Hey Simply Insiders!
Lifetree Adventures is a really cool international facet of Group Workcamps Foundation. They offer one-of-a-kind global mission experiences designed to grow your faith. Plus, they have some great international mission experiences specifically for youth in 2015 that you should look into as you plan next summer’s calendar! Recently, Lifetree Adventures took a team of travelers to Cuba. Below is a blog post from Chris Hastings, a volunteer youth worker who served on this amazing trip! Read about the incredible time he had below and be sure to check out Lifetree Adventures!
“This does not stink!”
I kept repeating those words throughout the mission trip to Cuba, offered through Lifetree Adventures, that I recently returned from.
I said it at least once a day. I even said it in the pineapple field, during the middle of the day, with the sweltering Caribbean sun beating down on where my teammates and I were pulling weeds. By hand. I do think, however, most of my teammates would have disagreed with me at that exact moment.
I will say this; it was different from any other trip I have taken. I have never had to be so careful before about what I said and to whom. And I have been a part of twenty short term mission trips, some even to Muslim countries. It is not that I feared getting in trouble or being put in jail. We were not doing anything wrong. I just didn’t want the local people to face any sort of hardship or problem because I said the wrong thing to the wrong person.
We were there to work with local house churches supporting their daily ministry programs. We had the opportunity to meet and participate in several house church services, which were all amazing. The singing, the dancing, the music, and just the raw passion for God that went into the services were something to stand in awe of. Even more so since none of the house churches had any air conditioning! After we met the people who went to that house church, and started to make friends, we found out that their faith was just incredibly rich and deep. I, for one, started to wonder why I was not as passionate at church as they were. At least we have air conditioning in church!
Cuba is a truly amazing country. It seems as though there have not been any major changes in Cuba since the revolution. You still see the old cars driving down the road. The team talked about how things could be better if they had more infrastructure or technology. We have all the “stuff” in the United States that would make things so much easier and quite possibly enhance the Cuban’s lives for the better. But we also talked about how the faith of these people seemed so rich and deep and their relationship with God seemed to be so strong. I would say that most of the team was a little jealous of the fact that we did not have a relationship with God like that. This led us to conversations about different styles of poverty. Maybe poverty is not just monetary or financial. Maybe it is also a spiritual issue.
We were there to serve the Cubans. We were there to provide them hope and to show them that even though our countries have some severe political differences, that Cubans and Americans can get along. Yet, so many of the people on the team walked away feeling like we were served more than we served others. We talked of how much we want to come back. Even a “Cuban Mission Trip Reunion” next summer. I think part of the desire to go back is to visit with the new friends we made; both Cuban and American, who we now view as family. We also want to get another taste of Cuban life and to provide hope for others. But also get a little hope for ourselves.
This trip did not stink.
- Chris Hastings, 2014 Cuba Lifetree Adventure Traveler and Volunteer Youth Worker
To learn more about Lifetree Adventures and 2015 opportunities, visit their website or give Robin, your Lifetree Adventure guide, a call at 800-747-2157.