Helping the Believers in CUBA

Autumn 2022
Written by Byrne & Lois Foreshew - Cuba

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10

Since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the country has been under a difficult regime that has caused widespread poverty across the whole island, though going there on a nice vacation in a luxury hotel, you'd never see this. It's sad to see that as the local people suffer daily without food, medicine, electricity, and water, tourists can go there and live like kings at the people's expense.

Gospel hall in Pinar del Rio, Cuba

The situation has worsened, so the government has finally allowed outside international investors to enter the country to do business. This is the first time since the revolution that this has been authorised and gives a real sense of how bad things are when they seek help from outside.

Many of us knew missionaries there before the revolution and are deeply impressed with the Biblical foundation they laid before escaping with only the clothes on their backs. The assemblies planted so many years ago are not just surviving, but they are maintaining the work and have active outreaches in the gospel and children's work and shine as bright testimonies in the areas where the believers live and gather.

Being in contact with some of the believers from the assembly in Pinar del Rio, we have been made aware of some of the many shortages they have. Ration cards permit you to buy certain staples at controlled prices and only at specified periods. For example, cooking oil and chicken are scarcities, and even if some become available, everyone on the list before you must get their portion, so you must wait and hope for the next shipment, which may take months. Some essentials are occasionally available in regular shops at North American prices, which are inaccessible to the people. The island is a tropical paradise, but the government first uses local resources such as fish and vegetables to supply the resorts and tourists before the people are given a portion. In trying to help a little, we have used:

Enviocuba, based in Toronto, Ontario. You select a province and a shop in that province. In our case, we sent to the Province of Pinar del Rio and the shop is called "La Chiquita" The selection is limited but of good quality, and they usually have hygiene items, beans, and pulses, which are a good source of protein. The shop is easily accessible to the local believers, and the order is usually available to pick up within 24 hours. We send the receipt we receive to a believer there called Ivan, who goes to the shop, shows the receipt and his identification, and gets the order.

While Eviocuba may ask you for a copy of your identification to verify your credit card on your first order, we have used them for over a year and have had no concerns. The currency is the Canadian dollar.

More recently, we have also used: selecting the Province of Pinar del Rio and the Municipal District of Pinar del Rio.

We were alerted to the fact that they had chicken and cooking oil, and the order was delivered right to the door of a believer there within 48 hours. It does warn that it could take up to two weeks, but we were pleasantly surprised. Fortunately, there was electricity that day, so they were able to store the chicken and distribute it amongst the believers without worrying about it spoiling. This option charges a delivery fee of $21, but the believers were delighted to be able to get hold of some of the scarcer items and have them delivered directly to their door. This website has a wide variety of food and hygiene items. They also advertise medicines and tools, but often the pages are blank since they don't have the item in stock. Once again, the currency is the Canadian dollar.

The items are more expensive, but there is no market competition due to the lack of availability. We feel it is worth using these local online options as the alternative is to make up very small packages of limited weights, quantities and items and mail them. This is expensive for the small amount you can send and took months to arrive, plus the believers had to pay a small customs fee on their end. We trust that this information may be of some help as we serve one another in the love of Christ for the glory of God our Heavenly Father.

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Phil. 4:18-20. Serving with you, the Best of Masters,

Children in Pinar del Rio holding their new Bibles, during "children summer work this year.

Autumn 2022
Written by Byrne & Lois Foreshew - Cuba