As many of you know, the country outside of the USA that is most on our hearts is Colombia, South America. Every one of the ten times we have been there, we have ministered and functioned in complete liberty … without any fear while there. And occasionally, we have heard reports of pastors being threatened and/or kidnapped there … all of these reports are of native Colombians. Nonetheless, this article came across my desk this morning reminding me of the need to pray for Colombia and the pressing need to go there and equip, encourage, and restore the pastors and leaders there.

Colombia is currently ranked number 47 of the top 50 countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for their faith. Only 7.5% of her population consider themselves Evangelical Christians. I have copied below this most recent report which was published today, March 1, 2012 for an update of Colombia’s situation. Again, this is WHY we do what we do. This article can be found at: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/16892

Colombia (VCM/MNN)Although Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has had to alter the war against the state, they’re no less disruptive.

Recent media reports indicate the numbers have dropped dramatically.  From what was an estimated 20,000 soldiers, the numbers now seem closer to 8,000, which mean loss of control over populated territory.

That doesn’t lessen the threat of disruption, though.  The FARC guerrilla group prevented a Voice Of the Martyrs’ evangelist, "Rolo," from entering La Macarena region in Colombia with radios, Bibles and Christian books, a report confirmed by both Voice of the Martyrs offices in the U-S and Canada.

A VOM worker in the area reported that members of the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization are closing the churches and burning the buses of those attempting to enter the area.

Add in efforts to raise funds that keep both the leftist guerrillas and the right-wing paramilitary groups functioning, and the result is drug trafficking, ransom kidnapping and general lawlessness.

Most of the trouble comes from the alliances that exist between non-Christian indigenous population and paramilitaries.  They see Christians who openly oppose their activities as a threat.  

According to the religious rights watchdogs, last year, these groups killed at least five Christians, but the real numbers are likely higher.  The pressure isn’t lessening, either.  Last month, because of a successful evangelistic work, rebels murdered a pastor and two of his relatives.

Yet these cases prove the church is flourishing.  In 1933, there were estimates of 15,000 evangelical Christians in Colombia but by 2011, that number hovered between 3.5 and 5 million with some churches growing 1,000-fold over the last two decades.

Please pray that Rolo’s evangelistic efforts will not be thwarted.  Pray protection for pastors seeking to share the Gospel in their communities.

Colombia is #47 on the Open Doors World Watch List, which ranks 50 countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for their faith.