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Luis – Ministering in Guerrilla Zones

Luis – Ministering in Guerrilla Zones

As the sound of gunfire grew louder, 10-year-old Luis and his brother ran to their room and crawled under their bed. They knew the gunfire meant guerrilla fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were again attacking their small jungle village.

When soldiers from the Colombian Army arrived to repel the attack, the guerrillas took the boys’ father hostage to aid their escape. Although they released him four hours later, fighting between the guerrillas and government forces dragged on for days. Many of Luis’ friends were killed in the attack.

All things made new
Luis found true peace in Christ at age 13 and immediately felt the need to help people in villages like his who had suffered from the decades-long insurgency. “He told me He was my God and my Father, and He would always be there for me,” Luis said. “I felt the love of God come back in my life.”

Using his small savings, Luis bought books, games and other items to distribute in his old village, which remained under threat. He also brought New Testaments and gave them to everyone he met, including police officers, soldiers and guerrilla fighters.

“I told them, ‘Jesus still loves you despite all the pain you have caused,’” he said. “I was scared, but I thought, if I die, I die with Christ.”

Now 27, Luis serves as a pastor in an area controlled by a paramilitary group. He assumes that members of the group attend his weekly church service to listen to what he says and report back to their authorities. And he knows they could decide he is a threat at any time and give him 24 hours to leave, as they have done with many other pastors.

“I’m not scared,” he said. “It is my passion. I have a call from God to preach in these high-risk areas. I desire to keep on reflecting Christ.”

Luis has a special heart for others ministering in difficult areas. Although still young, he already facilitates training for pastors working in conflict zones.  

 

COLOMBIA: Pastors Threatened by Guerilla Groups

COLOMBIA: Pastors Threatened by Guerilla Groups

A violent guerrilla group summoned nine Colombian pastors to a meeting on 8 July after the pastors refused to pay “protection money” in June.

On 7 July, the National Liberation Army (ELN) sent a note ordering the pastors to attend a meeting across the border in Venezuela, where the group operates with impunity. Many feared that the ELN might execute the pastors for refusing to pay the 2 million pesos ($930).

The pastors ask for prayer as they continue to face harassment from ELN members who have placed new restrictions on their churches. The guerrillas have forbidden the construction of new church buildings, and Christians are no longer allowed to meet in individual homes for worship or study. Additionally, any new pastors must be from the local region, and no one from outside the ELN-controlled region is allowed to visit the Christians there. ELN members also expect the pastors to help them financially from time to time because they are suffering from food shortages and a transportation strike.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to grant these pastors wisdom when dealing with ELN members; may He give them the right words to say. Pray for their protection and that of their families.
  • Pray the Gospel may continue to go forth in spite of these threats and restrictions.
  • Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to many ELN members; pray that through the witness of these pastors the members may be moved to consider Christ for themselves and start on a new path.

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Living with Christ in Colombia’s Red Zones

Living with Christ in Colombia’s Red Zones

I know theology. They know God.

Recently, I had the privilege and honour of visiting several dear sisters in Christ in Bogota, Colombia, a city which has seen a recent growth in economy and safety and therefore tourism. However, if you leave behind the bustle of modern Bogota, you enter the rural ‘red zones’ where villages and families are caught in the crosshairs of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), ELN (National Liberation Army), and paramilitary groups. We hear so often of Islamic State and Boko Haram these days that we forget the cruelty of the FARC’s indiscriminate murder of those that they find useless — those who won’t join their ranks or buy drugs to fund their guerrilla warfare — usually, Christians.

Imagine living in a village where you and your neighbours could be killed if the FARC thought you supported the paramilitary, or vice versa. Trust is difficult. The women I met had lost homes, husbands, and children because of the violence. I sat next to ‘Milena’ as the translator relayed her story. Her tears needed no translation. Her story came out haltingly as she hesitated to open fresh wounds, but when we asked her if God had been with her, the words poured out of her; He had been her comfort and strength in her loss and loneliness.

As I hugged, listened to and prayed for these women, I was struck with the knowledge that I did not know God as they did, despite all the Bible studies, church services, and conferences I’ve been too. Their experience of Him is so much deeper than mine, hence the realisation that most of my knowledge of God is theological head knowledge.

After visiting Colombia, I cannot say that I prayed to lose everything I own. I did not walk into my house and ask God to take it all away from me. It is my hope, however, that I am growing to see all that I have as luxuries, not as blessings. Luxuries that I could very easily do without if God asked me if He could take them away.

The world says, “Pursue your own happiness and gain earthly wealth.” Live for luxury.

Christ says, “Find your joy in Me and gain the treasures of heaven.” I’ll let Him decide what persecution or suffering I will endure on this life. I am just called to obey, regardless of the cost.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:11-12, emphasis mine)

The real beauty of Colombia isn’t in the modern, mountainous city of Bogota, but the lives of Milena and the others that have learned to count their blessings, not their luxuries. They have the blessing of the knowledge of the Most High God.

Leah Grant writes for The Voice of the Martyrs USA

COLOMBIA: Pray for Milena, Husband and 3 Sons Killed

COLOMBIA: Pray for Milena, Husband and 3 Sons Killed

A Christian woman, ‘Milena,’ and her family lives in an area of Colombia controlled by The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

Milena’s husband and three of her four sons have been killed by FARC guerrillas because of their involvement in an evangelical church. She continues to hold on to her faith in God, but asks for prayers for the safety of her youngest son, ‘Luis.’

VOM is helping Milena and her son to relocate and set up a small business.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Please earnestly intercede for this grieving mother and her one remaining son. Pray the Lord may be to them a father and husband by providing, protecting and leading them.
  • Pray that in spite of their severe hardship, they will continue to persevere in their faith and even act as a witness to others for the power of the Gospel.
  • Pray the death of Milena’s husband and sons may not be in vain but may be used by the Lord to glorify His name, strengthen the faith of believers and further extend His kingdom – particularly throughout FARC controlled areas.

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COLOMBIA: Widow Being Sought by Husband’s Killer

COLOMBIA: Widow Being Sought by Husband’s Killer

The guerrilla leader responsible for the murder of Luz’s husband was released from prison in Colombia and is now seeking Luz.

The man returned to the remote community where Luz now lives, telling her neighbours that he wanted to find her. Within a few days of his release, a SWAT vehicle of armed men also stopped by her farm in search of her.

Luz was pregnant with twins when her husband went missing in 2007. The 30 pieces of his body were returned to the family in black plastic garbage bags. Luz and her three children have been moved to a safe location.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

 Prayer Points

  • Pray the Lord will pour out His protection upon Luz and her children. Pray no further evil will come against them.
  • Pray they will not be fearful but trust in God and his perfect purposes.
  • Pray the Lord will reveal Himself to the guerrilla leader, bringing conviction, repentance and an opportunity for salvation.