The islands have always had a special charm. The sea breeze, the warmth of its beaches, the affection of its people.
Cuba does not escape these characteristics. Surrounded by incredible myths and stories. Full of different ideas and the nostalgia of its inhabitants who had to leave. As if stopped in time, for those who are urged by time to pass.
But not for children. For them life has the same challenges, colors and charms as in any other part of the world.
As if for them lines do not exist, only those drawn in the heart.
Together with 16 volunteers and a lot of expectation, Smiles arrived on the island to draw in the hearts of hundreds of children, colors of hope.
During the day, Vacation Bible School attracted more than 200 children to the churches, where games, crafts and music were mixed with surprised faces when they saw Sammy, the clown, teaching them that there is a God who loves and cares for them.
I am special, was the echo of each of the workshops. No matter where we are, God always has a way to write your story, concluded the teacher Axara with the stories that came to life in her eyes that devoured the books like candy from the neighborhoods.
Among papers, instruments improvised with cups and beans, teacher Gretel transformed the feelings of the children into music, and recorded in their fragile but absorbing minds each one of the most precious truths they could hear: I have a purpose in this life, God has made me a warrior of God and will fill my life with strength to win.
In the evenings a public evangelism program was developed.Three churches were revolutionized by the energy and desire of young preachers who impacted the community with the word of God, as well as with basic necessities. More than 400 baskets with basic necessities were distributed to families who were able to see how God works miracles through human beings as instruments in His hands.
And of course the children returned at night. So the week was complete for them.In the mornings and evenings they enjoyed the program, God blessed with more than 70 baptisms, an attendance per night of 350 people, it was truly a spiritual feast.
An orphanage for children with special needs, mentions the doctor who accompanied us on the runs. -Can we go? It's right around the time when we celebrate birthdays. With chocolate biscuit, lemonade, Sammy the clown and a smile from ear to ear, we arrived ... to a place not imagined, forgotten by all, but not by the 4 volunteer parents who work there, with no budget, but with all the favor of heaven.
Laughter could be heard from across the street. It was not for less, someone remembered that I live and that it has been a year that I am in this place. Happy birthday!!!! The song and the visit ended, but not the joy of seeing in the smile of the children, a glimmer of hope.
These were 7 intense days, but not of work - although between heat, walks, runs and games I think we did a lot of intense exercise because God always surprises us, he puts us in situations that we could not solve if it were not for his intervention (¿will the toys arrive, will we have enough food, will the children arrive with this rain?, you will understand what I am telling you).
Once we learned that, when God puts the task on us, He takes care of providing the how; that is another story that will remain in our memory.
And we had to leave, each one to his country, his home, his city. Thinking. Reliving what had happened sitting in the airport on the way home.
Only one thing I could repeat looking out the window watching my plane to open the doors for people to board: I don't know what our life would be like without the opportunity to draw smiles.
But this is something I can't tell you. You have to live it. Be part of the team that draws smiles on our children's faces.
Smiles, We are more than just smiles. We change lives.
- Gustavo Squarzon, Founder.