With a population of 11 million, many of which are living in poverty, the need for hope is great. The US trade embargo, devastating hurricanes, repressive centralized socialist planning, corruption, and poor productivity hamper progress. The average salary for workers is only $40 a month.
Catholicism was the default religion before the revolution. Although the majority still confess Catholicism, huge swathes of the church are rife with syncretism; it is often hard to tell where Catholicism ends and Afro-Cuban Spiritism begins. The Cuban Council of Churches is the Protestant umbrella body sanctioned by the regime. It endorses an expression of faith more in keeping with the revolutionary ideals of the regime, including liberation theology.
Opposition and hostility toward the Church has refined it, causing believers to depend radically upon God, strengthening their prayer life (individually and corporately) and encouraging unity of the Body of Christ. Persecution of Christians, more severe in the past, continues in the form of harassment and discrimination including occasional imprisonment of leaders. Following Jesus remains a sacrificial choice while the regime fears the Church as a social movement like that which undermined Communism in Eastern Europe. The government has tried to strangle Christian growth by making it nearly impossible economically to build new churches; the resulting house church movement has proved even more fruitful!
Leadership for the churches in Cuba is an urgent need. Many fled or were expelled following the revolution. Praise God for those who stood firm and were trained in the school of suffering. With only two seminaries in Cuba, our intensive training modules have provided a creative way of providing much needed training.
We have seen God do astounding things through our church planters since 2010.Currently we are seeing an average of 100 new church plants each month! The average size of a church in Cuba is 150 members, so we are seeing thousands saved on a monthly basis. World Link Ministries has three pastoral training centers…Bayamo, Placetas, and Havana, with 625 active church planters faithfully taking the Gospel from one end of the island to the other. In our 18 years of work in Cuba, we’ve seen 12,000 churches planted and just over 1 million people evangelized.