its people. I am not sure that I have ever met a more hospitable or adaptable people. They share and give willingly what little they have. Out of necessity, they take something that is broken and come up with creative ways to fix it, seeing a possible treasure and not something destined for the landfill.
Our missionary hosts, Yober and Lisandra, taught me so much about hospitality. We arrived at their home and church, late into the evening and well past sunset. Despite the hour, they welcomed us with warm smiles and cheerful greetings of “Welcome to Cuba!” Within about five minutes, we realized that they had been expecting us to stay in tents. We had been told that we would be staying indoors. Wherever the communication breakdown happened, we do not know nor does it matter. They immediately opened up the church for the team to stay in. Yober and Lisandra also gave their own bedroom for our family to use for the duration of our time in Cuba. They really were not living in much space before our arrival and joyfully made room out of what little they had. I was completely humbled, challenged, and inspired that first night.
News of our arrival spread quickly throughout the small town. It was not uncommon for groups of people to gather and watch our team as they worked on the worksite. Wanting to show their affection and appreciation, the church congregation brought us mangos on a daily basis. It was a mango deluge!!! We had so many mangos, that we ate them with every meal and still had some go bad because we could not eat them fast enough! We had to find inspiration with how we served them too: mango coffee cake, mango fruit salad, mango-peach smoothie, and mango juice were some of the creations we used to make the same thing new and inventive. We truly were MUCHO MANGO blessed!
During our time in Cuba, we worked on several different projects. Our team dug a trench that was later formed and filled with concrete to shape the foundation for a retaining wall. On that foundation, they laid block to form the walls. Once the retaining wall was constructed, they filled its pillars with concrete to give it stability. After all that was finished, they shoveled all the dirt they had previously removed back in so that the ground would be flat and level. They did A LOT of digging!!! From the kitchen, I could hear the sound of shovels hitting the ground every few moments. It was a symphony of clanks and grunts and scrapes—audible proof of the team’s hard work! They also gave the exterior of the church a much-needed fresh coat of paint. It was not uncommon for teammates to come to dinner covered in dust and old paint chips, the result of scraping off the old paint before the new paint could be applied. Lastly, they tore off and demolished the old, leaky roof of the sanctuary and poured a new, concrete one. They poured the entire roof in one day! When there were not enough jobs to keep everyone busy, teammates went around the neighborhood picking up trash, weeding, and removing rocks.
In Cuba, the water was turned off everyday. We had to learn to stockpile water when it was on. Every other day was a “good” water day, where the water was on and had lots of pressure. The tanks filled on those days. On an “off” water day though, water was scarce. We had what we needed for filtering drinking water, washing dishes and bucket flushing toilets and that was it. (And those we had because of our savvy water saving skills…kind of like the squirrels do for winter, only they save nuts and we saved water!!) It did not rain much while we were there, that is until the day we tore off the old roof of the church. Remember that we slept in that sanctuary. Before the roof came off, it had rained twice I think since our arrival. Ironic, eh? I tried to put a positive spin on things to make our wet, roofless home a thing to behold. Sleeping under the stars, being bathed by the moon’s light, all-natural AC, you know things like that. The team handled everything well and took those wild bumps in the road in stride. The rain always stopped before bed, which allowed us to squeegee the floors and sleep dry, for the most part. Our hosts felt terrible about us sleeping in the great outdoors, but we reassured them with our adventurous spirits! They literally smiled and scratched their heads in wonder.
The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers in the land,
The music stops, and yet it echoes on in sweet refrains…
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.
This poem is a perfect way to describe our summer spent in Cuba. God truly blessed us with yet another amazing group of young believers who spent their summer of service ministering to others. Our time together has come and gone, and each of us has returned home. What has remained behind us though is the sweet aroma left by our team’s pure desire to serve others and to see God glorified through their actions and testimony. #LiveTheAdventure #ThisIsNotTheEnd
We want to continue to thank each one of you for taking a personal interest in our ministry with Teen Missions and in our family. We could not be here without your constant encouragement, prayers and support. The Lord truly shows His goodness to us through each of you. May the Lord bless you for your faithfulness to us.
Mike, Michelle, Kenya, Isabelle, Lily, & Gabriel Myers
275 Sabal Ave.
Merritt Island, FL. 32953
Please continue to uphold us in prayer:
~That God would help us to hold fast to our faith in Him and the calling He has placed on our lives. That we would be obedient and patient, and busy doing the work He has given us. We praise the Lord for the privilege to serve Him in missions full time!
~That God would keep and protect our children, Kenya, Isabelle, Lily, and Gabriel. That they would grow in knowledge and truth and put Him first in all things. We need God’s wisdom as we raise them!
~For our teammates and friends we said goodbye to in Cuba. That God would continue to show them what their part in His work is and that they would be encouraged by the truth that God uses anyone who says ‘yes’ to Him.
~We praise the Lord for all of you: friends, family, and former teammates who faithfully read all of our newsletters, pray for us, and support us in our ministry with Teen Missions. We could not be here without you!