Cuba (MNN) ― Persecution remains high in Cuba, though unconventionally.
"In Cuba, it is different than in some other areas," says Ken Leggatt of World Serve Ministries. "Pastors aren't arrested typically, or beaten, or persecuted in that type of manner. It's more the situation where the government enforces laws that are on the books for everybody, but with the tendency towards punishing or using them to annoy or create hardships to Christians."
An examples of this is a law where everyone was told they had to buy a new refrigerator. Citizens were allowed to take out loans to buy the refrigerators, but church planters and Christians were prohibited from getting loans. Many similar cases have made life difficult for believers in the communist country.
Natives to Cuba are mostly open to the Gospel. Leggatt says one missionary family had 50 people attending their house church within six months of living in one Cuban city. Churches are getting excited to start new projects, including several building projects with World Serve.
"We're looking at doing several conference centers, or training centers, throughout the island--up to four in fact--where we will be able to conduct leadership and mentorship programs, discipleship programs, and even some youth camps," says Leggatt. "So we're working towards strategizing with the church there about how we can best come alongside them and assist them and support what they're already doing, but to do it even more effectively."
The seeming animosity toward believers from the government, however, may cause problems for World Serve's building endeavors. Building permits can be difficult to procure for Christian projects. Other obstacles include funding, which will be particularly difficult since fall hurricanes flattened much of the island.
"Bags of concrete even are horrendously expensive," explains Leggatt. "I believe the cost was 20 CUC, which is about 20 US dollars for a bag of concrete. It's prohibitive to build just due to funds. "
Plans for the centers will continue, however. There is certainly a spiritual need in Cuba and many who are ready to respond. In order to leap obstacles, however, help will be necessary.
Pray that the hearts of government leaders would be softened so permits might be provided for these centers. Pray also that funding would come in to support the believers and churches in Cuba that are working hard to spread the love of Christ with few resources.
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