In a small village in Colombian, 139 indigenous believers had bravely chosen to leave their livelihoods and familiar homes rather than deny Christ. As they sat together, contemplating their situation, the enormous needs facing them were impossible to ignore. Some of them secretly wondered whether or not they had made the right decisions.
The indigenous authorities in their village approached them last year with the demand that they sign a document renouncing their beliefs or face the consequences. Overwhelmed by what awaited them if they refused, they agreed to sign the document. Unable to shake the conviction that they had made the wrong decision, they removed their names from the document. Rather than face violent consequences, they chose to leave the region in April 2013, and walk away from everything they had ever known.
“Despite being threatened and tortured, I cannot renounce Jesus,” shared one of the Christian men involved. “I made the decision to follow him.”
Homeless and deprived of their livelihoods, they relied heavily on the generosity of strangers, praying that someone would offer a piece of land where they might set up temporary housing. A farmer eventually agreed to let the group stay on his property temporarily, but after 10 months, he forced them to leave because he did not approve of his land being used for Christian activities.
Since being expelled from the farm, they have set up temporary housing in a village called El Pital, near Potrerito. Their living condition remains unstable, with many still living in makeshift homes constructed from bits of wood and plastic- a far cry from the homes they left behind.
In Colombia, indigenous converts to Christianity are particularly vulnerable to persecution from local authorities. Open Doors reports that converts to Christianity in the Cauca region are regularly denied access to basic social services and equal participation in decision-making, and they risk being tortured or displaced.
Father, we have prayed often for Christians in Colombia who are often sent away from homes and villages to find shelter in neighboring villages. Thank You that Your Word is being spread in Colombia, and that lives are being redeemed and transformed through Christ. But with the success of the gospel comes opposition from Satan, we pray Your hand of protection over these Christ-ones, giving thanks for their courage and trust to remain true to their Savior. Grant them wisdom and guidance to live among those opposed to Christ. Lead them to permanent places to live and provide for their needs of food and health care and education; that Your Word might continue to go forth in power and authority. In the name of Jesus, whom they serve in faith, Amen.