With new freedoms, Cuban church is flourishing

By June 25, 2010

Cuba (MNN) — Though many restrictions have been lifted for
Cubans, and they have more freedoms (religious and otherwise) than in past
years, the government still places limitations on Christians. However, this has
not stopped the church from growing and thriving in the past 15 to 20 years,
according to John Dyck, WorldServe Ministries field director for Cuba.

For example, the Cuban government will not allow the construction
of new church buildings. Christians, therefore, meet in house churches. And though Dyck
said no more than 15 people are legally allowed to meet together for house
church, he has seen as many as 200 people packed into a house to worship.

As the church booms, lack of funds and proper training limit
them from doing all they want to do. WorldServe steps in to fill in the
gaps and empower church workers: "Driving what WorldServe specifically
does in Cuba is the fact that we believe that it should be Cubans who are
reaching other Cubans for Jesus Christ," Dyck said.

Dyck calls WorldServe a "contact point," as they connect
North American ministries with the work already taking place in Cuba. This partnership
enables the Cuban church to have the maximum impact, as well as allows North
American ministries to help where needed most.

One specific partner is Christian Camping International, which
is "an
alliance of 18 associations whose leaders serve the Christian camping movement
and impact 12 million campers each year," according to their Web site.

WorldServe partners with them in children's ministry. Dyck said Cubans
place a high value on children's ministry: "The Cuban
churches already are very tuned in to the fact that children's ministry is a
great window of opportunity to reach homes which otherwise may not be

When working with children, not only are workers sharing
Christ in creative ways, they are also altering the future of communities throughout
Cuba, as children bring what they learn back to their parents. With each child's
decisions for Christ, their life outlook changes, which will influence his or
her career and social choices in the future.

But these excited kids are not the only ones turning to
Christ: "The conversions that they are seeing among children are huge,"
Dyck said. "But even more than that, … there's a hunger among the parents to
find something that works for their family."

At one children's outreach organized by a WorldServe
Canadian partner, Dyck said around 150 kids showed up, as well as 80 parents.

You can help WorldServe in one of three ways as they empower the kids, families
and communities of Cuba. First, you can donate to
provide the funds and training needed for church workers and planters by
visiting worldserve.org. You can also help their partners, Christian Camping
International, at their Web site.

Secondly, you can pray for the work taking place in Cuba. Pray
for believers to spread Christ's love freely, regardless of the restrictions
placed on them.

Finally, though Americans are restricted from Cuba, if you
are from Canada or elsewhere, you can visit Cuba and see the incredible work
taking place there.

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