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As the U.S. returns to Cuba, Christianity rises
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Friday morning was a monumental moment for U.S. and Cuba relations as the U.S. raised its flag at its newly reopened embassy in Cuba, which had been closed for 54 years, BBC reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry went to Cuba for the ceremony, making him the first secretary of state in 70 years to visit the island nation, according to BBC.

Kerry said that the United States hoped to inspire political change in Cuba, which is still a communist country, BBC reported.

"The people of Cuba would be best served by a genuine democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders," Kerry told those in attendance, according to BBC.

As the United States and its leaders push for a democratic revolution in the country, Cuba has also seen an increase in another belief: Christianity.

Christian Today reported earlier this month that Cuba has seen a Bible boom over the last few months. In fact, almost 83,000 copies of the Bible entered the country through the International Missions board last month, according to Christian Today.

Similarly, The American Bible Society, which started the Million Bible Mission last year to spread Bibles across the world, gave about 60,000 Bibles to Cuba in 2014, according to Christian Today.

"With a population of 11 million, a literacy rate of nearly 100 percent and an unprecedented growth in Christianity thanks to social, economic and political reforms, many Cubans are seeking guidance and hope found in God's Word," the American Bible Society said in a statement. "As a result of this unprecedented spiritual and cultural shift, demand for Bibles has outpaced supply. In addition, many Cubans cannot afford to import high-quality Bibles."

Part of the surge may be because Cuba lifted its Bible ban back in May, according to Charisma News. The ban, which started 50 years ago, kept Bibles from bookshelves and only allowed them in churches, Charisma News reported.

More than just Bibles, Cuban Christians have also found other aspects of faith inspiring, like the Dead Sea scrolls and Jewish Torah scrolls that came to the country for 21 days last March, according to Christian Today.

"There are some really exciting artifacts here that tell not only the history of how we got the Bible, but the impact that Spain and Latin America had on the history of the Bible," Norman Conrad, a curator at the Christian Heritage Museum in Cuba, told Christian Today.

More so, theres been tremendous support among Christian Cubans for Pope Francis. In fact, Cubans will get a chance to see Pope Francis later this year when he visits ahead of his arrival in the United States in September, according to The Washington Post.

The pope actually helped the U.S. and Cuba mend their relationship, which had been severed for 50 years during the Cold War, The Post reported. Pope Francis visit to Cuba and the United States will be another effort by the pope to bring the countries together through faith.

It has been a special time in our country since the presidents of Cuba and the United States announced the process of re-establishing relations, and both of them thanked Pope Francis for his efforts to move the process forward, Orlando Marquez, the spokesman for the Havana Archdiocese, said in a statement. That is well-known in Cuba, and the Cuban people are grateful.
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