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I was able to speak with a pastor in Havana today.

Here is his report:
- things are very difficult here
- there have been a number of deaths - we don't know how many but there are a number of reports of people dying
- we have no electricity - most people don't have electricity
- the airport is closed
- we are thankful that we are alive and well where we are, as we are slightly higher up
- but people near the sea front have lost everything : houses have been destroyed, people have died, they have lost everything

When I asked about the visit of a colleague the response was: "well that would be a little complicated". "un poco complicado" was the phrase. The kind of phrase that an Englishman might use when saying "it's a bit wet" - as the rain bucketed down and floods were everywhere. Or a Russian in Siberia saying "it's a bit chilly".

He reported that things in Varadero, the famous beautiful beach resort 90 miles to the east of Havana, is "a disaster zone - and things further east are even worse".

We have £1,500 which we are sending by bank transfer imminently to help those in need. We know it will be a drop in the ocean but will help a little. The 'hurricane relief fund' is still open (see Cuba para Cristo website - giving). Money is transferred to a bank in Cuba, and 100% is spent on hurricane relief (ie no admin charges whatsoever).

CARL CHAMBERS
Chair Cuba para Cristo
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Recent research from one conference has found that 7 organisations in the US are planning on sending 192 short term missionary teams between them to Cuba this year - to just two denominations. That's just what we know about.

We have been told that many who are going aren't even asking permission. They just go and offer "help".

The impact on churches in Cuba is likely to be horrendous.

If you know someone planning a short term trip to Cuba, the kindest thing will be to suggest they put a halt to it. When they ask why, ask them how much they are aware of the damage short term missions trips do (it's well documented) and what steps they've taken to avoid these. If they have produced a dossier on this, then please ask them to send it to us (cubaparacristo@gmail.com) because we have never yet seen a church or organization present a clear cost/benefit analysis for their short term trip to Cuba which considers the wider church too.organisation
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Recent research from one conference has found that 7 organisations in the US are planning on sending 192 short term missionary teams between them to Cuba this year - to just two denominations. That's just what we know about.

We have been told that many who are going aren't even asking permission. They just go and offer "help".

The impact on churches in Cuba is likely to be horrendous.

If you know someone planning a short term trip to Cuba, the kindest thing will be to suggest they put a halt to it. When they ask why, ask them how much they are aware of the damage short term missions trips do (it's well documented) and what steps they've taken to avoid these. If they have produced a dossier on this, then please ask them to send it to us (cubaparacristo@gmail.com) because we have never yet seen a church or organization present a clear cost/benefit analysis for their short term trip to Cuba which considers the wider chuch too.
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Dear praying friends
Over the last several months, through remarkable provision from God (in terms of provision of time and funding for me), I've been able to be involved quite actively in promoting a global conversation to encourage wise and generous love for Cuba.

The context is the potential for substantial change in the numbers of Christians visiting Cuba, given the opening of diplomatic relations with the US. In reality, this is an issue that faces any church which has links with other countries. All I and others have been seeking to do is share biblical wisdom, best practice (to encourage) and some nightmare stories (to warn) with those we talk with, both within Cuba and more widely (I say 'global' because encouragingly we've had involvement from people from all around the world).

With Pete Sholl, director of MOCLAM (with whom we've partnered for almost a decade in work in Cuba), we arranged a meeting in Chicago in January. Some 19 organizations with over 140 mission trips and combined years of experience gathered, to talk, to pray, to learn from one another, and particularly to be fed by two key note speakers: Jean Johnson (World Mission Associates, with 16 years' missionary experience in Cambodia) and Stan Nussbaum (a missions professor). Suffice to say, it was a profound experience: all left saying "we need to do this again and bring more to be part of this".

Then in February, Pete and I returned to Cuba, taking Jean and two of her colleagues who have 15 years' experience in Haiti (right next door to Cuba, with some similarities and many differences). Jean has written up a report, in consultation with Pete and me, and has given us permission to share this with you for your information and prayers.

I commend it to you, and would be pleased to hear any comments you have. (If you would like a copy, please email cubaparacristo@gmail.com)

Meanwhile, please be praying for the Cuba para Cristo trustees as we meet two weeks today (Sunday 2nd April, in the afternoon) to continue our regular meetings together, and discuss prayerfully how what we've learnt might affect our ministry serving the church in Cuba.
In Christ
Carl

Carl Chambers
Chair. Cuba para Cristo.
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