I returned to Cuba last January to speak at a pastors conference in the City of Cienfuegos, as well as, preach in local churches. It amazes me to see the tremendous growth taking place among the Cuban Assemblies of God churches especially under Communism. The Cuban Constitution guarantees religious freedom on paper but is rather restrictive in practice. Yet the Cuban Pentecostal Church has grown from 300 in the mid 1980’s to 6000 plus local assemblies.
Their church buildings run from a simple room in a house to a plaster church sanctuary. They seem to have more members than seating. Many stand throughout the service or shift off with a family member for a few minutes on a chair. Their worship instruments are dated and worn but it doesn’t matter as the singing is explosive and passionate. When you preach they pull the word out of you like water from a sponge. Many hold their bibles like a prized possession not knowing how to find the text but are hungry for truth. And the altar times are charged with the presence of God.
Cuba’s illiteracy rate is 99.8 per cent. Things we take for granted like internet, less than 5 per cent of Cubans have internet access. Cell phones were not used until 2008 and Christmas wasn’t recognized as an official holiday until 1997. Believe me when I say, they have very few of the latest and greatest technical gadgets.
So I ask myself, “How it is possible that they can grow from a few hundred churches to thousands in 30 years without all the stuff?” The simple answer is, “When you don’t have all the stuff you just rely on the supernatural.” (Albeit there is nothing wrong with mixing the technology of the 21st century with the power of the 1st century.) “Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord.”