Hope takes many forms—a smile, a laugh, the helping hand of a neighbor—but in Cuba, it takes the shape of a furry four-legged friend that shines opportunity on the community.
Like a growing light, a single act of generosity can cascade into more gifts that enable the church to provide food for the community as well as a variety of programs for families and children to walk in the light of Christ’s love.
In Camaguey, Cuba the effect of your generosity is just beginning to grow. There, in 2015, Pastor Aldo Gonzolez, his wife Arabella and their daughter Pastor Barbara envisioned a church owned goat farm that might support the mission and ministry of their local congregation and beyond.
Through the generosity of the Moravian Church in North America, land was purchased and cleared, a small home was built for the care taker and goats and other livestock were purchased. The three to five-year plan established by Pastor Aldo with the support of his faith community was for the farm to become self-sustaining using a portion of the profits to support the growing ministries of The Moravian Church in Cuba.
Milk, cheese, and other products from the farm began to find their way into the hands of children. Esther, the seven-year-old granddaughter of Pastor Aldo loves the goat milk. “I like the milk, and the cheese. I like sharing it with my friends. I like being at the farm with goats the best.”
Then, in the fall of 2017, hurricane Maria visited the farm. While the buildings and land sustained minimal damage, many of the livestock was lost. Pastor Aldo and his family never lost hope, preaching often about God’s vision for their community and assuring the people that, “God who began a good work will be faithful to complete it.”
But the story still didn’t end there. Members of the Eastern District Young Adult Camp Cuba Mission Team visited the farm and heard the story of struggle and hope. To bring the farm back to sustainability fifty goats were needed. Team members said, ‘we can do this’. Fifty goats at $20 per goat. Fifty goats for Cuba.
After discussion with the Eastern District Executive Board, an appeal was made and through the generosity of many in the Eastern District, the goal of fifty goats for Cuba was met and surpassed.
With great thanksgiving, your gifts provided 100 four legged friends as well as a new structure to house and protect the goats from the elements. But the story doesn’t end there.
Pastor Aldo and his daughter Pastor Barbara recently shared that the first farm sponsored outreach program for their congregation took place at the end of August. More than fifty children gathered for a week-long day camp at the Moravian Church in Camaguey. The program focused on the Fruit of the Spirit and provided breakfast and lunch for all participants with a side of goat’s milk of course, continuing a ripple of generosity that is just beginning.
Pastor Aldo and Pastor Barbara believe the people who donated goats have good hearts. “I would tell them that I am very grateful for what they have done — for the goats they have donated to the farm — because they have helped to improve the lives of many and strengthen the ministry of the Moravian Church in Cuba. Where we were in the past is no longer where we are today.”
Your willingness to share sits at the heart of who we are as Moravians and Christians. As people see your generosity working in their community it keeps growing, they feel loved and want to get involved too.
“If everyone exercises generosity, the whole community will come together around the love of Christ,” says Pastor Barbara. “Existing ministries will be strengthened, new ministries will be offered, and more people will feel the love of community.” Pastor Aldo says, “It’s very important to be generous because God said it in the Bible that you should love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Therefore, it is important to share with others. Thank you for sharing. We will continue to share too.”
When you choose to give a four-legged friend to the Moravian Church in Cuba, you probably never knew the ever-expanding impact you’d create. But that impact is rippling outward. The Moravian Church in Cuba can dare to dream, thanks to that simple act of generosity.
(Thank you to Sister Cynthia Rader-Geyer, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, for contributing this article)
Board of World Mission
Did you know that about 160 Honduran Moravian pastors, leaders and spouses met for four days in Brus Laguna, Honduras was organized by the board of the Honduras Unity Province and funded by local congregations? The BWM’s Director of Mission Outreach (Sam Gray) joined Bishop Evelio Romero, Rev. Ted Rivens and Pastor Juan Murillo to offer classes and workshops to the participants. Sam led two classes – one on “Unity” and one on “Autonomy.” Many pastor and leaders were responsible for leading devotions, evening worship services, Bible Studies, and periods of prayer and intercession. It was a blessing to be able to walk together with our Honduran sisters and brothers in this way. If you would like to learn more about the many ways the Board of World Mission is working with our Moravian Brothers and Sisters throughout the Unity, please visit us on Facebook, Instagram and at http://moravianmission.org/
Equipping the Saints Workshop Ephesians 4:12
- Does your congregation find it challenging to secure needed leadership for the various roles in your church?
- Do those currently serving feel fatigue in their role?
- Do you sometimes feel you are looking for “warm bodies” instead of servant leaders?
- Does it seem it is always the same people moving from one role to another?
A new process for inviting, supporting and equipping the saints will be shared through regional workshops for Pastors, Joint Board members, and other congregational leaders
- Ohio – Schoenbrunn Moravian Church – November 10, 2018
- Delaware Valley – Palmyra Moravian Church – November 17, 2018
- Metro NYC – John Hus Moravian Church – April 6, 2019
- Staten Island – Site TBD – April 13, 2019
All sites 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Cost: $10/person includes lunch at 1:00 p.m. following program
Register no later than 1 week prior to the event date (Registration forms available in the church office. Contact your pastor.)
