As has been widely reported, in December 2014 diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba were formally restored. Shortly thereafter a bipartisan group of eight senators introduced legislation to remove all travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba. While there is not, as of yet, completely unrestricted travel access to Cuba, under the revised regulations that took effect January 16, 2015 American citizens are allowed to travel to Cuba under a dozen different categories. These categories include: religious activities, professional research, family visits, humanitarian efforts, and the most commonly utilized category of educational or academic programs that consist of preplanned person-to-person contact. These person-to-person contacts can be readily arranged by a number of travel agencies. Most importantly, such opportunities offer a great open door for evangelism in Cuba.
The nation of Cuba, while never having been an exceptionally religious country, has been experiencing somewhat of a revival over the last 25 years since the communist government began to ease religious persecutions. During the worst period of religious persecution in Cuba, during the 1960s and 1970s, Christians were often fired from their jobs and sent to forced labor in “re-education” camps. However, the Washington Post has recently reported an exchange that took place between Cuban leader Raúl Castro (brother of Fidel Castro) and Pope Francis after which Raúl Castro, who had attended a school in Cuba operated by the Catholic Jesuit order before he was swayed by the tenets of communism, told Vatican reporters he was so impressed with the Pope that he was seriously considering returning to the Catholic Church. This attitude is an indication of the urgency with which Evangelicals must embrace this unprecedented opportunity.
Until this recent legislation the most effective evangelical outreach in Cuba has been limited to those groups that were in the country prior to Fidel Castro’s revolution (1953-1959). Now, as a result of the recent U.S. legislation, American evangelicals have the ability to participate in the spiritual harvest that will, prayerfully, soon be sweeping across Cuba. This is exactly why we are so very excited about our efforts to translate our phenomenal new series Jesus of the Bible into the Spanish language. Additionally, we are working on a set of accompanying study materials that will also be translated into Spanish to help spread the Biblical truth of Jesus into this new field that is truly ripe for the harvest.
Our Savior instructed us that His Gospel “shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). Thus, as the events in other parts of the world offer illustrations of the foreboding aspects of Bible prophecy, these recent developments in Cuba offer us an example of the positive role Christians are called to play in a vital aspect of God’s eschatological plan; to evangelize the nations! The Bible says that faith comes by hearing, so when our Lord opens a door, as He has done with Cuba, we ought to bravely walk through it and boldly proclaim the Good News!