Seven Christian families from the Arhuaco indigenous community in Santa Marta were displaced by the traditional authorities because they refused to renounce their faith in Jesus. They arrived at a place where another 23 displaced families were living; they had been expelled from their lands in 2011 because they chose to become believers.
Among these 30 families now living in this make-shift community are almost 300 people, including 150 children, 20 elderly people, and 10 women who had been abandoned by their husbands when they decided to follow Jesus. Open Doors spoke with a woman from this community, and she said that the authorities are pressuring the young people to renounce their faith in Jesus in exchange for money.
“In Colombia, there are 4.9 to 5.5 million displaced according to a report prepared by the church through the National Secretariat of Social Pastoral, on the basis of data collected by the Service Center for Internally Displaced Persons. The Catholic Church in Colombia has launched new actions to help people fleeing the civil war, through programs and projects implemented in centers and parishes in the country. According to the latest report by IDMC (Internal Displacement Monitoring Center) Colombia is the country in the world with the largest number of internally displaced persons, followed by Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).” (Agenzia Fides 07/05/2013)
Indigenous groups have intensified their attitude against Christianity and through national agreements between communities have closed the entrance to Christian missionaries, considering them a threat against the preservation of their thought and ancient culture. In some regions, the guerrillas have helped the indigenous leaders to attack and put out Christians from indigenous reservations. The constitution gave autonomy to leaders of the indigenous communities to make decisions according to their ancestral tradition. This has been increasing persecution against Christians without any control from government. Although this has happened for several years, only until a year and a half ago has it been made visible due to the allegations made by indigenous Christians themselves.
Father, we lift up these children of Yours as they stand strong in their faith despite the opposition. We pray for them as they are cast out of their homes and their land. We pray for their protection from attack and for Your provision of the daily necessities of shelter, food, and water. We pray for the children that they might receive adequate education, and that they might grow in the knowledge of Your Word. We pray for the youth; that You would draw them into a solid relationship with You and that they might remain strong in their faith. We pray that You would raise up leaders to guide the people in worship and shepherd them in their walk with Christ. We also pray that the gospel would be ignited in the hearts of many, redeeming the hearts of men and the culture in which they live. In the name of Jesus, our Shield and Protector, Amen.