In recent years persecution of Christians in Cuba has not been as explicit and open as in the past, but rather implicit and subtle. The ratio of house churches to those with dedicated buildings are a reflection of this. There are reportedly nearly 5,000 house churches among the different Baptist groups on the island, which is also an indication of a revival taking place among believers who have been actively sharing their faith in spite of the government’s repressive attitude towards churches. These churches are not so much “underground” any more, as in meeting in secret, but rather unmarked, in order to avoid extra scrutiny by the government.
The churches in Cuba have many needs. There is a lack of Christian literature and Bibles because there are no Christian bookstores in Cuba. Several printing projects are underway including one of our own through sources that are somewhat “underground.” There is a lack of training for many pastors of house churches. Several missionaries including myself have been involved in helping train national pastors during our trips to Cuba. There is also a need for various items that we take for granted. As an example, a common request I receive from Cuban pastors when preparing for a trip is for disposable communion cups, which they reuse.
Two things happened in 2016 that are promising to have an impact on the evangelization of Cuba: (1) Inexpensive regularly scheduled airline flights from the United States to Cuba have resumed after many decades, and (2) Dictator Fidel Castro has died. Castro’s death was so recent and with power remaining in his family it remains to be seen exactly how it will affect mission work, but there is hope that with time missionaries may be allowed to remain on a more permanent basis.
The mission field of Cuba has also come to America. With their population nearing 1.5 million, there are now more people of Cuban origin in Florida than in any given province in Cuba outside of Havana province. Many amusingly refer to Florida as “Cuba #2.”
After serving the Lord in Puerto Rico for eleven years while patiently waiting for doors to open wider in Cuba, we are planning to relocate to Florida at the end of this year after raising more support. We will be involving in assisting in church planting efforts among the Cubans in Florida while making more frequent ministry trips to Cuba. Please pray as we prepare our hearts to go be a blessing to fellow Cuban believers and for the Cubans among whom we will serve both in Cuba and in Florida, that the Lord might prepare their hearts to hear and receive the Gospel with understanding.
To schedule Brother George to speak in your church, he can be reached at 787-505-3062.