By Rob Lunan
Last Fall Jose Losada and his sister Raquel, visitors from Cuba, arrived in North Grenville on a special mission. North Grenville Times writer Rob Lunan met with them for three hours and here are the highlights of the interview.
NGT – Mr. Losada what is it you do in Cuba?
JL – I am a pastor of a small church in Camaguey and head up several social mission projects.
NGT – How did you get out of Cuba to come to Canada?
JL- I am very fortunate that my father was born in Spain, so I have a Spanish passport. If I only had a Cuban passport, then it would not be possible for me to leave Cuba. As you know, many people have tried to leave Cuba in boats, etc. and have died at sea trying.
NGT – Many people from North Grenville visit Cuba each year as tourists going to the resorts. How different is the life of the common people in Cuba from the resort experience?
JL – It is not the real Cuba in the Hotels. It is so desperate for many people. It is like each day Jesus does the miracle of loaves and fishes. Many people earn a dollar a day of your money. And food is expensive. How can they live on this? It is like a miracle is done. But for many life is desperate.
NGT – Tell me about your church.
JL – It was started in 1927 as the Camaguey City Church. This was before the Castro revolution. Then, in 1954, it was changed to the Christian Brotherhood Agrarian Church by a group of farmers. Now a few years ago we joined the Wesleyan church.
NGT – What projects are you involved in?
JL – A lot! We have a bible training centre that we are building and is 65% complete, a children’s sports ministry (baseball, volleyball, basketball and soccer) to keep children safe and healthy, a ministry to alcoholics – mostly to the ones who come and we find them sleeping on the church door step and begging for food. We also transport people in our van. This van was donated by Christian people from North Grenville last year. The transportation system in Cuba is very bad and we help by driving the elderly, pregnant mothers and children who stand at the side of the road hitchhiking. Another thing we are working on is a ministry to bring safe drinking water to the people in Cuba. We are preparing to install good filters to make unsafe water drinkable. We also help the very old with food supplies each month. We would like to also provide regular cooked meals for them. And finally, we are the agents for this device [ he then pulled something from his pocket that looked like a cell phone with a solar cell on the back] it is a radio and audio player. It has a built in Spanish audio bible and also receives radio on one station. We are seeking permission to broadcast bible teachings on this frequency in Cuba. But to get this permission may take some time. In all these ministries we are doing a lot of little things but we want to do much more.
NGT – What can the people of North Grenville do to help the poor in Cuba?
JL – First is prayer – we can do nothing without prayer. We also welcome workers to come and help finish the church building and training institute. We need teachers to come and help train our students and other church workers. We are not looking for money. But we encourage visitors from Canada. If you come on a religious visa, you can work and minister while you visit. If you come on a tourist visa, you can visit us and see what we are doing. We are looking for churches or individuals who would like to support the very poorest people who we minister to. For instance, we would like to be able to regularly provide a bag of food once a month to very old people who have nothing. This would only cost fifteen Canadian dollars per month. Another thing is to provide a cooked meal regularly to those who have no food. This costs only one dollar per person.
NGT – How can our readers reach you for more information?
JL – Please come and visit us in Cuba! It is an open invitation. You can reach me directly by email at [email protected]. Or by phone 011-53-5240-4481
Authors Note: The North Grenville Times has also learned that Southgate church has a team visiting