International Mission Trips for many years have been an integral part to our cultural understanding of mission. Community has been extraordinarily blessed to have been a part of many different international mission trips and organizations over the years. Cuba, Chile, and South Sudan have been three of the main international mission efforts.
Although the cost can be high, international missions provides unique opportunities to develop relationships and partnership around the world that will change the lives of people.
Several weeks ago, I asked members of CUMC to share some of their first hand experiences with international missions.
In the field below is a reflection on the 2007 Mission Trip to Cuba by Silvia Steele:
A reflection on a mission trip to Cuba 2007. Sylvia Steele (Click Here for More)
I have been on a few Appalachia Service Projects mission trips in the past. I viewed mission trips as
After lunch, we took a long bus ride (no air conditioning) to our designation, the town of Baquanos. I have been to small towns and enjoyed the rural scenery in the States, but nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced on the road to Baquanos. The sun is hot, the breeze is hot, the air is hot - yes – it is hot. Very few places of the road are paved, mostly dirt road with lots of pot holds from the rains. The bus driver tries not to run over the large pot holds (fear of having a flat tire or damaging the bus), thus I am jostled all over the road with hot air and dust coming up from the dirt road. The further away from the city we traveled, the less cars we saw. I saw people riding in open carts pulled by oxen or a horse. Farm land with thin looking cows, sheep, and horses. Homes looked uncompleted or partly built. I learn from our interrupter that construction on homes collapsed when the Soviet Union no longer gave aid to Cuba, thus the money to produce the building materials vaporized. Stopped for lunch, delicious pulled beef and French fries that put our American fast foods to shame. The bathroom break! While preparing for this trip we were told by our trip leader to always have toilet paper or tissues on your person at all times. Now I understood! A person waited outside the restroom, (more of a fancy outhouse) you gave him/her your money and you got 3 squares of toilet paper. Yes – ladies – I did say you got only three squares to toilet paper. That’s it – no more!! The used toilet paper was put in a basket beside you, not in the toilet. When you walked out of the rest room a person with a bucket of water came in and dumped the water in the toilet to flush. I felt embarrassed and completely out of my comfort zone – a reflection in humility.
This 2007 Trip to Cuba transformed the lives of everyone who went on that trip, but it also left an impact on the lives on the people that live there.
By recognizing the impact of that trip on those serving and the people of Cuba, over 10 years ago, Gisselle, Greg Falls, and I are beginning discussions of when CUMC will plan another international mission trip. There is always the possibility of returning to Cuba on another trip in upcoming years potentially even as soon as 2018!
If if you are interested in serving in international mission trips please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.