Mon and Thurs, 6-9 pm
Nov 1 – 29, 2018
Bahnson Center or via Real-Time Distance Learning
Instructor: Rev. Maggie Wellert
For more information or to register:
Upcoming Camp Hope Events:
May 3-5, 2019, Confirmation Retreat at Camp Hope.
For info about these events call (908) 459-4435 or contact: [email protected]
Moravian Music Foundation Schedule of Events
Nov 13 Bach at Noon – A Cantata Series; The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, 12:10 p.m. – 1 p.m. Central Moravian Church, 73 West Church Street, Bethlehem, PA; 610-866-5661; Free, www.centralmoravianchurch.org www.bach.org
Nov 16 Mother Jones Brass Quintet Recital – Fundraiser for Moravian Music Foundation, Friday, November 16 at 7:00pm, Holy Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church, 604 4th St, Catasauqua, PA (610) 264-2641.
Dec 1 A Musical Christmas Extravaganza, Saturday, 1:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. Enjoy an 80-minute Christmas concert with The Mainstreet Brass, the Central Moravian Church Choir, and the glorious pipe organ. Admission is $15.
Dec. 4 A German and English Advent Singstunde in the Chapel, Central Moravian Church, 73 West Church Street, Bethlehem, PA; 610-866-5661; www.centralmoravianchurch.org Tuesday, 7 p.m. www.moravianchurcharchives.org for more information. Free; donations accepted.
Dec 5 Bethlehem Municipal Band Concert. Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Moravian Village, 526 Wood St, Bethlehem, PA. Free. http://cityband.org
MOD Hurricane Update
By September 18, hurricane Florence had moved north and dumped so much rain on New York City which caused basement flooding at Moravian Open Door (MOD). The Facility Manager’s apartment, storage rooms, the kitchen and common room, and all other basement areas have been off limits since cleanup began. While insurance will cover reimbursement for damaged goods and the work done for cleanup, it is not sufficient to cover all restoration costs as well. This will take some time and volunteer workers are needed to help. John Egerton, a member of the MOD Board, is leading the work to restore the walls. Anyone willing to help with the restoration should contact John, at: 610-217-0514 or by e-mail: [email protected] We also ask for prayers for the clients and staff at MOD who are enduring upset and limited facilities during this time. Please respond as you feel led, through prayers, financial support, and where possible, your time and talent.
Your Firm Foundation
The Moravian Ministries Foundation in America is YOUR foundation — governed by a Board of Trustees who are Moravians, just like you. They’re proven leaders from across our American Moravian communities and congregations.
Board Members from the Districts
Cheryl Weber is Board Vice Chair 2019. She is a life-long Moravian from the Western District of our Northern Province. She is a member at West Side Moravian Church in Green Bay, WI. She has served her congregation in many capacities, including the Board of Trustees. Cheryl and her husband Michael own Weber Wealth Management, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm. She previously worked at General Motors Acceptance Corp. Cheryl is the chair of JOSHUA (Justice Organization Sharing Hope and United for Action) Mental Health Task Force. She has also served on the boards for Brown County Board of Health and The Gathering Place, a peer-run recovery support center and advocate for mental health.
Cheryl has five children and 11 grandchildren. She also enjoys gardening, reading, and golf.
Keith Gohdes joins us from our Northern Province, Western District. He’s a life-long, fourth-generation Moravian from the congregation of Canaan Moravian Church in Davenport, North Dakota. He has served his congregation several terms as an Elder and has represented his congregation several times as Synod Delegate. He often fills in for the pastor when she is on vacation or at camp. Keith’s public service includes board experience in local government. He was School Board President and Township Chair. He was a high school economics teacher and coach for 40 years.
Keith raises cattle and serves as a crop adjuster. He’s married and has three grown daughters.
Larry Johnson joins us from our Northern Province. He has been a member of the congregation at Castleton Hill Moravian Church in Staten Island, New York for more than 40 years. Larry is President of the Moravian Cemetery of United Brethren Church (Castleton Hill). He has served as a member of both the Central Board of Trustees and Local Trustee Board at Castleton Hill Moravian Church during the last 35 years. Larry is a retired Director of Software Development from ADP/Broadridge Financial and Merrill Lynch.
Larry and his wife of 48 years have raised two daughters, both of whom are active in the Moravian Church. He enjoys golf, hockey, and all types of music.
New Item From IBOC!
The IBOC now has Moravian Image Notecards. These blank notecards are great for sending a thank you note or thinking of you greeting. Each set includes 12, 4-1/2” x 6-1/4” notecards. All six images were created by staff of the IBOC and Board of Cooperative Ministries. Envelopes included. • $14.00 per set
Also, the Daily Texts are coming in soon, so keep your eyes open for an update about your pending orders. If you have not ordered yours yet, log onto store.moravian.org or connect with Jill Bruckart at 610-867-0593 ext. 38.