Back from Cuba, Arkansas team taking applications for next mission

Translator and mission coordinator Alba Acosta, second from right, translates work instructions for Steve Shults of First UMC Little Rock, center, and Tom Baxter of Salem UMC Conway, right. The members of the Arkansas UMVIM team labored alongside Cuban workers during their time in Havana. PHOTO BY NECHI FULLERTON

Translator and mission coordinator Alba Acosta, second from right, translates work instructions for Steve Shults of First UMC Little Rock, center, and Tom Baxter of Salem UMC Conway, right. The members of the Arkansas UMVIM team labored alongside Cuban workers during their time in Havana.
PHOTO BY NECHI FULLERTON

A United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team composed of members of Arkansas churches in January made a 10-day journey to Havana, Cuba, to build faculty housing for the Seminario Evangélico Metodista, the Methodist seminary there. In addition to providing labor, the team delivered construction supplies, vitamins and medicines while building relationships with Cuban Methodists. The Arkansas group was the first UMVIM team to travel to Cuba since the United States in December announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with the island nation.

“The work was like a vacation to me, but what I got excited about most was the enthusiasm of the Methodist people in Cuba,” said the Rev. Chris Cooper. “They loved us. They wanted to deepen relationships with us… and they truly were one church that was not divided by racism or classism.”

Nechi Fullerton of First UMC Little Rock and local worker Abelardo Castillo greet each other at the seminary construction site. The two met previously during a trip Fullerton made to Cuba two years ago. PHOTO BY STEVE SHULTS

Nechi Fullerton of First UMC Little Rock and local worker Abelardo Castillo greet each other at the seminary construction site. The two met previously during a trip Fullerton made to Cuba two years ago.
PHOTO BY STEVE SHULTS

Beginning Feb. 8, members of the team will lead a four-week study on Cuba, to be held Sundays at 5 p.m. Visit www.fumclr.org/registrations for details and to register.

The next Arkansas UMVIM journey to Havana is scheduled for February 2016. To learn more or to apply to participate, contact Nechi Fullerton, nefullerton@yahoo.com.

For more information on United Methodists’ relations with Cuba, read this United Methodist News Service story by Linda Bloom.

Tom Straight of Salem UMC Conway, the Rev. Chris Cooper of First UMC Little Rock and a Cuban worker trim and bend reinforcement bar for the concrete portions of faculty housing for Seminario Evangélico Metodista in Havana. PHOTO BY NECHI FULLERTON

Tom Straight of Salem UMC Conway, the Rev. Chris Cooper of First UMC Little Rock and a Cuban worker trim and bend reinforcement bar for the concrete portions of faculty housing for Seminario Evangélico Metodista in Havana.
PHOTO BY NECHI FULLERTON