Ethics & Religion
December 1, 2016
Cuba Are Successful
By Mike McManus
International Mission Board)
is dead - but some American Christian missionaries to Cuba are very
successful. This may come as a surprise.
When Castro took over the island in 1958, he shuttered all of Cuba's
churches, except a few in major cities. However, his younger brother,
Raul, has been running the country since 2008. He has quietly allowed
churches to open across the country.
I learned about this over Thanksgiving when I chatted with Steve and
Colleen Thoreson, who had such a successful missionary trip to Cuba last
spring - that they have been invited back in February. He is the father
of my daughter-in-law and she is a stepmother. Colleen became fluent in
Spanish as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador 50 years ago.
"It's amazing that at age 75, the Lord would call us out," she told me.
They began their missionary work in Africa when they were 65. They have
a heart for missions. In Zambia they lived in tents for months at a time
to minister to tribal people who had neither electricity nor running
In Cuba Pastor Alejandro Frias, an Assistant Superintendent of the
Assemblies of God in Camaguey, Cuba - heard of their work and invited
them to meet with leaders of churches he supervised.
In Cuba foreign missionaries apply for a religious visa, but can stay
only 30 days. The Thoresons flew from Miami to Camaguey, a city of
350,000 more than 100 miles from Havana. They conducted workshops in his
Word of Life Church, and in nine rural churches, training 300 pastors
and lay leaders.
Result: an immediate 1,200 "salvations" of people who made a commitment
How was that possible? The Thoresons developed a "Gospel Script" which
they trained church leaders to use. It begins with a "quick question: If
you were to die today do you know beyond a shadow of doubt that you'd go
If the response is "Yes," they respond: "Great. Why do you say `Yes?'"
If they say, "I'm a good person," or something similarly vague, the
Script continues: "Let me quickly share with you what the Holy Bible
says. It says, `All have sinned and have come short of the glory of
God.' (Romans 3:23)
"`The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ, our Lord,' (Romans 6:23) And, `Whoever calls on the name
of the Lord will be saved.'" (Romans 10:13)
For many Cubans, this was not only good news, but exciting. They had
never heard the Gospel presented so clearly.
If their response is positive, they are asked, "Would you like to be
assured that you will go to heaven?" Usually the person nods, so they
are asked to say this prayer, repeating these words of the leader:
"Dear Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive me from my sins. I believe
you died for me and you rose again, and will some day come back to me,
because I have Jesus in my heart."
The Thoresons conducted ten trainings of pastors and church leaders at
Pastor Frias' Word of Life Church. They then traveled with him to nine
other villages, and gave 300 attendees a copy of the Script.
Pastors and church leaders immediately went outside into the streets
with a copy of the Script and conducted "Street Evangelism" with anyone
they met and were instantly successful with many. Some 1,200 people
accepted Christ within days. Pastor Frias had to add another service so
that 300 new members could attend, and there was a similar impact in
nine other smaller cities.
"It was more than exciting to discover how easy it is to conduct
one-on-one Street Evangelism," said Colleen. "Some young pastors got on
fire and taught their whole church and congregations. All of the
churches are increasing in size, because of what they have learned."
Most American missionaries in Cuba are not using this Script. They lead
Bible studies, teaching Scripture to Cuban pastors and leaders, which is
helpful but does not have the profound impact of the Script.
By contrast, Steve Thoreson says, "One-on-one street evangelism is
getting salvation to people who are unchurched."
In February, the Thoresons will return to hold a Youth Conference for
Cuban high school and college students, and will train in additional
Who is funding the Thoreson's work? Only interested individuals. Cubans
have no funds.
If you would like a copy of the Script, or to make a contribution, write
Christ for Cuba Ministries, Inc. 27010 67th Avenue East, Myakka City,
The potential is life-changing.
Copyright (c) 2016 Michel J. McManus,
President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. For previous
columns go to
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