“What we had in Cuba was a very difficult time for the church. We have had almost thirty years suffering discrimination for our faith in Jesus Christ,” said Pastor Victor Gonzalez, director of the Cuban Baptist Convention. This is changing. Today, an ordinary Cuban cannot change his job without government permission and an unauthorized Internet connection can land you in jail. The government owns almost all businesses and the average salary is about fifteen dollars a month. The changes come slowly to a country so controlled, but are coming, some would say, out of necessity.”
“It is surprising how little has changed here in the centre of Havana since the beginning of the embargo in the 60′s. But there is an area where there have been recent changes, and it is in the area of religious freedom, something surprising for a socialist country,” said Chuck Holton, in Havana, Cuba.
Recent years have seen quite dramatic changes in fact. “I think the Cuban government believes that the Gospel is good for the nation of Cuba. And for that reason they are asking the church to help the Cuban government to restore the great value of the family,” added Pastor Gonzalez. In previous years, being a Christian would guarantee a hard life. The persecution was common, and church leaders were imprisoned or had to flee the country. These attitudes began to change in 2009 under President Raul Castro.
“In three years, our church went from 12 prayer groups to 103. Some years ago it was not possible, but now it is thanks to a miracle of God, because I think it’s God’s time for Cuba,” said Annette Gonzalez. “Time ago everything was rigidly set and we did not think they could be changed, but we are now seeing the rainy season, a time of visitation,” said Pastor Julio. The church also is coming to public schools, where they have permission to instruct children in basic moral principles, which today is not even permitted in the United States.
Some Cubans say the government allows this for financial reasons, because it saves money when the church implements social programmes, but these Christians see that there are deeper reasons. ”In many places we are welcomed because we have a message of love and peace. A message for people to be restored and healed,” concluded one of the religious leaders. “They congratulated us for the work we did there. All the children received the Lord, “added one of the pastors of the place. We need Bibles to give them… the church is growing very fast and we don’t have enough materials.” Christians in Cuba are doing everything possible to take advantage of their new freedoms and take the Gospel to the whole country.
Source: Armonia Chile
BIBLE STUDY: James 1:22-25
Day 15 – PRAISE: God for the new found freedoms, the many conversions and growth of the church
Day 16 – PRAY: For trained leaders for the future and the necessary materials, especially Bibles.