Cuba Embraces Largest Childrens Bible Shipment
ICC Note: Cuba s willingness to accept a huge shipment of Christian literature for children is encouraging and baffling, given its track record on religious freedom.
By Michelle Vu
5/10/07 Cuba (ChristianPost.com) After weeks of waiting, over 134,000 Childrens Story Bibles passed through Cuban Customs as part of the largest shipment of Childrens Christian material in Cuba s history.
WorldServe Ministries, an organization serving the persecuted Church worldwide, in partnership with American Bible Society, is bringing 200,000 Spanish Most Important Story (MIS) Childrens Bibles to be distributed among Cuba s 56 denominations.
Two of the three containers of Bibles have passed customs as of Tuesday, reported WorldServe.
Many thanks for these Bibles, said one of the Cuban denominational leaders, whose name was not disclosed, according to WorldServe. They are greatly used and appreciated.
WorldServe, which began working in Cuba in 1993, focuses on church planting, pastoral training, Bible distribution, and other areas of financial assistance to improve the spiritual and living conditions of the people and the churches.
The 212-page MIS Story Bible, the first of its kind to be shipped by WorldServe into Cuba , contains important and popular stories selected from the Old and New Testament. At the end of the Bible, there is also the 32-page MIS booklet called The Most Important Story Ever Told, which has been widely distributed in the country in previous years.
Although this shipment is the first time MIS Story Bibles have entered Cuba , over the past ten years, WorldServe has shipped more than 1.7 million Most Important Story Ever Told booklets into Cuba , averaging about 200,000 a year.
Today in Cuba there is a desperate need for childrens evangelistic material, said Tommy Danielsson, WorldServes vice president of outreach and special projects, to The Christian Post. The Most Important Story has been the most effective childrens gospel booklet for church outreach into the community.
Over the past couple of years, the Bible Commission of Cuba reported receiving hundreds of requests from non-Christians for the childrens scripture booklets.
Cuba , a communist country, has had a publicly tense and even hostile relationship with the United States since the Cuban Revolution of 1959 when Fidel Castro came to power. And ever since 1961, the U.S. has not had formal diplomatic relations with Cuba .
Yet despite tense U.S.-Cuban relations, both nations have given permission for the Bibles to be distributed in Cuba .
Cuban Christian leaders explained that several years back the countrys communist leaders approached them for help in educating the youth and combating the countrys drug problems after seeing their good works in other social areas such as hurricane relief. The church leaders agreed but said they needed permission to plant churches and import Bibles. Cuban officials had agreed to their request for both churches and Bibles.
Although unknown to many people, Christianity has flourished and continues to grow in Cuba where people are said to flock to church.
In 1991 the year when the Congressional Communist Party voted to change Cuba s constitutional status from atheist to secular state there were only 1,100 churches and house churches in the island nation. About 16 years later there are now more than 16,000 house churches, according to WorldServe [Go To Full Story]