The recent “normalizing” of relations with the U.S. has provided a historic opportunity to support the work of the Church in Cuba. For more than 50 years, Cuba was officially off limits to U.S. travelers. But that is changing. Now YOU can be part of what God is doing there!
For most of the past half-century, Cuba was officially an atheist state. In 1962, Cuba’s government seized and shut down 400 Catholic schools, and many church leaders, including pastors and priests, were sent to labor farms for “re-education”. While both Protestant and Catholic churches remain restricted in their activities, they were never outlawed altogether. In 1984, Catholics and Protestants were allowed to conduct mass and worship services respectively. Since then, the growth of the Church inside Cuba has been phenomenal. By 2004, almost 20% of all Cubans were attending weekend religious services, compared with less than 1% in 1984, a growth rate of 1,960 percent!
Since personal income is regulated by the government and ranges from $20-$50 a month, most of the country suffers from extreme poverty.
Serve children and families living in extreme poverty in this beautiful country where the Church is on the move.
Gabriel Vega López and Leidis García Tejeda were both born and raised in Cuba. They grew up in different places and met at the former Teachers Training College in Santiago de Cuba in 2002. During their courtship they were able to save enough money to buy a house and were married on April 19th, 2006, a year after Christ came into their lives. They live with their young daughters Sol Beatriz and Luna Betsy in the city of Santiago de Cuba.
After eighteen months of discipleship, both Gabriel and Leidis were baptized in 2006. A month later, they began serving the Lord in different areas in their church. Gabriel has served as a Sunday School youth and adult teacher, as a local missionary, and church administrator. He is currently teaching youth Sunday School and is the leader of his church's Evangelism Team. Leidis is serving as Church Secretary and Womens Ministry leader They have both served at retreats and camps with children from their church. They continue to pray over new ways they can serve the Lord in their community.
Any team of 10 or more is invited to serve in Cuba. Total trip cost for each team member is $1,275 (includes Cuban visa).
120 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE
30 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE
Trip Fee Includes:
Trip Fee Doesn’t Include:
In keeping with its primary mission, Forward Edge is sending teams to Cuba that focus primarily on supporting church-run programs. Additional ministry opportunities include:
PASSPORTS: A passport and Cuban visa are required to enter Cuba. If you already have a passport, please be sure that the expiration date is at least six months past the date of your departure from Cuba. If you do not have a passport, please apply for one as soon as possible. You must have a valid passport to begin the Cuban visa process (below) which begins at least 30 days prior to departure. Also, the US passport process can take up to 6-8 weeks.
VISA: Forward Edge must apply for Cuban visas at least 30 days prior to departure. Your Team Coordinator will provide forms and work with you through this process which has strict deadlines. You must have a valid passport to start the process.
FLIGHTS: Teams can now fly into the Antonio Maceo Airport located in Santiago de Cuba which is a short ½ hour ride to El Cobre. Typically the team Facilitator meets the team in the USA before flying into Cuba. The team will then be picked up by a member of our field staff.
Airfare ranges from $400-900 per round-trip ticket, depending upon the airline and where you are flying from. Our preferred travel agent can help you find the best rates. Please talk with our Cuba Team Coordinator who can assist you with reserving flights through the help of our preferred travel agent.
TRANSPORTATION: All ground transportation on location is included in your trip fee.
IMMUNIZATIONS: The government of Cuba does not require any shots or immunizations to enter the country. Please consult a personal physician for any recommendations.
TEAM PACKS: Once team member registration is complete, Forward Edge will send individualized team packs including a Forward Edge t-shirt, Team Member Manual, and other helpful information.
SCHEDULE: Each day your team will experience a morning devotional, an evening debrief, and relationship building opportunities through serving local people.
TEAM MEMBER CONDUCT: While team conduct is of the utmost importance for any short-term mission trip, it is especially vital to our partnerships in Cuba that team members never use or mention the word, “donation;” only use the word “gift” or phrase “as a gift.” Also, please refrain from discussing any political issues.
Sheri's Forward Edge experience began in 2000 when her ordinary family got a last-minute call that a missions organization needed help the following day for a weekend conference whose scheduled worship leader was unable to attend. Her family of five thought they were saying yes to a weekend, but God had additional plans. Just a few months later, David, Sheri's husband, took leave from his job for a three-week Forward Edge trip serving Kosovar widows alongside Albanian missionaries. From that point forward, broken for the broken-hearted and motivated by God through the humble servants at Forward Edge, David and Sheri began facilitating teams to different Forward Edge locations when they could. There were long dry periods of time that felt very ordinary — it seemed God was leading them to just be faithful in their ordinary lives — in the marketplace. And then there were times when God was asking for a little more. In 2005, they, along with their three kids, resigned from their jobs and ordinary lives and moved to Tiranë, Albania for a one-year assignment to serve and love this previously atheistic country and her people.
Back in the states, life continued ordinarily as they resumed day jobs (Sheri an engineer, David a surgical technologist), finished raising their kids, and facilitated Forward Edge teams. Since 2007 Sheri has worked in a local school district, most recently managing capital construction — building new schools and renovating existing ones. She is overjoyed to now be serving alongside the staff at headquarters, building for eternity instead!
Sheri is passionate to see the glory of God in people as they walk in freedom and confidence in who they were created to be, understanding His immense love for them. She is continually overwhelmed by His demonstration of His glory through the beauty of creation, whether watching the sunrise on the drive to work, kayaking with her husband on a Pacific Northwest lake, or hiking and camping in the mountains with their married kids.
What drew you to the mission of Forward Edge?
The fact that God uses ordinary people to serve him with whatever they have!
If you could have dinner with any person in history (except Jesus) who would it be and why?
I would have dinner with my grandpa who died before I fully understood the power of prayer. A farmer and rural college maintenance man, tennis champ, and traveling worship leader himself (he played the saw!), I've heard stories all my life of his dedication to prayer for his family — I'd like to thank him and continue to learn from him.
What is something about you others are often surprised to learn?
People are usually surprised that I'm an engineer and got to work in San Diego right next to the ship where the Navy dolphins trained.
Hi! I’m Sheri, the Cuba Team Coordinator. I look forward to working with you to plan your life-changing week in Cuba!
If you’re interested in organizing a team of 10 or more, you can contact us by filling out the short form below. If you’re an individual looking to join a team, you can scroll through our list of open teams.