Luis Tornes and Elizabeth Rojas Vilachan
Pastor Luis and Elizabeth are currently working on church planting in the Vedado Zone and Playa municipality in Havana. The work in these areas, which include the commercial center of Havana, residential areas and foreign embassies, started in 2016. Evangelizing has proved very difficult due to the economic circumstances of many of the people in the zones: 75% of the people are professionals. In the Vedado Zone many people are atheists. In Playa the practice of African religions abounds; the weekly animal sacrifices to the gods are well known in the city, and it seems more and more people, including children, are joining these practices. Muslim influence in the city also has been increasing as students from the Middle East come to the city to study medicine and other fields of work, while intentionally sharing their faith. Cuban society gives a lot of freedom to Muslims and people of other faiths to practice their beliefs, but the evangelical church is denied the use of public spaces, radio or the press to express its beliefs and values. Finding a place to rent in the city is also difficult for the church. Since it is impossible to find a large space for people to meet as a church, church planting takes the form of starting small groups around the city. Four leaders are currently being trained, and the plan is to start a seminary in Havana in 2018 to equip more pastors for ministry. Currently there are two organized churches in the city and a few places of outreach. They work specifically with some of the people who are most in need in Havana, in an area where there is a lot of alcoholism and family dysfunction. Every day the gospel is being shared with many people. Pastor Luis and Elizabeth keep their primary focus on honoring the Lord and His name; they believe the work in Havana will continue to grow at God’s pace.