Cuban Churches Thriving Despite Incredible Poverty
As relations between the United States and Cuba begin to thaw a surprising spiritual reality is emerging, the Cuban Church is thriving.
In the midst of opposition and incredible poverty, Cuban Baptists, Assemblies of God, and other denominations are reporting amazing growth in their churches throughout the country.
In the past 20 years, Baptist churches have grown from several hundred to more than 7,000. Assemblies of God churches that once numbered less than 100 members now have more than 10,000 church comers proclaiming the Gospel.
"The Church not only survived, but in the midst of those pressures and difficulties it grew. It grew solid," Cuban Pastor Moises De Prado said.
At the core of Cuba's church growth are house churches springing up across the island.
Back in the 1990s, the Cuban government told churches they could not build any new buildings. Consequently, church growth became very, very easy, as Christians simply began meeting in homes.
Surprisingly, many also believe that Cuba's poverty has fueled its church growth. With many Cubans existing on less than $30 a month, there's simply not the money to pursue entertainment, hobbies or other pursuits that would pull them from the Gospel.
"One church leader told me, 'That is one of the reasons that church members spend so much time in church activities. They can spend more time evangelizing their neighbors because they're not distracted by a lot of material goods," CBN News Producer Stan Jeter said.
Church leaders say one fruit of all this growth is an emerging missions movement in Cuba.
Hundreds of believers are considering or planning to head overseas as missionaries. Given their single-minded focus and long-term experience with hardship, they may be uniquely qualified to travel to new lands to spread the Gospel.