Cuba (MNN) — Recently, Cuba struggled through an economic crisis. This crisis put pressure on the local Church, especially when it came to believers already struggling with their own financial problems. Then, the country settled into an uneasy sense of normalcy. Even then, many Christians slipped through the cracks, struggling to find a place within a new Cuban society.
Then, the pandemic reached Cuba, bringing with it a whole new slew of problems.
Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs says the Cuban Church faces three primary problems.
1. Technology: In the United States and other parts of the world, a lack of in-person services meant a transition to online programming. But in many parts of Cuba, that’s not an option. “Very few people in Cuba have access to the internet,” Nettleton says. “Christians are really anxious and desperate to be back together and to meet together.”
2. Food: In some countries, local officials distribute food to economically struggling communities. But in Cuba, there is little aid to speak of. There is, however, a surplus of theft and violence, making resources even tougher to come by. Pray that locals will get access to essential supplies, especially food.
3. Persecution: In the middle of a pandemic, some local officials are using the crisis as an excuse to further harass pastors and leaders in the area. Some believers report officials barging into their home under the guise of safety checks, “But it was purely harassment. It wasn’t out of a concern for the wellbeing of the pastors.”
This last point is the continuation of a regular pattern in Cuba. According to Nettleton, the government sees “Christians as undermining their authority, undermining the government. Even a Christian journalist has been accused of disseminating enemy propaganda for posting what’s happening inside the country and what’s happening with the coronavirus.”
Pastors have felt pressure from officials and have been accused of various crimes. Christian media has been silenced in some places, and officials use every chance they get to suppress the Gospel in Cuba.
So pray. Pray that believers will find encouragement in each other, in the global Church, and in Christ. Pray that God will give them peace and discernment as they navigate these crises. Pray that God will protect them in their efforts to make His love known.
“Pray that they will soon be able to meet together again. There really is that need for fellowship and encouragement that comes as the body of Christ gathers together.”
Header photo courtesy of Unsplash.