Cuba: No Embargoes on God’s Presence! 

Attend one worship service at Pastor David Moreno’s Open Bible church in Guanajay and you’ll quickly find there are no limitations or “embargoes” on God’s presence in Cuba. Rich worship, inspirational teaching, and the robust moving of the Holy Spirit are enduring hallmarks of Pastor David’s church, Templo Evangelico de la Biblia Abierta. This flagship church reflects what God is doing in and through Open Bible Churches across the country of Cuba.  

Southeast Regional Director Nathan Hagan shares with the Cuban church members

The spiritual health of this church belies the fragility of life in Cuba. Scarcity of food and medication, heavy fuel rationing, and steep inflation ─ over 30% last year ─ define their grave economic reality. These conditions have already pushed hundreds of thousands of Cubans to leave their homeland in a daring quest for a better life. 
Open Bible’s 149 Cuban churches are much more than houses of worship. Beyond offering crucial salvation and discipleship, they are community centers, helping to fill the gaps for the people they serve. Daily they provide miraculously obtained food and other essential items so desperately needed by the Cuban people.  

As the director of Mission Esperanza, over the past year I have had the privilege of partnering with Pastor David, who also serves as the president of Open Bible in Cuba, and his national leadership team. Mission Esperanza’s call is to serve and encourage the Cuban people and churches by facilitating pastoral leadership conferences, assisting in the construction of churches, and shipping essential items from the U.S. 

In February 2024, I led a group of nine Open Bible pastors and leaders on a vision trip to Cuba. I was grateful that Open Bible President Michael Nortune was able to be part of that group. Pastor David ferried us around for three days, visiting several Cuban Open Bible churches and pastors and helping our group to learn firsthand of the hardships and opportunities in Cuba. A real highlight of the trip was hearing President Nortune preach in Pastor David’s church that Sunday morning. He delivered a Holy Spirit inspired message of encouragement and issued a biblical challenge that was enthusiastically received in the crowded sanctuary. 

President Nortune prays over local Cuban pastors

Previously, in October 2023, Mission Esperanza held our first Pastors Conference with 350 pastors and church leaders in attendance. Pastor Aaron Keller (Des Moines, IA) joined me in hosting our conference speaking team of Pastor Raul Escalante (Sunrise, FL), Pastor Pablo Urra (Miami, FL), and Pastors Marcelo and Bernarda Rodriguez (Grecia, Costa Rica). The Lord moved powerfully through our gifted speakers, each one covering ministry subjects particularly relevant to Cuban churches and the failing Cuban society. That our speakers were all fluent in Spanish and understood the Latin culture multiplied their ministry effectiveness. Many times, sessions concluded with prayer at the altar during our three-day conference. I was blessed watching Mission Esperanza’s team move across the sanctuary praying with our Cuban brothers and sisters as they poured out their praise and ardent petitions to our Heavenly Father. Time paused as the Holy Spirit filled the hearts of His people. I have received many reports of the blessing of last October’s conference, praise the Lord! Mission Esperanza is looking forward to our next conference scheduled for May 2024, where we anticipate another 250 pastors and leaders from a different region in Cuba. 

Certainly, Cuba needs our prayers and support. Please prayerfully consider supporting the people and churches in Cuba by giving through Global Missions’ Mission Venture Plan (MVP). There are two ways you can bless Cuba under the MVP category of Humanitarian Aid. You can give a one-time amount to the “Cuba Aid” fund, or you can give monthly by selecting Cuba Adopt-A-Church.This program is a $30 to $50 monthly commitment, which will support a local pastor and church.  
The Church is growing rapidly in Cuba. People are coming to Christ across the country, new churches are being planted every year, disciples are being made, and 350 students are being trained and equipped for ministry. Recently, while discussing the Lord’s work in Cuba, President Nortune reminded me, “The story continues, and we all can be part of it.”   

The needs are great, but just as there are no spiritual embargoes in Cuba, there are no limitations in Christ! 

*Credit for all photographs goes to Tim Wedhe.

About the Author

David Bethany

David Bethany is a follower of Jesus Christ. He is blessed by his wife, Carla, and is dad to four adult children and “papa” to eight energetic grandchildren. David is the Director of Mission Esperanza and has been the Construction Director for MOVE Ministries for the past thirty-one years. He owns a construction consulting firm in Los Angeles and attends Village Church. 

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