God is building the Church in Cuba
Preaching in 5th Baptist Church Santiago, a typical Cuban house-church
El Cristo Baptist Church 104 years and growing!
Boards from El Cristo Baptist Church built in Sept. 1908
Brothers and sisters from Cuba and Upper Merion PA
After so many months of sharing what I’d heard, read, or been told, I finally went to Cuba! What can I now say about Cuba that I couldn’t before?
The body of believers in Cuba is, in fact, alive and well and enthusiastically growing! As Cuba has changed in significant ways over the past 15 years, so has the church. Today, for countless reasons, Cubans are hungry for Christ and there is an explosion of church growth. During my visit to the Eastern Cuba Baptist Convention in February and March it became routine to hear church planting goals of 30 or 50 new congregations per year. Of the nearly 11.5 million people on the island, only about half a million are Christians. The Eastern Baptist Convention aims to be part of goal of 1 million Cubans for Christ by 2015. In the meantime, they are training over 200 missionaries and pastors each year to be part of this new church planting, evangelization and discipleship explosion. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen anything like this in my travels throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
While the people of God are alive and well, finding a suitable structure to worship in still has its challenges. Congregations generally meet in older structures dating back to the first half of the 1900’s, or in house-churches, which are in fact congregations that pack themselves into the pastor’s home several times a week for study, worship, and fellowship.[See house-church photo above]
For two days of my trip I was honored to work with a short-term mission team from Upper Merion Baptist Church as they helped to reconstruct the supports, walls, and roof of a 104-year old church built with the help of American Baptist missionaries in the early 1900’s. The project foreman discovered the writing of the original foreman dating back to 1908 on the boards that were being taken down. In some ways, Cuba is like that, like stepping back in history for a moment, but just as quickly, you find yourself sprinting toward the future at breakneck speed. [Photos of 104 year old El Cristo Baptist Church above]
As I continue to partner and work with the Eastern Cuba Baptist Convention and churches, I ask for your prayers as we explore how to best continue our 100+ mission partnership with renewed vision and direction. Our desire is to continue to faithfully partner in leader training, and now, with so many churches and missions being planted, more leaders are critically needed.
Want to know more about Cuba? Are you and your church interested in partnering with a sister church in Cuba? Making a short-term mission trip? Feel free to send a secure email through my missionary webpage and let me know.
Together on the journey,
Kim Kushner Dominguez