A core part of Cuba para Cristo’s work in Cuba is supporting pastors and “misioneros” – gospel workers. We now financially supports over 50 full-time gospel workers dotted around the island. This is possible because of the extremely low cost of living in Cuba; a pastor earning US$25 per month, even with a family, is considered very well paid. The national average salary is US$10. Therefore, we are delighted to offer stipends of £17 per month as the basic funding package for a gospel worker! This means that the Cuban church is able to achieve a great deal for the cost of a meal out a month in the UK.
Churches tend to meet in regional house-groups mid-week, and come together on Sundays. The house groups are effectively the mission posts for their local areas. As a house-group grows, it will eventually become a church in its own right and will start its own house groups. Someone will be the acting-pastor for each house-group, and they are called misioneros. They often have no financial support at all and will soon find themselves being the acting-pastor of a church and supervising their own misioneros. Part of our work is to support a new initiative to offer training for the misioneros, but financial support is obviously never wasted on this landscape!
We also support several people who work in seminaries. To the best of our knowledge, there are no full time, dedicated lecturers in seminaries in Cuba. It is typical to combine their post with pastoring a church, and often other responsibilities also. Our help enables people to be able to spend more time than otherwise in their seminary teaching, thus helping support the future of the church in Cuba.
During one of our training sessions, a Cuba for Christ missionary made contact with a pastor who is about to head up a new work in a mostly unevangelised town which has been very hostile to the gospel. During the welcome service of the last church-planting effort, the tin roof was pelted with stones from witch-doctors and others, to warn them away. When they had house group meetings, they would find that music groups would start up in the next door house – and then the church would be accused of making too much noise from any singing! The new pastor is taking over a network made up of seven house churches. Their total operating budget is £140pcm including staff stipends! We were delighted to be able to offer funding for two misioneros, but we have no idea whether the other five will have any funding. While his aim is for the church to be financially self-sufficient in time, we believe that pump-priming can produce huge gospel dividends and that we can easily find other misioneros if they no longer want our stipends.
During another session at a different place, four students turned out to be working completely unsupported, and CpC were able to offer them a stipend. We also stay in touch with them and pray for them, but the money makes an enormous difference in freeing them up to concentrate on gospel work.
We typically support people with CUC25 per month. This is about US$28, and works out at £17.50, depening on the exchange rate. The amount we send changes each month, so as to ensure consistency of CUC25 per month. Cuba para Cristo has fifteen years’ of uninterrupted help for the growing number of ministers we support. The only reasons for ceasing payments are when people start receiving support from elsewhere, when people cease gospel ministry, or they emigrate. In one case, a minister has died, and we continue to support his widow.