Cuba (MNN) — Yesterday, the remains of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro began a four-day processional to his final resting place in Santiago de Cuba. The parade is dubbed the “caravan of freedom” — an ironic moniker since, according to The Washington Post, Mr. Castro could be considered an oppressive leader who banned free speech, free press, and freedom of assembly.
So why is he being celebrated? Steve Shantz with Trans World Radio says praise for Castro in Cuba sort of comes with the territory.
“I was in Cuba not long ago and Fidel Castro was such an iconic leader in that country, I mean, you could just feel his presence when you come into Cuba. Of course he’s on posters and billboards, so you’re constantly reminded about this bushy-bearded, military figure, but he was a very imposing leader and I think very much in the hearts and the minds of the Cuban people.”
Now that the larger-than-life dictator is dead, it leaves behind several questions.
“It’s very difficult to predict what’s going to happen. I’ve heard it said from some people in Cuba that the things Fidel Castro put into place are going to carry on for many years moving forward. That’s one possibility. But I think though a lot of people are thinking what’s the political situation going to be, and what is it going to do for the economy and for commerce with Cuba?”
Cuban Christians especially are wondering what’s next for their country. Shantz says, for Trans World Radio, it means the advancement of the Gospel in Cuba is just as important now as ever.
“For Trans World Radio, what we’re thinking of is…this is a time really to present to the people of Cuba a greater need, which is Jesus Christ. More than politics, more than economics, people need the Lord and they need Jesus. This is an opportunity and a time for us to really speak the message of the Gospel to the people of Cuba to give them hope in Christ for whatever lies in their path for the days ahead.”
And their ministry has some of the best outreach tools when it comes to sending out the Gospel across a wide expanse. “We broadcast from the island of Bonaire into Cuba, which we’ve been doing now for nearly half a century. We feel that radio now more than ever is a very important tool in bringing the message of hope to the Cuban people.”
As for the Body of Christ already in Cuba, it is growing. But such fast expansion in the Church there is causing a unique problem. There aren’t enough trained Christian leaders and pastors to disciple new believers.
“That’s something we’re trying to address in Trans World Radio by blanketing Cuba with a much stronger radio signal. We have been broadcasting for many years, but just the way modern technology has introduced a lot of environmental noise into the radio reception world, it’s harder to get a good signal into Cuba with our existing setup.”
Shantz explains, “We have a project underway right now which we’re about 80 percent complete on, and that is to raise our power from 100,000 watts to 450,000 watts and also put in a more efficient antenna system that can really beam and focus the energy onto the island of Cuba. So we hope that very shortly we’ll be able to go on the air with a brand new transmitter at 450,000 watts and be able to really put a powerful signal into Cuba so on a daily basis people can turn on their radio and hear good, Christian programming and sound biblical teaching that can have a strong input into their lives.”
To complete this project, TWR needs to raise a total of $3.8 million. There are a few ways you can help! Click here to learn more about TWR’s Bonaire Power Up Project and consider supporting this ministry to get the Gospel on stronger radio waves.
And, most of all, please pray for ministry in Cuba. Pray that God would raise up church leaders and pastors trained in His Word and able to disciple new believers in Cuba.
Pray that through radio broadcast, the Gospel message would change hearts and encourage Christians in their faith journeys with Christ.