Chowan University Students and Faculty Serve in Cuba, Leaving a Lasting Impact
From December 10th to 16th, a group of dedicated students and faculty from Chowan University embarked on a mission trip to Santiago de Cuba, where they selflessly served the local community. Led by Mari Wiles, this trip marked the first of three planned missions for the 2023-2024 year, showcasing Chowan University’s commitment to making a difference in the world.
During their week-long stay, Dr. Tom Collins, Jeanette Ahmes, Olivia Mock, and Rev. Mari Wiles engaged in various projects aimed at assisting the locals and providing much-needed support. Their efforts left a profound impact on both the volunteers and the community members they served.
Jeanette Ahmes, who graduated from Chowan University just this month, expressed her admiration for the faith and resilience of the Cuban people, stating, “The people here have also made me realize that it is not what you have; it is the faith you have. Having so little and still having faith in God and not giving up on him is remarkable, and they are an inspiration for me to live a more simpler life. To love God even though bad things might happen and because in those rocky valleys, a beautiful story comes out of that, and we will be better because of it.”
Olivia Mock, a first-year student participant, shared a powerful message she received during the nightly devotionals in Cuba. She said, “Every night in Cuba, all the missionaries gathered after dinner to have a devotional, and one message has really stuck with me, ‘Nothing plus God equals everything, but it also works the other way; everything minus God equals nothing.’ God is the source of happiness, joy, peace, holiness, life – He is everything. I will never be able to thank all the amazing people I met in Cuba enough for the lessons they have taught me and the godly family they have given me.”
This mission trip to Cuba is just the beginning of Chowan University’s commitment to serving others. The next planned trip will take place from March 3rd to 9th, 2024, in the Cajabamba region of Ecuador, where the team will assist with humanitarian aid and partner with NC CBF. The final trip is scheduled for May 5th to 12th, 2024, in Portland, Maine, where the team will collaborate with Preble Street to support individuals facing homelessness.
Chowan University continues to empower its students and faculty to make a positive impact on the world through service and compassion. The experiences gained during these mission trips not only shape the lives of those who participate but also foster a deeper understanding of the importance of giving back to communities in need.
Mari Wiles shared in reflection of the trip, “I am so very humble and proud to serve with our Chowan students. They were flexible servants that greeted everyone with grace and the love of Christ. Be sure to ask them how to make sugar cookies in Cuba! We thank our Chowan family for their prayers and support for all our efforts to be Gospel Global Citizens.”
We are thankful that our Mission Trip participants were able to travel safely ahead of this holiday season – they represent the university in a way that knows no bounds. We look forward to seeing all the joy they will experience in the upcoming year.