Pendel Mission to Cuba – part one

image2The Salvation Army of Eastern PA and DE (Pendel) is in Cuba this week on a special mission – to renovate the Salvation Army of Cuba’s current headquarters facility into a guest house. The guest house will provide income for the Cuba division and fund the construction of a new divisional headquarters. Additionally the group is engaging Cubans with music and arts ministries, as well as conducting the Sunday Services at the Central Corps.

The Pendel division has given tremendous support financially to this effort, including:  donated linens for the guest house, laptops, instruments, uniform shirts/ties/socks, toiletries and assorted items which were stuffed in the luggage and horn cases!

Here are details of their journey so far:

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First Day at Clinic: Kindness & Compassion

I can’t help but feel humbled by the privilege I have to serve.

Dr. Polsley & Major Lavenbein with local woman and her baby seeking care at medical clinic

~Major Mig Lavenbein

Sunday, January 31, 2016 – we started our day by worshiping at the San Pedro Sul Corps (church). We were blessed abundantly as we were lead in worship by the youth of the church through singing, drama & interpretive dance. The people of the church welcomed the medical brigade “home,” and said that in the 16 years that they have been coming, it always feels like the family is complete when they arrive.

Following worship we quickly changed into casual clothes and ate lunch, and then set up our first medical clinic. No amount of words I write will be able to paint a picture worthy of our first day with patients at the clinic.

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Arrived in Honduras, Quite the Journey Already

Let us never grow tired of doing for others and serving God.

Captain Oman Rolon & Major Mig Lavenbein Arrived in Honduras Saturday night 1/30/16

~Major Migdalia Lavenbein

I’m finally here and boy what an adventure it has already been! You know it just couldn’t be simple when I’m involved. It has been quite the journey so far.

We arrived early Saturday to the airport with my 3 large suitcases, plus 1 carry on and my backpack. They tell you to arrive 3 hours prior to your flight for international flights. Imagine my shock when we arrive only to discover that the airline (no real names will be used to protect the identity of those parties involved) I’m traveling with doesn’t open for business until 4:30.

I walk up to the security check point line and it seems to wrap around about 100 times. It takes me about an hour to get through and not without complication.

I place all my items on the belt. I help the mom in front of me who forgets that she has items on the belt. My turn comes up and they trick me! They call me through – not to say you get to go on your merry way – but to say that I am about to get a pat down. I got a for real honest-to-goodness pat down. In. My. Uniform. I proceed through the remainder of the check point feeling slightly horrified, without a thank you. In fact I didn’t even know the agent’s name. When what to my wondering eyes do I see? My carry-on bag is missing!!! OMG…I think to myself, someone has taken my bag. Suddenly I hear a TSA officer say “miss, I’m going to have to search your bag.”

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Ready to Serve

Everyone can help someone, we just have to make a choice and decide to do something.

Mig Lavenbein
Major Migdalia Lavenbein

I am incredibly excited about departing for Honduras tomorrow. Many people have expressed concern over my mission trip to Honduras. People have shared that it’s dangerous. I’ve been told it’s the murder capital of the world. Several have encouraged me to “think” about not going since I have children. Yet here I am the night before excited to go.

I believe that happiness stems from serving those in need and we never have to look far to lift those who have fallen on hard times. We have to get past the stereotype of thinking that those in need are people on welfare who are strung out on drugs and can’t manage their lives. Sure there are some that fall in this category too but the reality is that those in need are our very neighbors who are the working class. Perhaps they have lost their job. Maybe they are going through chemotherapy. They may have experienced the death of a spouse or a child. Whatever their circumstances they now find that they have to make some tough choices. Do they pay the mortgage and keep a roof over their heads but have no food and no heat? Do they pay their car insurance and have no way to get to their job? No way to get to chemotherapy? There are no easy answers.

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