The Martinez family came to Minnesota in July of 2014 as persecuted religious refugees from Cuba. They had been praying for the opportunity to come to America for many years, and believed that God had a plan for them. Their strong faith in The Lord has been part of their story, knowing God would be with them every step of the way, even before they left Cuba. A ministry friend in Cuba told Leo that there would be Christian people that would welcome and befriend them in America.
Upon arrival in Minnesota, they came under the care of Arrive Ministries. Our Refugee Life Ministries church team consisted of five couples from a Bible study group at Wooddale Church. We welcomed and befriended the family from their first day in Minnesota, and we have walked beside them for the past five years. We greeted them at the airport, provided them with their welcome pack and helped them furnish their apartment, get to appointments, prepare for school, provided music lessons, homework tutoring, and answered questions along the way, as they learned about Minnesota culture and customs. We have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and cheered their successes, and have prayed for them in their challenges. Their family has been a great blessing from The Lord to our group, and our newfound friendship has brought all of us great joy. We all admire their faith, courage and perseverance.
The Martinez family has adapted very well to life in Minnesota. We remember their ride from the airport, their questions about life here, helping them become accustomed to all of the products in the grocery stores, finding the right coffee pot for (Cuban) coffee, and their reactions to the relative abundance of products, compared to what they had been accustomed to.
Dad and mom have each been successfully employed, providing for the needs of the family, and both of the girls now have part time employment as well.
Their two daughters, Anna and Aimara have been in the Bloomington Public Schools, and have done well academically. Anna graduated from Bloomington Kennedy High School in June 2018 with honors, as a member of the National Honor Society.
She was awarded an ACT SIX Scholarship for four years to attend Bethany College in Mankato, Minnesota. She has worked tirelessly at her schoolwork, with the goal of attending college. We can only imagine the many opportunities the Lord has planned for her future.
The youngest daughter, Aimara is a Senior at Bloomington Kennedy High School. She has been working hard in school, working to get her driver’s license, and is looking forward to visiting her sister at college.
Anna shares her reflections on coming to the U.S:
“I can still remember the day before my family and I embarked on our journey coming to the United States. There were so many things on my mind, and I remember thinking ‘what will our lives be like in a few years?’ I now look back in time and I can’t believe how amazing God has been to us. Five years later, I am in college after having received a full-ride scholarship.
On my graduation day, my cap read:
Commit to The Lord all that you do and all your plans will succeed, Proverbs 16:3. We committed to God our journey from the beginning, we have committed to God our lives and future, and He has remained faithful,” said Anna.
“Our family grows speechless when it comes to expressing our gratitude to the wonderful and unconditionally supportive couples that have been with us since day one, as well as Arrive Ministries. We left so many family members and friends behind the day we left Cuba, but we have certainly found so much more here,” said Anna. “All I can say is, ‘To God be the glory for putting us here.’”