Water’s Edge makes church plant in Cuba


After three years of supporting missionary efforts in Cuba, Omaha Water’s Edge UMC has funded a church plant in the country.

The Rev. Craig Finnestad, Water’s Edge senior pastor, said that since churches are not permitted to be built in Cuba, the ministry will be working from an existing building that will also include a laundromat.

The church is on Isla de la Juventud, a small island south of the main island, which includes Havana.

Finnestad has been in contact with Cuban pastor Leandro Perez since 2019.

“I’d been working with him on leadership structure,” he said.

With its 2019 Christmas offering, Water’s Edge purchased 13 bicycles for the missionaries of the church to travel. During COVID, the church purchased a supply of rice and beans during a shortage in Cuba, as well as cameras and audio equipment so it could continue its online ministry.

The church has already had outreach to Uganda and Belize with medical missions and Nicaragua with water, Finnestad said, but this is the first time it has worked to plant a church. He would not disclose the price, but said it was less than would be paid for a house on the island.

Finnestad expects the church to be operational by the spring. Fundraising will continue with plans for further ministries in Cuba.

“People here are very excited about it,” Finnestad said.