A Vibrant, Thriving Church in Cuba
“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off.” —Jeremiah 31:10a
God’s protection of His Church in the face of persecution plus the “stubborn commitment” of believers to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus in Cuba has produced a vibrant, thriving Church. Christians there are serious about obeying Jesus when it comes to sharing their faith. Years of threatening has not swayed either church leadership or church members, who believe it is necessary “to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
The story and observations of Israel, a young Cuban believer, are both humbling and emboldening. Israel’s family was part of a church still open after the communist revolution in 1959. His parents had always said that the biggest aspiration they had in life for their children was that they serve the Lord, “even if it is sweeping with a broom at church.” They encouraged them to prepare themselves to serve.
Israel remembers being told repeatedly in school that the Church would disappear in a few years. “But God—our God of circumstances—knew better, and used all of the contradictions in the process to produce a thriving Church,” writes Israel. After earning a degree in computer science, he found work in the audiovisuals department of the headquarters of the Assemblies of God in Cuba. He also began to volunteer with an evangelism program called “The Hour of the Light.”
As his involvement with The Hour of the Light grew, Israel began to realize that “the most relevant thing you can possibly do in your lifetime is to reach as many people as you can with the gospel.”
Today The Hour of the Light is associated with more than 2,000 churches throughout the island—to distribute evangelistic literature for the nation’s homes, hospitals, and prisons. Carried out door by door, it is a strategic effort to present the plan of salvation to every Cuban home.
World Missionary Press has been a part of this work since 2010.
“The quality of the contents and the Scripture-centered production of WMP have been a blessing in many ways. They allowed us to use it among different denominations without any problem, and titles such as The Way to God were easily used to instruct local Christians to share their faith. Every month 400 to 500 churches (out of a pool of more than 2000) notify us that they are going home to home in their communities. Three to four thousand volunteer workers go to the homes, hospitals, and prisons, to share the gospel and to present a booklet or other gospel-related literature…. From the time we make the literature available at the local distribution points (a total of 40), a shipment of 400,000 booklets would last one month in stock before reaching a Cuban home or national. It would be a dream come true—or more precisely, an answer to our prayers—if we could see at least 1.2 million booklets reach our warehouse one time every year.”
In a recent meeting with local officials regarding plans for an organized outreach in a local community park consecrated to an African deity, an official remarked, “We know that the reason for the existence of the church is to pray and to evangelize. We do not have any problem if you continue to do what you do home to home. If the people there want to receive you, that is up to them. But the public spaces belong to the revolution.” Israel added, “Hallelujah! Although we can acknowledge the insistence in limiting the influence of Christianity to the public, we certainly rejoice for this open door in our nation.”
WMP’s A Bible Study of Romans is “a great tool that helps us to equip those who are willing to ‘stay’ to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2, Colossians 1:28) until faith is confirmed. To the Glory of God, we have seen more than 20,000 new believers baptized almost every year.”
One example of a life transformed is that of an 18-year-old girl, sexually abused during a childhood away from her parents. “I became a rebellious, problematic, authoritarian person, full of complexes and feelings of inferiority. I felt rejection even by the closest people around me.” One day she was given two booklets, including The Way to God, by someone who told her he believed that one day she would receive Christ in her heart. “I turned my back on him and left.”
But the girl did end up surrendering to the Lord. “I have forgiven my mother for having abandoned me so much,…and I wish with all my heart to bring the word of truth to those who are full of hatred and resentment. Christ changed my life and I will live for Him.”
In November 2016, Israel was invited to be part of the international leadership team for Every Home for Christ, as Regional Director for Latin America. “It is an honor and privilege to serve Him among so many precious, loving, and truly committed brothers and sisters in the region, with the unique purpose of reaching every home with a face-to-face gospel presentation, leaving a printed copy of His message behind. I have to declare that we cannot do what we do without the friendly hand of a ministry like World Missionary Press.”
“WMP literature has come to meet the hunger and thirst of so many Cuban souls in need of Jesus. Many embrace the faith, reach the baptismal waters, and continue the path of new life in Christ. I invite you today to rejoice with Jesus for this outcome, and to continue to press on until the last home on earth has heard His message. ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come’ (Matthew 24:14 NASB).”
[YOU can help supply powerful Scripture booklets for Cuba, Latin America, and around the world. A gift of $50 will provide for the production of 1,300 Scripture booklets; $200 will help produce more than 5,000 booklets!]
