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Watsonopolis is a place where the Watson family posts their writing, reflections, images and videos.

Most of the stuff we post are our own thoughts, wonderings, and stories that emerge from our lives, our living, the world around us and the world within us.

You'll find us reflecting on our travels, our faith, justice, and what it means for us to live well in 21st century America. 

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Cuba: Remembering 70 years ago

70 years ago on the outskirts of Pinar del Rio, Cuba a Free Will Baptist seminary was founded by an American missionary and Lisa’s grandfather Benito Rodriguez.  To celebrate the occasion, ‘Papi’ was invited back to the seminary to mark the occasion and remind folks of things that otherwise would have been forgotten.  And that’s what we did last Wednesday.

For the week that surrounded the anniversary day, Lisa, the littlest princess and me – along with 12 other Rodriguez family members from Miami and Havana - gallivanted around Cuba soaking of the country, hearing stories from Cuba past and enjoying ourselves and one another as much as we could. 

There are lots of stories and hopefully over the coming days and weeks some of them will be shared.  But, perhaps the first one should be an old one. 

During the early seasons of the seminary, Papi was instrumental in getting the schools infrastructure in place.  Established in what was (and in many ways still is) a rural outskirt of Pinar del Rio city, the school needed wells dug, facilities built and training executed.  So that’s much of what Papi did.  He dug a well.  He erected a windmill.  And he built a house. 

It is an amazing feeling to stand in a house that was the home of your ancestors.  Being in the very house that Papi built for his wife and his children, a house that was the setting for family stories, the center of ministry and formative for how Papi & Abuela would pastor, parent and live out the life in front of them. 

While in the house, Lisa and the littlest princess stood in the very kitchen where Abuela would have surely cooked countless meals for other pastors, families and ministers.  I suspect in that kitchen Abuela cooked picadillo, arroz con pollo and flan.  Meals that Lisa cooks today from Abuela’s recipes passed down and perfected in that small kitchen outside of Pinar.  And more times than not, Lisa is cooking picadillo and flan and frijoles negros for a neighboring pastor, minister or family. 

Later in the evening, before the night got away from us - before we were pushed by the schedule of the anniversary or pulled by our own vacation itinerary the 3 Watsons prayed with Papi in the living room that he built.  We thanked God for the history of that place, the blessing of a geography and the tradition that continues today.  We expressed a deep gratitude that God has blessed not just a place but also a people.  The house continues to be a haven for a pastoring family.  And the faith that was built in that home was continuing through the builder’s granddaughter and we pray even to the great-granddaughter that was with us. 

In that living room, a room where many have undoubtedly prayed, we spoke our own prayers to a God who hears and acts.  We spoke to a God who heard the prayers of an Abuela before she was an Abuela.  We prayed to a Savior who was working through a Papi before he was a Papi.  And we delighted in a 70-year history that was more than a seminary, but was a celebration of God’s faithfulness to family, 70 years later, even to the littlest princess 4 generations later.

Reader Comments (1)

thank you for sharing...

March 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOlga

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