AGWM missionaries Don and Jacquie* recently finished training 300 Cuban global missions workers, 80 of whom were commissioned for worldwide service at Cuba’s Assemblies of God General Council this year.
“Everywhere we go, a vision for missions is being birthed in this nation,” says Don. “Jacquie and I have traveled this island end to end multiple times. There’s not a place we go that we don’t see God awakening a burden for missions. The church is just exploding.”
A Prophetic Word
In 1983, a woman called Pastor Maria stood up in a small church in Camagüey, Cuba, and issued this prophecy: The Cuban church will be a light to the nations.
Her words, guided by the Holy Spirit, moved people more to hope than to immediate action—at the time, the country was closed to international travel.
Thirty years later, in 2013, Cuba approved a policy allowing citizens to obtain two-year visas for international travel. The Cuban church viewed this as the beginning of fulfilled prophecy.
In 2014, the Cuban AG general and assistant superintendents and their wives opened the first conversation with AGWM personnel about launching a missionary force from Cuba to the nations. This conversation took place at a hotel in Camagüey—the town where Pastor Maria gave her prophecy. That same week, the Cuban AG held their first missions convention in the Camagüey church, and over 100 people responded.
In 2015, the Cuban General Council unanimously approved the establishment of a missions department. Since then, AGWM and Cuba have enjoyed a partnership in world missions that is launching Cuba to the ends of the earth.
A Tale of Perfect Timing
In the process of training candidates for missions, Don and Jacquie have discovered a wealth of highly skilled Cubans.
“We know chemical engineers, English professors, lawyers, doctors, and more who are called to go to the nations,” they share.
Cuban culture places a high premium on education, and this cultural value is reflected in the church. Cubans’ professional training strategically equips them to reach sensitive contexts.
And for the first in time in over 50 years, Cubans are now allowed to leave the country for up to two years at a time, providing the first official opportunity to release these uniquely gifted and highly equipped Cuban missionaries.
“It’s like God in the last 60 years has just been training a huge missionary force,” Don and Jacquie state.
At this year’s missions convention at the Cuban General Council, Don proclaimed that soon, people in many countries of the world hearing about Jesus for the first time will be hearing about Him from people with a Cuban accent.
The 80 people commissioned in the General Council missions service were the firstfruits of the training program in connection with the newly embraced mission of the churches to send their people.
“This service demonstrated that world missions is a priority of the Cuban church. That’s what was so powerful—it was a visual representation of sending them out,” remarks Don. “It was one of the most powerful services I’ve ever been in.”
At Home and to Earth’s End
The Cuban church’s focus on global expansion has not left the home front without a witness.
“The Cubans are amazing church planters,” says Don. “Just before Easter, they were at 9,900 churches planted in their country. During the spring they reached 10,000.”
And it is not only Cuban men who comprise the church planting force. Women are also pioneering and serving as lead pastors.
“The men and women commissioned at this year’s General Council were part of the fulfillment of Pastor Maria’s prophecy,” says Don. “We’re not talking about one district of Cuba anymore, we’re talking about the whole country.”
“Nothing has changed about their circumstances,” explains Jacquie. “What has changed is their hearts’ direction. They’ve always known God is big and God is great, but now they are seeing there is going to be provision not just for their daily bread, but also for the proclamation of the gospel and the sending of that gospel to other nations.”
From the ends of Cuba to the ends of the earth, Cubans are reaching the lost, planting churches, training global workers, and serving the poor and suffering.
“There have been huge challenges, but these are God-challenges,” concludes Don. “Cubans are rising up and saying, ‘We can do this. We can do this!’”
*Last names withheld for security.
For more information about Cuba’s church planting and missions movement, read the upcoming September 2019 WorldView magazine.