Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why Cuba is a Good Destination for Mission Trips:



For the first time in half a century, Cuba is more open to Americans.  With a population of 11.3 million, and only about 10% of that population being active Christians, Cuba is a nation hungry for Christ!

Change your life as a Christian. Short-term mission trips give you the chance to experience the Gospel like no other. Emerge yourself with Cuban pastors and brothers and sisters of the faith exploring the power of the Gospel in Cuba.  Explore new ways to live the Gospel. Witness a miracle first hand with a trip to Cuba as an individual or with a group.

Cuban church is longing and willing for social services improvement. In fact, the amount of ministries inside the churches it’s increasing daily due to the great need that the Cuban community has: youth, elderly and dysfunctional families are the most common issues. There are locations where the Church plays a quite important role specifically in Old Havana (Habana Vieja), Cerro and some other municipalities inside the capital and some province capitals too. If you want to be part of any of these ministries we invite you to come along in a mission trip that will touch people lives.

If you would like more information you can schedule a Cuba Night, an information session, so that your church or other small group can learn more about the possibilities of taking a mission trip to Cuba.  You can do so by calling 305-884-0441 or emailing us at rr@oaausa.org.

An adventure waits for you in Cuba!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

WHY MISSION TRIPS ARE IMPORTANT?



Whether you are a church group that wish to serve, or a group of university students interested in learning, medical or high school students who wish to explore another country, a team of professionals, or simply a gathering of like-minded people, we can coordinate the details of your trip so that you can relax and enjoy your unique experiences as you visit Cuba.  Here are some reasons why mission trips are important:

Get a better understanding of other countries and universal needs. 
You realize that other countries and cultures are different. That other people have different ways of looking at life and doing things. Your thinking will expand to consider other ways of doing things, which you never have before. You find out that people, though they may look different, are the same all over the world. They have the same feelings, hopes, and desires -- they are human just like you are.  You will have a greater compassion and concern and be more likely to help.

Do What Jesus Did. 
Jesus Himself spent much time with poor, healing the sick, cleansing lepers, and bringing hope to the hopeless. A mission trip will change your perspective.  Most people will have a more thankful attitude, and less desire to complain about their life, after a mission trip. Most of us have felt sorry for ourselves over insignificant things. We are more apt to realize this after seeing what people in other places face.

Encounter God's heart. 
Our God is big and He cares about the nations. He's a global God. When you step into a foreign mission field, you will sense God's amazing compassion for another culture and you will begin to know Him as Lord of the harvest. On a mission, our eyes are opened to seeing God in ways we never have before.  Our distractions and the pressures are left behind us, leaving us open and vulnerable to the love of God.

Challenge Comfort Zones. 
Every now and then you need to step out of your comfort zone and allow God to stretch you. Recognize that the way we do ministry in the United States is not necessarily the only way.

Build Relationships. 
When you minister alongside Christians in another country, you find that the Holy Spirit bonds us together. God gives us this strong bond so we will link arms and work for a common purpose across racial and cultural lines.

Be Obedient to Christ’s Plan. 
Matthew 28:19: "Go therefore..." Somebody has to GO. There's no way around it. To share the gospel with the whole world, we must be willing to pack our bags sometime and leave home.  Doing work for God, and seeing results, is like starting a fire. It is natural for it to continue and grow larger. Once you get a taste of it, you want more.

Be Empowered.  
Done well, mission trips help one to take ownership and initiative. Eyes are opened. Passions are ignited. Possibilities are exposed. Pursuits begin. 

ECHOCUBA > CELEBRATES 22 YEARS!


Our long-standing presence in Cuba has positioned EchoCuba as one of the leading evangelical Christian organizations.  We are excited and blessed to be celebrating 22 years!

