Cuba outdoor rally (Photo courtesy Bright Hope International)
Cuba (BHI/MNN) ― Some 10,000 people attended Cuba's first evangelistic outdoor rally since the 1950s.
The event was held by Bright Hope International church partners in Santa Lucia's public square at the end of last month. It's an unlikely development in the Communist-run nation, especially with the government crackdown on evangelical churches.
As improbable as it sounds, the rally dovetails neatly with the reports of an impossible revival that has been building for nearly 15 years.
Exciting times are ahead. Bright Hope President and CEO C.H. Dyer says hundreds of people came forward to receive Christ at the meeting. The next day, he writes, "People brought their idols and smashed them to show their devotion to Christ alone."
In a country writhing in the throes of economic uncertainty, Dyer says the response was a timely encouragement for Christian workers. "Cuba has been under pressure and oppression. Matthew 16:18 comes to mind: 'On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.' God's mighty hand was upon our church partners."
When Bright Hope started serving Cuba over a decade ago, less than 1% of the island had an evangelical presence. However, by the fall of 2011, it was at 91%. Today, with Bright Hope's help, there's a pastoral network in place that supports church planters and offers leadership training.
Bright Hope has helped to rebuild churches, provide hundreds of bicycles for pastors, and supported pastor training workshops and evangelistic Christmas dinners that fed thousands. These holistic programs have created a solid base from which the church is set to explode when Cuba is opened.
Cuban church leaders are predicting that in the 9-18 month period after Cuba's political sanctions are lifted, thousands of people will be exposed to the Gospel for the first-time. Bright Hope is excited to continue building the local church in Cuba so that many more people will come to know Christ in the coming years.