When you visit Brooks-Howell, you never know who you might bump into. United Methodist Women, family members, friends and church family are typically in and out each day.
Every so often, though, you might just have the opportunity to meet guests of our residents–guests who are serving as mission service personnel overseas.
Recently, Fletcher introduced us to two such visitors. Dr. Leonardo Garcia and his wife, Dr. Cleivy Benitez Rivolta, clergy missionaries from Cuba serving at Quessua UMC in Angola, Africa.
Fletcher met Cleivy and Leo while he was serving as clergy in Cuba. They joined us for lunch and afternoon conversation about their mission field. Fletcher served as a clergy with Cleivy and Leo in Cuba. Even when the couple moved to Africa and Fletcher to Brooks-Howell, they have kept in touch through technology.
Leo and Cleivy were initially invited to East Angola for one year to oversee the orphanage, teach at the seminary, pastor the church, and serve as United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinators (UMVIM).
“We started with 15 children from our orphanage in our weekly Sunday school. It became a time to provide children a healthy meal, spiritual formation and a safe place to be. Now we have more than 1,000 children coming from various places to various locations. As they age into young adulthood, we are training them to be teachers with us,” Cleivy shares as she eats lunch with some of our residents.
Fletcher sings their praises as he adds, “Cleivy and Leo oversee the church, the orphanage and work at the seminary too. What DON’T they do!?”
After lunch, Cleivy and Leo offered residents and staff an opportunity to join them in the Media Room to hear more about their ministry in East Angola. Their orphanage is actually located near the first United Methodist Church established in that region.
When asked how long they are consider staying, Leo notes, “We were asked to go for one year, and now we have been appointed there for five. We will stay while we are needed.”
We are so grateful to Leo and Cleivy for taking the time to connect with Fletcher and our community here at Brooks-Howell. We will hold their journey and their ministries in our prayers.
You may read more about Leo and Cleivy here.