Baptist workers experience ‘God’s time for Cuba’comment (0)
October 21, 2010
When Osvier Acosta Ferrero, 72, and Ricardo Tadeo Soria Perez, 58, peddle down dirt roads on their bicycles, they’re not out for exercise. They’re praying for Cubans who need Christ.
These Cuban Baptists sing hymns as they cycle for miles, traveling to rural communities to lead Bible studies. “If someday God sends us to another country, we’ll go,” Ferrero said. “We have the joy of evangelization, always asking God for wisdom, a love for people and the joy of proclaiming His Word.”
Their zeal is typical among Christians in Cuba, who are seeing one of the most rapid rates of church growth in the world.
How vast is that growth? Cuban Baptist churches numbered 210 in 1960. Over the next 30 years, that total increased to just 238. In the 1990s, a church-planting movement began sweeping the island nation; today, there aren’t enough churches to hold all the believers. The number of Cuban Baptist traditional churches, missions and house churches exceeds 6,200. Some 5,600 of these congregations worship in houses, garages, yards or on rooftops.
This remarkable growth has created a huge need for more church leaders. To help meet that need, a team of Southern Baptist representatives travels periodically to the island to help Cuban Baptists train leaders.
Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions support this ministry.
“This is God’s time for Cuba,” said one of the representatives. “Pray God will raise up church leaders for the harvest. Pray a sufficient number of leaders will be trained.”
God is already answering in amazing ways. One is through the training of worship leaders.
One out of every five people in Cuba is involved in music. When the Holy Spirit sparked that church-planting movement in Cuba, many musicians began accepting Christ. In response, Cuban Baptists and Southern Baptist representatives developed several schools to teach musicians to grow as disciples and to use their skills in leading worship.
Today, there are more than 50 of these schools. They train about 1,000 Cuban Baptists each year. Some of these musicians even organize music missions trips across Cuba.
The schools also spurred a renewal of corporate worship, which God is using to draw more people to Christ. A special addition to that worship is the first Cuban Baptist hymnal — “Alabanza Cubana” — published in 2005 with the help of several Southern Baptist representatives.
God also is at work among professional musicians. Many are committing their lives to Christ and, in turn, finding creative ways to share their faith with colleagues.
“It’s incredible what God is doing,” said a Southern Baptist representative working with musicians. “There’s no telling where He’s going to go with all of this.” (IMB)