Seminole Heights visits sister church in Cuba

The women from Seminole Heights shared worship with the Methodist Church in Rio Cauto.


When Rev. Tiffania Willetts became pastor of Seminole Heights United Methodist Church in Tampa a year ago, she learned about its sister church, Rio Cauto Methodist Church, located in a remote Cuban city of 47,000 people.

The team participated in their Vacation Bible School.

​Rev. Willetts and her sister, Isabel Willetts, along with fellow church member Paige Carlson, flew to Cuba over the summer, then rode for two hours on a seriously bumpy road to meet members of their sister church.

“The churches in Cuba really appreciate having folks visit, even if other times you are sending money and emails,” Willetts said. “They appreciate that personal relationship.”

Before the three made the trek, church members prayed over their trip and collected clothes, shoes, medicines and supplies to send along for vacation bible school.

“A lot of the supplies were for VBS, and they did a weekend VBS we were able to be a part of. We brought clown outfits, which are really popular in Cuba. It is like a bounce house is here,” Willetts said.

The missioners visited other churches and missions nearby.

“They really appreciated that and just the colored pencils and paper and other arts and crafts supplies.”

The church’s pastor knows all the children that attend the VBS and made clothing and shoes packets for each child to take home.

Bay Hope UMC in Lutz, which makes regular mission trips to Cuba, donated the children’s clothes and shoes for the trip, after collecting excess for one of its own mission trips.

The tiny church in Cuba has about 100 people who regularly attend on Sundays. That is almost double what the attendance was five years ago, Willetts said.

The women from Seminole Heights enjoyed a Wednesday night worship service with them and worshiped at another nearby Methodist church.

Willetts said her church plans make another trip to Cuba in the fall.

—Yvette C. Hammett is a freelance writer based in Valrico.



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