The dream of distributing one million Bibles throughout Cuba became a reality this week with the final Bible being presented to an excited young Cuban girl.
Faithful Bible Society New Zealand (BSNZ) supporters have been key in making this happen and their commitment was honoured with a special engraved plaque presented to BSNZ Programme Director, Stephen Opie, who attended the finale celebration in Havana.
The idea of distributing one million Bibles in Cuba originated in 2012 after Bernt Olsen, from Bible Society in Norway found pastors in Cuba who didn’t even have a Bible themselves. This was a catalyst moment for the Biblical Commission of Cuba (Bible Society), which launched One Million Bibles for Cuba in 2012.
Since then they have worked with many different denominations across the country of 11 million people, and helped unite the church behind the ambitious project. For the Cuban Church, which started to grow rapidly in the early 1990s, it seemed like an impossible dream but today youth, children, prison chaplains and Bible seminaries all have Bibles.
During the life of the project, Bible distribution numbers grew exponentially, from just 32,000 in 2012 to more than 300,000 in 2017.
More work to do
“There is a real sense here that this is not an end, but a beginning,” Stephen Opie said. “The need in Cuba for more Bibles is still great, with many Cubans unable to afford one. With the church behind them, and the continued support of many faithful Christians in New Zealand and all over the world, hundreds of thousands more Bibles could be distributed in the coming years.”
Joel Dopico, Executive Director of the Cuba Council of Churches said, “If we continue on this strategy, we believe half of all Cubans can be reached with the Bible.”