November 14 – November 16, 2018
Loews Hotel, Philadelphia, PA. Learn More »
February 10, 2016
From December 26, 2015-January 3, 2016, young adult leaders of BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz, la Fraternidad de Iglesias de Bautistas de Cuba (FIBAC), and the Alliance of Baptists met in Cuba and visited the churches and areas of ministry related to FIBAC. Through this trip, delegation members were able to develop friendships, nurture existing relationships, seek ways to work across cultures for justice for all of God’s creation, and empower young adults to become leaders in cross-cultural and international work in their broader faith community.
Below is a reflection from Anita Peebles, one of the Young Adult members of the trip. Click here for more reflections and photos.
Swimming in a tidal pool with a freshwater spring bubbling up from below, jumping off coral formations and telling family stories. Listening to reggaeton while sitting on the Malecon. Barefoot salsa dancing. Stories were shared about the struggles of being a gay man in a machismo culture. Translating jokes from Spanish into English and back again. Digging deep into theologies of peace and justice. Talking about learning to be an ally in the #blacklivesmatter and Standing Up for Racial Justice work in the USA. Praying and walking and singing and worshipping and loving together.
Visiting Cuba with young adults from BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz and the Fraternidad de Iglesias Bautistas de Cuba in late 2015 was a gift. Leaving my family at home in Michigan and traveling to the USA’s neighbor country at Christmas did not make me feel homesick because I learned that I felt at home in Havana, Matanzas and Santa Clara with our Cuban brothers and sisters. During the first three days, the group from BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz was welcomed with open arms at a retreat center in Guanabacoa. With Kim Christman and Nathan Watts’ gracious translation, we were able to communicate in two languages in a group of about 25 young people from the USA and Cuba. During daily seminars, we talked about the reality of life for young people in both nations, including the pressures facing young people through family, work, church, school and political engagement. In the afternoons, we visited local centers for justice and peacemaking, like the Martin Luther King Center in Havana. At night, we ate a lot, sang The Beatles around a campfire, and taught each other traditional dances from our countries.
Throughout the trip, it occurred to me that we were visiting friends, taking part in building the next generation of relationships within a decades-long story of connection between the Alliance of Baptists and FIBAC. BPFNA young adults shared stories of summer Peace Camps and “Prom for All;” field trips; workshop leaders; and laughing late into the night over karaoke.
Together with our Cuban friends, we shared our dreams of living and loving well in a world characterized by justice and peace. We breathed deep the breaths of life with the stars over the island and with our newfound siblings in Christ. When it came time to enter the Havana airport and begin our travels back to the United States, we hugged our friends close, promising we’d see them again soon. God willing, with some help, we will live up to that promise. ¡Miren que bueno, que bueno es!