They Cry in Silence Sep/Oct 2002
When people think of Colombia, South America, they usually think of drug trafficking and the scourge of addiction it produces. The murder of public officials there is commonplace as the war to curtail the drug lords’ activities continues. However, another sinister, silent menace that is almost completely ignored is the persecution of Christian believers in that country. It is a problem Christians and missionaries in Colombia face constantly.
The radical Marxist group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is a particular threat to believers. This armed leftist organization is dedicated to bringing a more socialist government to power in Bogotá. In order to raise funds for their cause, these Marxists often resort to drug smuggling to finance their revolution. Christians and missionaries are viewed as threats because they discourage locals from becoming aligned with the rebels and their cause.
In the last three years this group has forced an estimated three hundred churches to close their doors and has murdered at least eighty pastors and priests.
On June 25 we received an urgent e-mail from a believer well acquainted with the situation, pleading with us to make the plight of the Christians of Colombia known. He related this story of a pastor who was recently murdered by the FARC.
The FARC guerillas kidnapped a missionary who was working in the area of Tame, Arauca, in East Colombia. When apprehended, the missionary was spending the day fasting. Before he was taken away, he asked his captors if he could be alone for a few moments to pray. Two days later, his body was found. The rebels had murdered him. The brother left behind a widow and several children. He had been working to start a small, evangelical church in the area on behalf of a local mission group, Good News Mission. This organization has a growing outreach among working class people in a number of Colombian cities.
The rebels told a second pastor from the same area that he was next on their agenda and would be killed if he continued his work. This man was establishing a Christian radio station. Despite the threat to his personal safety, this pastor continues the work on the station. Radio, with its potential outreach to thousands of Colombians, is considered an extremely serious threat to the rebel terrorists.
Although he was warned to leave the area for the safer environs of Bogotá, he has refused, saying he is more than willing to give his life for Jesus.
The brother who sent us this report lamented the fact that the secular media in Colombia does not even report such tragic events. Sad to say, the same can be said of the secular media in the United States and Western world.
It is only as Christians become aware of what is taking place and become burdened enough to pray and act on behalf of our suffering brethren that these stories will get out and public officials will be forced to do something.
Our plea is for you to become involved.