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When I was in Cuba recently, I heard a statement that I hadn’t heard before in my whole life!  A Cuban pastor told me, “All the churches in Cuba are growing!”

I’m quite certain I’ve never heard this phrase before about any other nation, not even about a group of churches in any nation. My face probably looked shocked or surprised at the least, because the pastor went on to say, “Yes, there is this one region alone that has 75 churches and we’re planting 100 new ones!”

That astounded me!  I couldn’t help but wonder out loud how they do this in a country where they receive no financial support from the outside. He informed me that they start the churches in little house churches. And that’s just one region of Cuba.

But it’s not just the churches that are thriving, the Christians are thriving, too! I had the opportunity to speak at a gathering. During the worship, there was a tremendous time of celebration. Half the church members came to the front of the room and they were dancing and celebrating and worshipping.

There was so much joy in the faces of these people, and these dear people live in the midst of horrible economic oppression—and yet their hearts and faith are thriving, and their churches are growing.

We can find similar signs of joyous revival again and again in the persecuted church, in China, for example. It also happened in the Early Church. Persecution brings about sincere love for Jesus, a passion for God, and as a result, the churches grow.

As I think back on what I saw in Cuba, I can’t help but think about how many American pastors struggle and wish their church would grow… they wish their church would catch on fire for Jesus… they wish their young people would turn to Jesus and serve Him, but they’re not.

It makes you think. Who are the people with real wealth? Who is the rich man, the pastor whose church and people are thriving, or the pastor who has all kinds of money, but whose people are spiritually poor and empty.
Given this comparison, I can completely understand why the Cuban pastor visiting America would say, “I’ve got to get back to Cuba. I’m going where the ‘real riches’ are.”

My friends, the church in Cuba has something that we desperately need in American churches.

In America, we don’t know which direction our country is going. It may be that we are on the path to becoming a communist country where Christians, more and more, are alienated and persecuted. There are some terrible things happening to Christians and churches even now in America, things that are allowed within the legal system.

Please pray for revival in America, that the church and its people here at home will rise from its complacency. Sometimes in the past God has used difficult times to awaken the soul of our nation, to start waves of revival that caused many to grow spiritually and have a more resilient faith. Almost every single recorded time when there’s persecution in the church, there is an outbreak of revival. God certainly stirred the hearts of His people when 9/11 happened.

Persecution separates the sheep from the goats, the boys from the men, and people who are serious about serving Christ from the Sunday “whatever” Christians.

Please pray for Cuba, for the pastors who are serving the Body of Christ in that nation. And pray that America would experience the “true riches” of faith, the virtue of sacrifice and of laying our lives down for the glory of the Lord. Pray that we won’t be sidetracked by the things that look like blessings, but that distract us from truly following Jesus.

May we truly experience the joy that I witnessed in the lives of the young and old alike in Cuba as the gospel is preached in America.

Copyright © Teen Mania Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
Ron Luce was the co-founder and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise young people who would change the world.

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