×
‘God’s time for Cuba’: churches multiplying
Baptist Press
December 13, 2010

‘God’s time for Cuba’: churches multiplying

‘God’s time for Cuba’: churches multiplying
Baptist Press
December 13, 2010

When Osvier Acosta Ferrero, 72, and Ricardo Tadeo Soria

Perez, 58, pedal down dirt roads on their bicycles, they’re not out for

exercise. They’re praying for Cubans who need Christ.

These Baptist men sing hymns as they cycle for miles,

traveling to rural communities to lead Bible studies. “If someday God sends us

to another country, we’ll go,” Osvier says.

“We have the joy of evangelization, always asking God for

wisdom, a love for people and the joy of proclaiming His Word.”

BP photo

One worker in Cuba’s spiritual harvest is retired Baptist pastor Victor Gonzalez, right, a 90-year-old widower. Last year Gonzalez made 2,640 home visits — all on foot — to share Christ with rural Cubans.

Their zeal is typical among Christians in Cuba who are

seeing one of the most rapid rates of church growth in the world.

How vast is that growth? Cuban Baptist churches numbered 210

in 1960. Over the next 30 years, that total increased to just 238. In the

1990s, a church-planting movement began sweeping the island nation; today,

there aren’t enough churches to hold all the believers.

The number of Cuban Baptist traditional churches, missions

and house churches exceeds 6,200. Some 5,600 of these congregations worship in

houses, garages, yards or on rooftops.

This remarkable growth has created a huge need for more

church leaders. To help meet that need, a team of International Mission Board

(IMB) missionaries travels periodically to the island to help Cuban Baptists

train leaders.

Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Cooperative

Program support this ministry.

“This is God’s time for Cuba,” one of the IMB missionaries

says. “Pray God will raise up church leaders for the harvest. Pray a sufficient

number of leaders will be trained.”

North Carolina Baptist Men are involved with Cuban Baptists,

building a retirement facility for pastors or their widows who have nowhere to

go when their active ministry is finished because they could never participate

in the government work and retirement program.

An estimated one of every five people in Cuba is involved in

music in some way.

When the Holy Spirit sparked the church-planting movement in

Cuba, many musicians began accepting Christ. In response, Cuban Baptists and

IMB missionaries developed several schools to teach musicians to grow as

disciples and to use their skills in leading worship. Today, there are more

than 50 of these schools. They train about 1,000 Cuban Baptists each year. Some

of these musicians even organize music mission trips across Cuba.

The schools also spurred a renewal of corporate worship,

which God is using to draw more people to Christ.

A special addition to that worship is the first Cuban

Baptist hymnal — Alabanza Cubana — published in 2005 with the help of several

IMB missionaries.

God also is at work among professional musicians. Many are

committing their lives to Christ and, in turn, finding creative ways to share

their faith with colleagues.

“It’s incredible what God is doing,” says an IMB missionary

working with musicians.

“There’s no telling where He’s going to go with all of

this.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering supplements

Cooperative Program giving to support more than 5,000 Southern Baptist

missionaries as they share the gospel overseas. This year’s offering goal is

$175 million. The focus is on celebrating what God has done in recent years, praising

Him for allowing Southern Baptists to be a part of His work, while emphasizing

that reaching those who remain untouched by the gospel is a doable task, but

these will be the hardest people groups to reach — requiring that believers

pray, go, partner and give as never before. To find resources to promote the offering in your church, go

to www.imb.org/offering.)