Cuba (MNN) — A historic thaw in tensions between the U.S. and Cuba is resulting in less travel and business restrictions.
“These are the most comprehensive expansion[s] in U.S. trade and investment regulations with Cuba in decades,” John Kavulich, head of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, told Reuters.
Though many missionaries are eager to bring Christ’s hope to the Communist nation, Faith Comes by Hearing’s Phil Kenney advises proceeding with caution.
“It’s important to realize that there IS a strong and vibrant Cuban Church,” says Kenney.
“Get to know leadership; get to know their heartbeat, their needs, and [then] figure out how to appropriately collaborate.”
Phil Kenney is FCBH’s Americas Regional Manager, overseeing ministry from Canada to Cape Horn.
Faith Comes by Hearing has been following the advice shared above for the past 15 years. They began working in the Communist nation after seeing its tremendous needs, but also its potential.
“We saw the need for the Cuban Church to have materials, especially the Word of God,” Kenney clarifies. “Responding to that need was how we started in Cuba.”
With help from partners in three nations, they’ve provided audio Bibles to believers in each of Cuba’s 15 provinces.
“We, specifically, provide audio Scriptures on a device called a Proclaimer: a solar-powered playback device,” says Kenney.
“At first, it seemed like it started out a little slow, but then some leadership changed, and about the last six years the impact has been phenomenal.”
The ministry also provides audio Scripture on mp3 CDs, along with training and encouragement workshops for the local Church.
In addition, Faith Comes by Hearing is “partnering with the Church to help them strategically plan how to reach Cuba with the Word of God.”
The evangelical Church in Cuba is vibrant, Kenney says, despite the government’s best efforts to repress it. They have not built any new church buildings since 1959, but their house church growth is up to 7,000.
Putting tools into the hands of the Body of Christ in Cuba is helping it grow even more.
“With the audio Scriptures, they’re able to evangelize and disciple their people,” Kenney explains.
With the resumption of diplomatic relations with the U.S., and Pope Francis’ visit, Cuba is more open to receive God’s Word than it has been in many years.
FCBH representatives who have worked there advise other ministries to do their homework and establish strong relationships in Cuba–which already has a strong and determined Church–before assessing its spiritual and practical needs.
“They want to impact the world and fulfill the Great Commission,” Kenney says of Cuban believers.
If God is calling you to Cuba, connect with FCBH by calling (800) 545-6552 and ask to speak with Phil Kenney. Or, click here to send FCBH an e-mail.
“We would be really receptive to…conversing and…share our experience, talk about some of the things we’ve learned, and try to connect people appropriately.”