PERSECUTED INDIGENOUS COLOMBIAN CHRISTIANS GROW SPIRITUALLY THROUGH OPEN DOORS TRAINING SEMINAR
More than 1,200 Nasa believers joined together over a period of three days in June to attend training held by Open Doors in Huila, Colombia. The format of the sessions was carefully modified to fit the context of the Nasa believers.
Nasa Christians often face displacement by their own tribe because they believe in Jesus. This affects not only the adults, but also the children. One of the goals of the training was to specifically teach the children. This was accomplished by playing games and reading Bible stories aloud.
There was much joy and excitement, not only for the children but for the entire community. The gathering was a time of rest. They were temporarily free of persecution and free to worship God.
During the day, believers gathered in groups. The biblical story of Ruth opened the eyes of the women to see the loving care of God when they — just like Ruth— had to start all over again in a new land. The men came together to think about being an example of Christ for their wives and families. For the youth, the topic of the weekend was “Identity in Christ.” They were challenged to live out a Christian life while being oppressed and persecuted.
The gathering was not only a great way to strengthen the believers personally, but also a time for them to connect with one another. Within the Nasa culture, speaking about faith is not very common, even among families. So witnessing the church rising up and praying and learning together was a great blessing.
What the team hoped and prayed for actually was accomplished. The Holy Spirit touched the hearts of many men and women to become stronger in their faith. Young people who were at the point of abandoning church became encouraged and chose to continue serving the Lord despite difficult circumstances.
Colombia is ranked #35 on the Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List (www.worldwatchlist.us) of the worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.