Indigenous Believers in the Midst of Crossfire in Colombia

October 20, 2014 by Open Doors in Latin America/Caribbean

Fear is growing among Christians from the indigenous community Puinabe, (Guainia region) because of the constant pressure from the Colombian army. The Army is forcing Christians in the area to sign documents allowing them to occupy areas where FARC rebels engage in illegal mining.

On the other side of the conflict, guerilla commanders maintain constant surveillance over the population, determined to prevent residents from signing these documents. Those who do sign them are accused of being traitors. In addition, guerillas hope that by regularly attending meetings and exerting pressure on the indigenous governor who is a Christian, they can convince the governor to expel the army from the region.

The Christian community is caught in the crossfire between these two powerful forces, the army and the FARC rebels. Faced with a difficult choice, the believers fear retaliation from the rebels if they cooperate with the army’s demands, which would mean increased recruitment of young people within their community. They are also hesitant to go against the demands of the powerful Colombian army.

Colombia is listed in the 25th position on the 2014 World Watch List. Despite ongoing dialogue between the government and FARC rebels, levels of violence in Colombia are at an all-time high. In areas where the government has lost control of public security, drug cartels and illegal armed groups operate with complete impunity. Christians who play prominent roles in social or public life face opposition because of their witness in social and political activities. Within indigenous communities, converts to Christianity are seen as a threat to the indigenous culture and traditions. Christian converts are often displaced from their lands, churches are monitored and gender-based violence targeting Christians is on the increase.

Father, as Christians in Colombia, caught in the crossfire between the government and rebel guerrilla militia, cry out to You, we pray with confidence that even now, You are daily bending Your ear to hear and responding to their cries. We pray for Your protection over the governor of this community, and pray for abundant wisdom to be poured out onto him, and to other Christians leaders, as they sort through the current conflict. Strengthen them in their earthly weakness to stand boldly and humbly in godly truth and integrity. We pray especially for the young indigenous people as they experience tremendous pressure to join the guerrillas, who exert so much power in the region. Grant them strength to persevere in the knowledge of the gospel. In the name of Jesus, our strength in times of trouble, Amen.

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