Cuban leader Raúl Castro was a Jesuit schoolboy before turning to communism, and after a lengthy meeting with Pope Francis in May, he told Vatican reporters he was so impressed he was considering a return to the church. They laughed. “I’m serious,” said Castro, 84. If so, he would not be the first Cuban in recent years to find his way back to Jesus.
The island has experienced a religious revival in the past 25 years. But while Catholic leaders are trying to win them back with an institutional resurgence, spearheaded by Pope Francis, evangelical Christians are going into the streets to do it. “We are living in a society that has lost its values,” said Yoel Guevara, a 32-year-old evangelical pastor. “Christ gives them back.”
Hundreds if not thousands of tiny churches have popped up in Cubans’ living rooms, resisting official attempts to organise them. Guevara’s group is affiliated with Victory Outreach International, a Pentecostal order founded on the streets of Los Angeles that is known for evangelising among addicts, inmates and the homeless.
In Cuba, the group has no church, but Cuban authorities allow them to congregate Sunday mornings for worship along Havana’s Malecón seawall. They bring their own generator to power the microphone and the speakers, attracting hundreds. Evangelical Christianity has made inroads especially in poorer eastern Cuba, and among migrants from rural Cuba who arrive in Havana and find community through the church’s open doors and animated style of worship.
Source: Guardian Weekly; Washington Post
Bible Study: Matthew 13:31-32
PRAISE God that there is hunger for God in Cuba. Pray that, as relations with the US are normalised, there may be many opportunities for the Gospel.