Cuba (MNN) — While human rights issues continue to be an issue in Cuba, Christians are seeing relative freedom.
Ken Leggatt with WorldServe Ministries just returned from that communist nation and says a camping ministry is doing well. "WorldServe's been working in Cuba on several different camping properties over the past year or so. Two of these are located in the Holguin Province. In one camp, 80 percent of the kids who attended became Christians."
With that kind of response, WorldServe wants to help Christian camping ministry. Leggatt says, "We were there to identify how we could help improve some of the facilities that have been damaged by last year's hurricanes."
WorldServe feels compelled to help because the camps can be used for "training conferences by the adults in the denomination, as a camping program for kids, and also as an outreach project."
One of the camps is actually on a farm, and the leadership is developing local farming opportunities to help the camp be self-sufficient.
However, that isn't in place yet. That's why WorldServe is supporting young people. "$5 will send a kid to camp for a day," says Leggatt. "That's to help subsidize some of the feeding expenses for the children who are camping as well as the transportation to get them there. Our goal over the next five years is to send 10,000 kids to camp, and we're looking at 1,000 in year one."
While there is relative religious freedom in most of the major cities, Leggatt says, "Some of the pastors are hassled. Churches are hassled, somewhat. There are some arbitrary enforcement of bylaws and different things that are singling out Christians."
One example is a student who is a gifted baseball player who had attended a specialized school for gifted athletes. Leggatt says, "He made a stand and said, 'I'm a Christian.' And the government came back and said, 'Because you're a Christian, we're not going to invest in the baseball program for you.'"
Leggatt continues, "While there might not be imprisonment for your faith, there's definite hardship when you do take a stand for your Christian faith in Cuba."
Despite that, the church is growing, says Leggatt. Today there are more than 18,000 churches. He says the country is still in the grips of God's revival.