September 3, 2020

In Cuba, Adventist Church Mourns Tragic Death After Tropical Storm Laura

Friends and members of the 10 de Octubre Adventist church in Ranchuela, Villa Clara, in central Cuba, are mourning the sudden loss of a 16-year-old member of the church’s Pathfinder Club on August 25, 2020. 

Kendry Díaz Negrín was walking through his neighborhood to survey the damage left by Tropical Storm Laura when a downed powerline electrocuted him. He died almost instantly, witnesses said. 

The storm brought heavy rain and coastal flooding across Cuba on August 24, and knocked down trees and scattered debris. No other deaths among church members were reported.

“I never imagined I would face this situation and feel my heart so broken to see how death took one of our young people,” said Liván Hernández, Adventist Church youth ministries director in the Villa Perla Mission. “He was a happy young man, friendly, a lover of God’s creation, a strong, faithful Pathfinder, a servant of God, and a friend of humanity.”

 

Hernández recalled watching Díaz Negrín recently caressing a baby chick he had in his hand. “Our local field, and especially the 10 de Octubre Adventist church, has shed tears,” Hernandez said. “But together with his family and friends, we keep the faith of Jesus and the promise of eternal life.”

Díaz Negrín grew up in the Adventist Church and was an active participant in his local church activities and initiatives.

Pathfinder Club director Enit Chamizo remembers him most as “El Chino,” as many affectionately called him. “He earned the affection of everyone around him from a young age with his friendly way of treating people,” she said.

Chamizo still remembers Kendry singing about Jesus’ soon coming while dressed in his blue and white uniform, with his red scarf, while he was in the Adventurers Club.

“At that time, I was already a Pathfinder, but when I graduated and became our club director, he would always look for me to tie his scarf because he said that I made it look nice.”

Chamizo remembers seeing Díaz Negrín helping the children and making friends with anyone he met.

“We will keep him in our hearts, and on that glorious morning, I know that I will meet him, and he will lay his head on my shoulder, as he used to do.”

Hundreds of church leaders and members, escorted by the Pathfinder Club, marched through the town's streets after a funeral ceremony that led to his burial site on August 26.

“Nothing like this had ever happened in this town before,” said Radamés del Sol, executive secretary and treasurer for the Adventist Church in the Villa Perla Mission. “I saw more than 300 people, including young people from our church and other faiths, at the funeral service.”

Díaz Negrín is survived by his parents, Ondrey and Yailén, and his six-year-old brother.

Dayami Rodríguez contributed to this report.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.

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