Date:  September 24, 2022

We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. (1 Thessalonians 2:2)

The apostle Paul suffered in many ways throughout his ministry, and sometimes the wisest thing for him to do was to relocate when the threats became too great. Yet it is encouraging to read how God enabled Paul to continue declaring the gospel, even amid hostility.

As you reflect on this verse, consider the dangers currently facing Christians in Cuba.

Cuba has been experiencing a massive crackdown and the biggest wave of migration in decades, and many religious leaders have left Cuba under threat of imprisonment.

Pray for Alain Toledano Valiente and his family

One of those leaders is Pastor Alain Toledano Valiente. In July, he and his family were forced to leave Cuba and flee to the United States.

For over 20 years they have been experiencing intense harassment because of Pastor Toledano’s leadership in the Apostolic Movement (a charismatic Protestant Christian network which the Cuban government has refused to register). 

This mistreatment even extended to include Pastor Toledano’s family: his daughters experienced bullying and violence at school – orchestrated by school officials with the backing of State Security – and his wife Marilín has been subjected to short-term arbitrary detention numerous times.

Exile or prison

Pastor Toledano had been under an intermittent travel ban over the past four years, and on 25 June he was informed that the ban would be lifted on one condition: that he leave the country within 30 days. 

Thankfully Pastor Toledano, Marilín and two of their daughters arrived safely in the United States on 24 July – but they should never have been forced to choose between their home, their faith and their freedom.

As our Head of Advocacy Anna-Lee Stangl said, ‘A choice of exile or prison is no choice it all…’

In summary please pray:

  • That God would fill them with peace and be an ever-present help, as they find a new place to call home. 
    That conditions will soon change to allow them to return to a free and democratic Cuba where the rights of all are protected.
  • For the safety of those who remain in Cuba amid the ongoing crackdown – including two of Pastor Toledano’s adult daughters and their children.
  • That the international community would put pressure on the Cuban government to make meaningful reforms that guarantee everyone’s fundamental freedoms.