TESTIMONIALS

I have traveled to Cuba with the help of Echo Cuba a couple of times over the last 3 years.  I plan to use them again in the future and I would recommend them to others.  The first time I used Echocuba they helped me visit Cuba for the first time in 46 years.  I immediately noticed the beautiful green palm trees and how much some things have changed and other remained the same.  What I liked the most was having the opportunity to help the church to see what God is doing. 
-Enrique

I just got back from a trip with my family.  My father has used EchoCuba numerous times and I thought the trip was really organized.  Everything seems to run very smoothly.  I know my family will use them again in the future.  Cuba is so beautiful but also sad how low the poverty level is. I really enjoyed meeting the people, speaking with them, and forming relationships.
-Sydney

I went to Cuba in January 2014.  EchoCuba organized everything.  Whatever we asked for was done.  It was great!!  The staff was very helpful.  I’m a photographer so Cuba was great to visit.  I had a lot of opportunities to take pictures.  I enjoyed the music in the streets and meeting the people.  They are kind and happy.  I’ll definitely want to visit again.
-Herbert

BRING A GESTURE OF KINDNESS WHEN TRAVELING TO CUBA.


When you travel to Cuba you get to see and experience the beautiful island, delicious Cuban food, relaxing outside cafes, good music, and friendly people.  You can expect those things, but you may also experience a feeling of compassion when you see those that are in need not having some of the essentials we use everyday.

One question we are regularly asked by travelers is, “what are some gifts we can bring to Cuba?”  Cubans enjoy receiving gifts, no matter the size.  Anything you can give to them is a gesture of kindness.  We recommend that you do not give gifts or money to people on the street, but instead find a children ministry, church, or school.   If you need suggestions, we work with many wonderful organizations in Cuba, reach out to us and we can direct you. 

Caring gift ideas:     
Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Floss
Deodorant, Feminine hygiene products
Vitamins
Reading glasses and sunglasses
Toys for kids
Flip-flops or crocs
Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner
Utility gloves
Musical instruments and art supplies
Sporting equipment (bats, gloves, balls, helmets, etc.)
Band-aids, medical gloves, Aspirin, baby and adult diapers
School supplies, Spanish/English dictionaries
Laptop computers no more than four years old
Shoes and clothing

Some additional information to keep in mind is that each traveler’s bag can weigh up to 44 pounds.  There is a charge of $2 for each additional pound.

If you aren’t traveling anytime soon but still would like to help the people in Cuba with a financial donation or if you have any additional questions, please contact us at sd@oaausa.org. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

NEW CUBA TRAVEL REGULATIONS


Some questions and answers about the new rules for Americans traveling to Cuba: 

WHO CAN GO?
Any American can now travel to Cuba without the prior permission of the U.S. for the first time in a long while—so long as the visit falls under one of 12 approved categories, which include professional, religious and journalistic activities, educational activities, family visits, official business of the U.S. government, public performances,  support for the Cuban people, humanitarian projects, research, exportation, importation, or transmission of information materials, and certain export transactions. 

WHAT ARE THE RULES?
Americans can now travel alone after asserting it's an educational, "people-to-people" experience. The bottom line is for a people-to-people trip to be compliant — the activities or the trip in its entirety can’t be for tourism purposes. The intent is to not just do tourist activities but to meet Cuban people and to exchange, talk about life in the United States, learn about life in Cuba. White House officials suggested just about any interaction with Cubans would satisfy the requirement. 

Under the updated policy, visitors will have to keep records for five years about what they did in Cuba, but won't have to submit them unless asked.  Keeping records could include any receipts, plane tickets, hotel receipts, meal receipts and noting what type of activities they participated in. 

ISN'T CUBA HARD TO GET TO?
Not anymore….The U.S. opened the door to restoring commercial air traffic. The first of up to 110 commercial flights a day are expected to start later this year.  Eventually, many Americans may also come by boat. European cruise ships now make regular appearances in Havana harbor. 

