Eleven years is too long a time between visits. Christianity Today last focused on Cuba in January 1998, when seasoned CT contributor John W. Kennedy reported "Cuba's Next Revolution."
Last winter, President Obama signaled a new openness toward Cuba by initiating talks with Fidel Castro's regime and his brother Raul, Cuba's president. In early April, we sent CT news editor Jeremy Weber and design director Gary Gnidovic with a translator to Cuba for an in-depth update. As their travel schedule solidified, it became apparent that our reporting duo would arrive in Cuba for Holy Week. Starting with church services on Palm Sunday in Havana, they observed Holy Week and Easter Sunday activities, a perfect time to see the Cuban church at its best.
Beyond the reality that most of its 12 million citizens need Christ, Cuba is one of the world's most influential island nations. Like it or not, Fidel Castro's talk about Cuba's geopolitical reach has not been all bluster. Since 1960, Cuba has had significant political impact on the Americas, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia. The good news is that Cuba's influence is being reshaped—ever so slowly—by a faithful Christian movement that has moved past its season of being defined by persecution. But the global perception has not yet fully caught up with this new grassroots reality. Our journalistic mission in Cuba was in part to put a spotlight on the hidden story.
It's true that Christians in Cuba are subject to social controls, discrimination, and occasional arrests. But Cuba's new spiritual dynamic includes rapid house-church (casas cultos) growth, evangelistic missions, relief work, and community development. Cuban Christians are as enthusiastic about the Great Commission as other ...1
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