Elizabeth Bergeron is a woman on a mission, and she hopes the community will join her.
She was looking for an opportunity to be of service somewhere there wasn't help "already plugged in."
Bergeron's home church, which draws people from Lutz, Land O' Lakes and beyond, brought someone in her door recently that provided the answer.
Pastor Ariel Puga of Cuba was visiting a family that attends home church, and joined them for a Friday service one evening, she said. The evening's lesson gave way to conversation, and Bergeron found her calling.
Puga has a congregation of about 200 in his home country. They all pile into a small building each week for services, Bergeron said.
He expressed his desire to add 500 square feet to the building, and that's when it clicked that this was a cause she and other home church leaders could tackle with the skill sets they possess, Bergeron said.
That is the larger part of Bergeron's mission, which she will begin with an exploratory trip to Cuba on Oct. 13. But in the meantime, she also has set another goal: to raise money to buy bicycles for the families of Puga's congregation.
"It buys them as much freedom as I am capable of providing for them," Bergeron said.
A bike is passed down for generations, and can help breadwinners by providing transportation, Bergeron said. The average family earns $10 a month; a bicycle costs $125, she said.
Bergeron is collecting cash donations through Oct. 12, and already has received enough contributions to purchase nine bikes. She will take the collected funds to Cuba with her in October, and purchase the bikes there, she said.
The recipients of those bikes will be selected by Puga, based on need, Bergeron said.
Community is such an important part of the home church's ministry, and what's a better way to spread that message than to help a third-world country that is only a few hundred miles from home, Bergeron said.
For more information, email Bergeron at email@example.com. To donate, mail a check to 16619 Blenheim Drive, Lutz FL 33549.
The Bergeron's home church is not a nonprofit organization, therefore donations are not tax deductible, she said.
"We're just families helping families," she said.