Source : The Voice of the Martyrs
This week I spoke with a Cuban church leader about the challenges and persecution being faced by our brothers and sisters in that island nation so close to our own border. Here are some highlights of our conversation:
Every block in every city in Cuba has a secret policeman whose job is to watch 24 hours a day and report anything unusual, illegal or questionable to the government.
After the revolution in 1959, 90% of the church buildings on the island were either destroyed or confiscated by the government. “But the church is not a building,” our pastor friend reminds us. The government of Fidel Castro promised to eliminate the church within 5-6 years after the revolution.
The government has literally printed a book which contains their plan for infiltrating and co-opting the church to bring it under the control of the communist government. Their plans include bribing pastors, sending women to seduce pastors, taking away the pastor’s children and other ways to compromise church leaders and control or discredit the church.
And yet our brothers and sisters say this: “We have no hate inside against the Cuban government. God has allowed us to love them.”
“The only arms we have are prayer and the knowledge that God will fight for us,” said this church leader.
According to this leader, from about 1995 to 2005, the government was more worried about large church gatherings and building churches, so they paid less attention to house churches. Their strategy failed, and house churches spread to every part of Cuba as thousands of Cubans came to Christ. One official recently told a pastor, “You guys [Christians] are moving to every town in Cuba!”
Because their tolerant approach to house churches backfired, the government has changed tactics to aggressively strike back against house churches. Christians have seen a marked increase in persecution during the past two years. Now government officials are threatening to enforce a law that allows the government to confiscate any house used for religious activities. In spite of the threat, house churches continue to meet for worship.
Other thoughts that he shared:
“The communist government has not been able to control or contain the church of Jesus Christ.”
“In the suffering—that is the best moment, the most fertile soil for God to work in us, to produce the best fruit. The sweetest honey is there.”
“I am convinced that there is nothing better for the church than to enter into suffering. That is where God creates anew.”
“Our sufferings are the school of God. That’s where Jesus graduated, where He set the standard.”
Please pray for the church in Cuba. Pray Christian leaders will stand strong in their faith, even as they face attacks and temptations. Pray Cuban government leaders will come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way. Jesus promised to build His church, and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. His words are coming true in Cuba today.
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