In December 2022, Maranatha Volunteers International donors helped to raise more than US$250,000 (the total has since grown to more than $300,000) to send aid to the Cuban people stuck in a desperate economic situation.
The aid, consisting of food, medicine, and other essentials, was sent in the first two of three shipping containers and arrived in the port of Havana for inspection. Sometimes these containers become stuck in port for months, and Maranatha leaders credit God with what they called “a blessing” — the fact that the first container was recently released and transported to Maranatha’s warehouse.
In early February, the supplies were moved to three distribution points: the Seventh-day Adventist Cuban Union Conference headquarters and the Cuba Adventist Theological Seminary, on the western side of the island; and Holguín, a city in the eastern region of the island.
With joyful smiles, recipients said they were thankful for this timely aid and expressed their gratitude for the Maranatha donors who made it possible. The second shipping container has arrived in the port of Havana, and a third container will soon be on its way.
“It’s pretty meaningful to see the reality of the people who you were actually raising the money for, picking up the food, and you know it’s changing their life,” Maranatha president Don Noble said. “Some of them are laughing, some of them are crying. There was a mix of emotions because they didn’t know what to do with themselves. One man said, ‘You don’t understand, we can’t get any of this stuff. It doesn’t exist for us.’ They didn’t know how to respond.”
Since 1994, Maranatha has been working in Cuba to build and renovate Seventh-day Adventist churches. Political circumstances make work in Cuba complicated, and projects can take years to get off the ground and completed. But Maranatha has been successful in building or remodeling more than 200 churches all over the island, and even building an Adventist seminary.
About Maranatha Volunteers International
Maranatha Volunteers International is a support organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that since 1969 has fulfilled requests for construction assistance. Each project is carefully considered for need, overall impact on the community, and resources for long-term maintenance and support.
Currently, Maranatha is working in a dozen countries around the world. Efforts are focused on church and school construction and water wells. A portion of the projects is completed by volunteers participating in short-term mission trips.
The original version of this story was posted by Maranatha Volunteers International.