Members of the 10 de Octubre Adventist Church in Ranchuelo, Villa Clara, in Cuba watch as family members cling to the casket where Kendry Díaz Negrín lies before his burial, on Aug. 26, 2020. Kendry, 16, was electrocuted by a downed powerline after Tropical Storm Laura knocked down trees, electric poles and scattered debris on Aug. 24. [Photo: Cuba Union]

August 31, 2020 | Havana, Cuba | Inter-American Division News Staff

Friends and members of the 10 de Octubre Adventist Church in Ranchuela, Villa Clara, in central are mourning the sudden loss of a 16-year-old member of the church’s Pathfinder Club on August 25. Kendry Diaz Negrin was walking through his neighborhood to see damage left by Tropical Storm Laura when he was electrocuted by a downed powerline. He died almost instantly, witnesses said.

The storm brought heavy rain and coastal flooding across Cuba, and knocked down trees and scattered debris on August 24. No other deaths among church members were reported.

“I never imagined I would face this situation and feel my heart so broken to see how death took one of our young people,” said Pastor Liván Hernández, youth ministries director for the church in the Villa Perla Mission.  “He was a happy young man, friendly, a lover of God’s creation, a strong faithful Pathfinder, a servant of God and a friend of humanity.”

Kendry Díaz Negrín, a 16-year-old Pathfinder Club member at his church in Ranchuelo, Villa, Clara, died on Aug. 25, 2020. [Photo: Courtesy of the Díaz Negrín Family]

Hernández recalled watching Kendry recently caressing a baby chick he had in his hand. “Our local field, and especially the 10 de Octubre Adventist Church, has shed tears,” said Pastor Hernandez. “But together with his family and friends we keep the faith of Jesus and the promise of eternal life.”

Kendry grew up in the Adventist Church and was an active participant in church activities and initiatives.

Pathfinder Club Director Enit Chamizo remembers him most as “el chino” as many affectionately called him. “He earned the affection of everyone around him from a young age with his friendly way of treating people,” she said. Chamizo still remembers Kendry singing about Jesus Soon Coming while dressed in his blue and white uniform, with his red scarf, while he was in the Adventurer Club. “At that time I was a pathfinder but when I graduated and was club director, he would always look for me to tie his scarf because he said that I made it look nice.” Chamizo remembers seeing Kendry always helping the children and making friends with anyone he met. “We will keep him in our hearts and on that glorious morning I know that I will meet him and he will lay his head on my shoulder as he used to do.”

Hundreds of church leaders and members, escorted by the Pathfinder Club, marched through the streets of the town after a funeral ceremony that lead to his burial site on Aug. 27.

Pathfinder Club Director Enit Chamizo (right) holds the flag as she and other club members march through the street escorting during the funeral procession en route to the cemetery in Ranchuelo, Villa Clara, Cuba, Aug. 26, 2020. [Photo: Cuba Union]

“Nothing like this had ever happened in this town before,” said Pastor Radamés  del Sol, executive secretary and treasurer for the church in the Villa Perla Mission.  “I saw more than 300 people, young people from church and from other denominations at the funeral service.”

Kendry Díaz Negrín is survived by his parents Ondrey and Yailén and his six-year-old brother.

Dayami Rodríguez contributed to this report

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