“Our theme was God’s Word”
“We are excited to share with you that for our VBS 2018 we chose our missionary project to be World Missionary Press. Our theme was God’s Word, and supporting the work of your organization that prints and distributes God’s Word fit perfectly. Enclosed is a check for the entire offering….”
“They shared God’s love through the Scripture booklet”
“In Bohol (Philippines), Pastora D.’s group chanced upon a paralyzed woman who believed that God didn’t hear her prayers. They shared God’s love through the World Missionary Press Scripture booklet. She understood and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour! Praise God!”
[The wonderful offering of this VBS provided 25,870 Scripture booklets such as the one shared with this lady in the Philippines!]
Meet the Team
Database Specialist/Donor Communications
I first heard about World Missionary Press on the radio. The words “missionary” and “sending out God’s Word” caught my attention. When I needed a new job, I remembered hearing about World Missionary Press. I have never wanted just “any job,” because it is vital for me to be a part of what God is doing in all aspects of my life. As a freshman at Bethel College, God called me to serve the Bible-less people of the world. Working at WMP allows me to do just that.
I started working at WMP in July of last year as the Partner Relations Specialist. My role included foundation-related tasks such as research, writing letters of interest, grant proposals, progress reports, thank-you letters, and other communications. I was also responsible for donor communications via phone calls and notes of appreciation.
In January of this year, I moved into the role of Database Specialist/Donor Communications, coordinating many of our mailings, such as Newsletters, Datebooks, Intro Packets, and others. I will also be working heavily with our data system to update and find good uses for the data we have, to better communicate and interact with our partners and donors.
For me the best part of working at WMP is being able to serve God each day in everything I do. It is such a privilege and blessing to work for and in the name of Jesus Christ. It is also a joy to work with like-minded Christians.
When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my husband, Jared, who works for an RV fiberglass company and is a Junior High boy’s youth leader at our church. We like to travel and try new local restaurants. Most of all, we enjoy and spend a lot of our time serving in our church and participating in various church activities with our close friends.
I also attend a monthly book club and enjoy reading as much as I can, decorative writing, and learning to cook and bake new dishes.
WMP Partners Around the World
Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa. World Missionary Press will soon be sending two pallets (512 ten-pound boxes) of Scripture booklets to Equatorial Guinea’s capital city, Malabar, for distribution on that off-shore island, and another two pallets to Bata for use on the mainland. This will provide more than 400,000 Scripture booklets and Bible studies in French and Spanish.
WMP: How did you learn about World Missionary Press?
Matias: After I was appointed the new contact for my church in Equatorial Guinea in 2010, Adalberto S., WMP’s national coordinator for Puerto Rico, spoke to me of large shipments that could be sent to our country. I knew this was a response to the prayer of the Church in Equatorial Guinea and brothers in surrounding countries. One of the strategies of the Enemy to stop the advance of the work of Jesus Christ in the world is to close the doors to Christian literature. But the clamor of the Church always reaches God, and Brother Adalberto’s proposal was the response. Our church began to pray for the fulfillment of that future vision for the glory of God.
WMP: How does the availability of free literature affect evangelism in your country?
Matias: Before WMP booklets came to Equatorial Guinea, no ministry distributed free literature. The booklets we have received have been distributed throughout the country, but there are still places where they have not been distributed. The churches have evangelism programs in neighboring areas, in the streets, and on the boardwalks where people spend a lot of free time, get taxi rides, or are fishing. We sit down with people and share what the booklets say or we give them the booklets to take home and read.
WMP: How long does a new shipment of WMP literature last?
Matias: Normally a shipment lasts about a year and a half. We would like to receive shipments every year so that booklets would always be available. An elderly sister called “Mama Alleluia,” more than 90 years old, who I believe has distributed the most WMP booklets, recently came to me for more booklets, but we were out.
WMP: What challenges do you face?
Matias: One is for the literature to arrive without difficulty in the principal cities of Bata and Malabo. (Malabo, the nation’s capital, is located on an island, while Bata, the former capital, is a port city and the largest city on the mainland.) Another challenge is for the government to permit literature to enter the country without charge.
WMP: How would you describe the effectiveness of WMP Scripture booklets and Bible studies?
Matias: The booklets have a clear and simple message. The Bible studies serve as a discipleship tool, especially for churches just starting out. They much appreciate receiving booklets that can be distributed without charge. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!