WHERE WILL I STAY?
One of the biggest difficulties is getting a hotel room. The hotels have been sold out for more than a year. It’s one of the major bottlenecks to Cuba right now. There’s a limited amount of hotels that the American traveler would find sufficient or satisfactory to stay in. It’s often easier to travel to Cuba if you go in a small group, because everything is taken care of.  One recently added option is AirBnB. The U.S.-based company allows you to search private homes, known as "casas particulares," and pay through your credit card from the U.S.

A MISSION TRIP PACKED WITH LOVE AND SERVICE…

“I came not to be served but to serve…" Matthew 20:28. 
Just a reflection to share with you… 

 We are sure that in your most recent mission trip to Cuba you discovered many ways to serve God, and certainly you became more conscious of the abundant blessings God is bringing to your life. Please, remember that people in Cuba needs you, they are starving for the Word of God, and desperately looking for the love of Jesus in their lives. We encourage you to bring to them the Gospel and the never ending love of Christ by sharing with them your uncountable blessings and transform their lives.

Certainly, there are many experiences to share about the last mission trips, if you have not shared them with us, we would love to hear you. Most importantly, give us the opportunity to serve you again by helping you with your next Mission Trip; just let us know the dates and we make this count.
We hope to hear back from you soon, it is an honor and privilege to help you! If you have any questions about the planning process of the Mission Trip or a specific prayer request, do not hesitate to contact us.

Have a blessed day,
Sumaya
Mission Trip Coordinator 

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED… WHERE IN CUBA ARE PEOPLE IN THE GREATEST NEED?


Once I had a conversation that blew my mind. But before I tell you about it, I want to thank those that gave so generously of their time and talent in past mission trips to Cuba. Both you and I understand the complications and challenges of undertaking a mission trip to Cuba, but I am sure we agree the rewards are far greater than the little frustrations we all encounter on our path to answer God’s call.

It is well known that the people of Cuba are in great need of our help.  Many Cubans are not only starving for food, medicine and other essential resources needed on a daily basis:  they are also starving for love and the word of the Lord, starving for the love of Jesus who never fails us.

Now on to that mind-blowing conversation, I was asked by a humble pastor and a Christian lady, ”Have you ever thought about the Cuban people from the remote eastern provinces where help cannot get through? These regions are the least visited by missionaries. Thousands of Cubans in the eastern regions still do not even know who Jesus is! But as soon as they hear the good news, they become excited and long to know more and more about our amazing savior, his words and his works.”

Their message was strong and clear. In a flash, I realized the voice of the Lord was talking through them. I could hear the cries of many vulnerable Cubans trying to reach us through these caring, sincere people. Truly, in the eastern provinces of Cuba help is very limited and the people’s need to experience the love of our heavenly Father is great. There are abundant opportunities to serve God and bring the message of Jesus to the people in the remote eastern provinces of Cuba such as Holguin and Santiago.

As you feel the call in your heart to help meet this great need, I invite you to visit our website for more information. Let us know how we can support you in planning your next mission trip to Eastern Cuba.  We are happy to serve you!

Sumaya Davila, Mission Trip Coordinator

Friday, March 18, 2016

Short Term Mission Trips to Cuba, unique opportunity for U.S. based Churches. Discover how with us!


See what God is doing in Cuba and be a part of it by supporting these ministries with humanitarian aid and prayer. Cuba is a communist country where people and churches struggle daily to survive under the meager living conditions and food supply.

With a population of over 11,451,652 people, the Church needs your help in spreading the gospel. Mission Trips to Cuba are very different from mission trips to other countries. We recognize the value of learning first-hand about life in Cuba, the limitations, challenges, and obstacles faced by its people.

Through short-term Mission Trips, we seek to provide unique opportunities for US-based churches to learn about the growing, but suffering Christian Church in Cuba and partner with them to provide support to those who need it most in the island.

Itineraries are tailored to provide a comprehensive understanding of the struggles, joys, dreams and daily lives of fellow Christians and pastors in Cuba.