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Christianity in Cuba silently growing despite being 'in the shadows of culture'

Christianity has been silently growing in Cuba, and many organizations are working to help strengthen churches and pastors to spur the growth even more.

A report from CBN News last year said that an organization sent more than 80,000 Bibles into Cuba to meet the demands of the growing churches. They were distributed to believers scattered in more than 1,000 churches in the country.

(Reuters/Stringer)A view of the "super Moon" is seen with a silhouette of a church cross from Havana May 5, 2012.

Cuba has prohibited the sale of Bibles in local bookstores for over 50 years, and Bibles were available only in churches. The increasing demand for Bibles in recent years is evidence that the churches are indeed growing rapidly.

To help the churches cope with the growth, some organizations have organized ministry training for local pastors.

The Luis Palau Bible Institute, Luis Palau Association, the International Bible Society and Logos Christian University will be launching a gathering of church workers from all over the country in November in order to equip them and help them become more effective in their work through short courses.

The training, which is offered for free, will be conducted on-site.

Dr. Carlos Barbieri, director of the Luis Palau Bible Institute, said the gathering is the first of its kind and is only possible because of the "increasing freedom" in the country.

"The church in Cuba has grown in the shadows of culture for many years," Barbieri said.

Many leaders encountered Christ in underground churches, which is why they have developed exceptional boldness and persistence, he explained.

Barbieri said they have been conducting online training for about 40 pastors, but they have encountered some problems and the online sessions are not very effective. DVDs and other video classes also proved to be not so fruitful.

The training in November is targeting 220 pastors and will offer more topics compared to those covered by their online resources.

In 2013, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that there has been a high incidence of harassment and violations of religious freedom among Christians in Cuba.

However, in 2015, Cuba has experienced a "religious revival" among evangelical denominations and the Catholic Church, according to a report by The Guardian.

One reason the government is not as restrictive as it was before could be the decreasing moral values of Cuban youth, which the churches could address. Still, authorities continue to keep a watchful eye on the growing evangelical churches.

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