The lifting of travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba opened the door not only to "vacation" options, but also to opportunities for interested groups and individuals to serve the people of the island nation.
One such group is Hope 4 Kids International (H4KI), a Christian nonprofit whose mission is to restore hope around the world by empowering kids to break the cycle of extreme poverty. H4KI, which hosts mission trips throughout the world, immediately began seeking ways to positively impact Cuba. The result is a five-year commitment of partneringwith the church in Cuba.H4KI efforts include a child sponsorship program in Cuba, as well as working to provide access to clean water in local villages and establishing a Mission 4 Character program with local Christian leaders.
H4KI recently hosted a volunteer mission trip to Cuba, where seven participants spent a week in October working with a local church to do children's ministry, assisting in a farming project and helping to construct a church.
"The first few days it almost seemed like their system worked," says mission participant JJ Brewer-Schell, "however, after a few days the cracks in the system showed through. There is ahopelessness that is not immediately noticeable."
"Trips like these always leave me wanting to really make a difference in the world in general.," notes Brewer-Schell, who has been on mission trips to other parts of the world, as well, including Uganda. "I have a 13-year old daughter and I want the world to be a better place for her and her children. I feel like if we all do something, anything... things will change for the better."
The next H4KI mission trip to Cuba is scheduled for February 18-26, 2016. For more information, visit http://www.hope4kidsinternational.org/cuba.
Hope 4 Kids International is a Christian nonprofit organization whose mission is to restore hope around the world by empowering kids to break the cycle of extreme poverty. Our comprehensive approach addresses the whole person – spirit, soul and body – to not only meet urgent needs, but also to create lasting life transformation.