Christian Persecution in
Latin America?

At first sight you'd probably not realize a Christian persecution in Colombia. But there is, even in some other Latin American countries. Yet the reasons here are very different to those in Islamic ruled countries for example, or where it is officially or unofficially forbidden to worship the God of the Bible.

It is no ideologically organized terror against believers, here it is the civil war that has caused it. This armed conflict is going on for over 4 decades now. Guerilla, military, paramilitia and drug mafia are fighting each other, each one trying to get hold over the country. Attacks against the civil population is daily seen.

Christians are sort of a "disturbing factor" to all those groups. For whoever has accepted Jesus as his/her personal redeemer, won't take part in drug dealings any longer, for example and will even try to get others away from it. This, of course, "ruins" business... Whoever comes to faith in the leftist guerilla units or right wing paramilitia even in the military forces, won't apply violence anymore and will stand up for those he once had attacked and persecuted. This reduces those units, they lose their predominance, protection monies decline... Christian faith was thus being declared "enemy", since faith turns against such criminal actions. Those groups are often being commanded by great land owners that call themselves "Christians"...

Protestant churches are usually the only socially interested organizations that refuse to pay protection monies or grow drugs, what mafia groups urge hundreds of thousands of farmers into doing. Thus, pastors are being killed and churches distroyed. Many Christians flee into big cities, because the fightings usually take place in rural, pathless areas. But exactly in those highly persecuted areas, more and more people are coming to faith. There have been enormous revivals. Which, of course, causes a yet higher number of victims of those merciless gangs. Polititians and judges have seemingly no control over this. Corruption is another factor in this shaken country and its people. Whole congregations celebrating their worship services have already been abducted. Even foreigners are not exempt. Some people are being kept hostage for years already. The internationally operating aid organization for Christian refugees Open Doors has this country also on their persecution index. Check out the country information in their homepage.

Colombia is considered one of the countries with the most high criminality rate. If you want to travel there, please do ask about security information at your local office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or here.

Please pray for the Christians in Colombia. Those drug dealers and mafia criminals should be stopped having a whole country under their reign. Pray for THEM to come to faith, too! God is longing also for them. Please take this country and its people into your prayerlists!

Report by "Voice of the Martyrs", July 7, 2011

May 14, 2009
Christian couple killed
Unbekannte schossen mehrmals auf Ex-Rebellen.
German Evangelical News Agency idea

Bogota (idea) – A Christian married couple has been shot dead in Colombia. According to Christian relief organization Open Doors, two men invaded the house of Emilse Maria del Carmen and José Rodriguez in La Esmeralda in Arauca province, on this past April 24.

The woman was shot at eight times and her husband six times. They both died later in the hospital. They are survived by three children: their nine-year-old Heydi, two-year-old Ambar Gricet and two-month-old Juán José. The couple were members of the Pentecostal denomionation "Assemblies of God". Years ago, both murdered Christians had connections to leftist Guerilla group ELN (National Liberation Army). José Rodriguez was in charge of recruting combatants and left the insurgents eight years ago, after he became a Christian. Also Emilse was active with the insurgents and left the group as well because of her conversion. Their families assume that the reason for their killings was their leading role at church. According to Open Doors, pastors and church leaders who are unwilling to coorperate, are being threatened and attacked by ELN and FARC-EP.

April 21st, 2009
Three Evangelical Christians murdered
German Evangelical News Agency idea

B o g o t a (idea) – Within two weeks, three evangelical Christians were murdered in Colombia. The most recent victims are worship singer Francisco Meléndez (46) – known as Chico Meléndez – and his brother-in-law.

Their dead bodies were found shot on April 13, in Caucasia (Region Antioquia), as to reports on April 21st by relief organization Open Doors. Chicio Meléndez traveled the North of Colombia, evangelizing with his songs. Informants of Open Doors assume that leftist insurgents are behind the offence. Already on March 30, 41-year-old Luís Edilberto Velázquez had been shot dead, while reparing his taxi. He was involved in a Pentecostal church in Arauca. According to Open Doors, the insurgent groups are increasing their endeavors to control the churches. Several more church leaders have been evicted from the province. There are threats against the Christian mayor of Saravena and Arauquita. More than 100 pastors and church assistants have been murdered since the year 2000 in Colombia. Many of them fell victim to those assassinations because they were actively involved against the organized crime, says Open Doors. It can be life threatening for an insurgent to become a Christian.

March 22nd, 2009
Guerillas threaten Evangelical Christians
Pastor abducted – Evangelical Christians are "the biggest enemies".
German Evangelical News Agency idea

B o g o t a (idea) - Evangelical Christians are still being threatened and killed by leftist guerilla groups in Colombia. A pastor in north eastern administrative district Arauca is receiving threats by National Liberation Army ELN, as is reported by information service Compass Direct.

Insurgents had ordered him to come to a meeting point on March 13, and there had been taken him to their guerilla camp beyond the border to Venezuela. Then the pastor, who asked to be kept anonymous out of fear of being murdered, was being given the choice of either working together with the insurgents or be killed. The same applies for other pastors of the region. In the southwest of Colombia, the combatants of the Marxist revolutionary forces (FARC) had killed four Christians last November. Pastor Hernán Camacho and his family left the area, because also he has received death threats. The FARC-rebels look at Evangelicals as the biggest enemies, because they teach people not to touch weapons anymore, says Camacho. As can be seen from the Annual Report 2008 of the US Commission for international religious freedom, 14 Christian leaders were being targeted by the insurgents, because they had openly criticized the terror organizations. Only very little is being reported on such incidents because the churches are afraid of revenge. As to reports by the Human Rights Organization "Christian Solidarity Worldwide", more than 100 pastors and church leaders were killed in Colombia since the year 2000. Many of them had rejected to pay protection monies to the guerilla groups or were against the recruiting of young soldiers from their churches.

July 13, 2007
Two Pentecostal Pastors Shot Dead
Followers Of Guerilla Movement FARC Are Being Suspected To Have Committed The Crime
Stimme der Märtyrer, German office of VOM

idea – In Colombia, two Pentecostal pastors were shot dead. Armed guerilla first abducted Humberto Mendez (63) and Joel Cruz Garcia (27) during an open air church service in El Dorado in the south of the country. Shot into their heads they were found the next day in that same area, reports news agency ASSIST (Lake Forest, Ca.). Authorities uad church leaders assume that the delinquents belong to left wing guerilla movement "Revolutionary Forces of Colombia" (FARC). The movement, being active since 1964 and calling themselves marxist, has many followers in that area. However, the motive for the deed is not clear. Some are blaming the missionary actions of the pastors. Others think it is a reaction to local churches having participated in nationwide protests against terrorism and abductions. The families of the victims declare that they have not received any prior warning. According to human rights organization "Christian Solidarity International" CSI, these murders are no single cases. Since the year 2000, more than 100 pastors and leading church assistants were killed nationwide. Many of them had rejected to pay protection monies to guerilla groups or had turned against the recruiting of young soldiers from their churches. Although FARC is not to be blamed for all assaults, yet for most of them.

Teachers Forced to Deny Christ
VOM Sources, February 6, 2007

A VOM contact reports that three teachers working with a tribal group are being forced to deny Christ in order to be permitted to teach for the next year. All three teachers intend to stand firm. An effort is being made in some of the tribal areas to eliminate Christianity. Pray God gives these believers courage to stand against this persecution. Ask God to protect them and use their experiences to bring others to Christ. 1 Corinthians 16:13

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