Poised in the Midst of Persecution!

The great preacher John Wesley said, “If we suffer persecution and affliction in a right manner, we attain a larger measure of conformity to Christ … than we could have done merely by imitating his mercy, in abundance of good works.”
This statement reflects the church in Cuba today. Recently a Global Initiative team traveled to Cuba for a week of training. We visited two new areas where Fidel and Raul Castro were born and raised. This strong communist area of the island has demonstrated the greatest resistance to the church, but the Holy Spirit continues to strengthen the church and, in the midst of persecution, it continues to grow.

Rodrigo and Juanita Rivas made this week extra special through their ministry to the Cuban church. The Rivas family comes from El Salvador and served as missionaries for thirteen years among Muslims in the difficult nation of Niger. As gifted communicators, Rodrigo and Juanita inspired, informed, and challenged the Cuban church through the why and how of reaching Muslims.

One woman only attended the seminar because her pastor insisted she needed to attend because she was a leader in the church. She did not care about Muslims or want to learn how to share the gospel with them. Through the seminar, the Holy Spirit spoke to her and transformed her heart and mind. Now she is prepared and wants to reach Muslims with the gospel!

Although Cuba is a closed nation, we believe the Holy Spirit has strategically opened the door for Jonah Initiative trainings in this nation. The presence of Islam continues to grow in Cuba. In fact, a new mosque recently opened near one of the locations where we did training. More importantly, we believe God is going to open the door for Cubans to go out as missionaries to Muslim majority nations.

The church in Romania, much like the church in Cuba, survived under communism. Initially, the Romanian church was a “receiving” church, as Western missionaries helped establish the church. Now, the church in Romania is a “sending” church, as they now send missionaries to the Muslim world. The Holy Spirit is preparing the Cuban church for a similar future, as they now stand poised to be released as missionaries. They know about survival under hardship and persecution. For example, Cuba is under food rationing again. During one of our trainings, we had to readjust our teaching schedule because there wasn’t enough food to feed the 132 attendees for the final dinner.

As we met with the National Missions Director for the Cuban Assemblies of God, he expressed that as Cuban citizens they have greater access to many Muslim countries than Americans do — such as Iraq and Iran. The Cuban church is thinking strategically about where the Lord could open the doors for them to go with the gospel!

Our hearts fill with excitement as we see God raising up Latino missionaries, especially for the Muslim world. The Cuban church received tremendous encouragement through the training of missionaries from El Salvador who could minister in their heart language. Rodrigo and Juanita challenged believers by helping them realize that if God could provide for them as missionaries from El Salvador, then He would do the same for Cuban missionaries.

The educated Cuban church has stood the test of communism and endured strict economic hardships. With their spiritual maturity, the joy of the Lord, and their desire to be used by God for His purposes, God will use the Cuban church in a powerful way. We need to pray for the church in Cuba! Pray for God’s favor and blessing; pray that the Lord will strengthen them with boldness and courage; and pray that, in His time, they will go to the Muslim world with the gospel.

Through your prayers and financial partnership, we continue to go to places like Cuba and be used by the Lord. Through imparting knowledge, casting vision, and challenging people to prayer and obedience, God continues to raise up missionaries and evangelist for the Muslim harvest fields.

Thank you for your faithful commitment and heart to see Muslims reached with the gospel.

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