Date: June 29, 2012
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
SANTA LUCIA, CUBA (BosNewsLife)-- Some 10,000 people attended Cuba's first evangelistic outdoor rally in decades with many accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior at the event, where a huge storm miraculously passed, an evangelical aid and mission group said Thursday, June 28.
U.S.-based Bright Hope explained that its church partners claimed the crowd "overflowed the large public square" in the Cuban city of Santa Lucia in Holguín Province, a remarkable development in the Communist-run nation after a previous reported government crackdown on evangelical churches.
When the sky "turned black, clouds started to roll in and lightning hit the ground as the event was about to begin," Bright Hope added in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife.
Spectators reportedly opened their umbrellas to prepare for the storm, but believers "started to raise their hands to the sky in worship," Bright Hope said.
One unidentified Christian was quoted as saying: "Our God isn't going to let this storm happen; it's been a long time we have waited for this revival."
STORM HAS PASSED
His prayer was "answered and the storm passed," Bright Hope claimed. "The local pastor's wife, Mariza Proenza, reportedly said "The hand of God covered the city!"
Methodist Church leader, Bishop Ricardo Pereira, began his sermon by saying "Today is a prophetic day in this nation," according to published remarks.
"In the same place [discoverer] Christopher Columbus announced this was the most beautiful land human eyes had seen, now we speak upon the same land -- but this time, in the true freedom of Christ," he reportedly said.
"What you have seen today is as if the heavens opened to declare that Jesus is the Son of God, with whom He is pleased."
When the church leader urged the crowd "to receive Jesus" as their Savior, "a sea of hands were raised as they desired to give their hearts to the King," Bright Hope said.
HUNDREDS COME FORWARD
"Hundreds of people came forward to receive Christ," explained C.H. Dyer, Bright Hope's chief executive officer and president, adding that this was the local churches' "first outdoor evangelistic service since the 1950’s."
The next day, he said, "people brought their idols and smashed them to show their devotion to Christ alone."
Dyer stressed that the news came as an encouragement for his group and Christian workers. "Cuba has been under pressure and oppression. [Bible verse] Matthew 16:18 comes to mind '… on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it,'. God’s mighty hand was upon our church partners."
Dyer claimed the developments are part of "a revival...taking place in the country of Cuba" which he explained is "seeing spiritual fruit born from a dry, thirsty land." He cautioned that "It is only the hand of God who can cause such a response."
Backed by "prayers and contributions from Christians across the United States" evangelistic events seem "increasingly possible" on the island nation, he explained. "More eangelistic meals and outdoor meetings are planned."
Bright Hope says it works especially in areas where people earn less than one dollar a day.