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Naldo: A Tragedy in Colombia

Colombia
Children in Colombia

The previous post told about Naldo, an 18-year-old house church leader in Colombia. Read more about him and his family below.

Naldo’s father, Pastor Adriano, has been a pastor since Naldo was baby. Guerrillas and violent groups have made it difficult for him to do the usual work of a pastor.

  • For safety reasons, Pastor Adriano doesn’t travel down the same road twice.
  • The guerrillas do not let Christians take up an offering.
  • Pastors are not allowed to say anything bad about guerrillas.
  • The guerrillas tell pastors not to have meetings for worship.

So pastors travel to other places to visit and meet with church members. Sometimes they walk five or six hours to reach the homes of church members.

But even then, Pastor Adriano is not safe from guerrillas. So he sends Naldo to visit Christians in the area. Because Naldo is a youth, the guerrillas don’t suspect him of being a preacher.

A Tragedy
Naldo started a Christian children’s group in a nearby village. Juliana was a 12-year-old girl in his group.

The guerrillas try to get youth to join their ranks, become guerrillas, and fight with them. Juliana was from a very poor family.

The guerrillas promised Juliana money if she became a guerrilla. They brought her gifts and food. They told her she could keep going to church if she joined them. But they were lying.

On a summer day in 2014, Juliana left her home and disappeared into the jungle with a guerrilla. She probably soon realized that life as a guerrilla was very hard work. The girls have to fix meals for the men, gather firewood, and do whatever the leaders tell them. Juliana would not have been allowed to visit her family or go to church.

Juliana tried to escape, but the guerrillas stopped her and treated her very harshly. Sadly, she died from her injuries.

Juliana’s family was very sad. Pastor Adriano and Naldo were very sad, but they continue to trust God. They help the people in the red zone trust Him, too. They have even led some guerrillas to Christ.

“Why do you stay?” someone asked Pastor Adriano.

“Because God has put me there,” the pastor answered. “I am sure that God has put me there.”

(Sources include: VOM sources and the March 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter.)

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.)


Naldo, Boy Preacher

Colombia

Naldo lives in a “red zone” in Colombia. (Read more about red zones in the post “A Brave Son.”) He is 18 years old, and he has a brother and a sister. Their father is a pastor.

“I have always liked to preach and to serve,” said Naldo. “I wanted to preach when I was 7, and my dad would let me speak. I was baptized when I was 12, and when I was 13 I started my first house church. We would sing and read the Bible, and I would teach. We prayed together a lot.”

Naldo knows it can be dangerous to follow Christ in the red zones. “My trust is in God,” Naldo said. “He is the one who called me. I only fear God.

“Since I was a little boy my mom always taught me that we can’t be scared of the devil. When we were growing up, we would hear combat every day. There were landmines everywhere. That helped me get rid of the fear. I learned that God can keep you safe in any war.

“One time…when I was 7…I was in the house, and someone threw a grenade in the house. It landed about 10 feet away from me. God watched over us because none of us were hurt. My sister…was bleeding, but it was just a superficial wound.

“The mercy of God has kept us until today….My brother stepped on a landmine. It should have blown him up. He should have been dead. But all that happened was his ears popped, and he was fine.”

Naldo and his family will continue to minister where they believe God has called them.

Read more about Naldo’s life in Colombia in an upcoming post.
Get a Colombia lesson plan for teachers.
Download the Bold Believers in Colombia country/activity book from the Downloads section.


Simon and Sara: Another Story

Colombia
A FARC guerrilla

Two previous posts include stories about Simon and Sara, Christians who minister in guerrilla-controlled areas of Colombia.

One night last year, guerrillas on motorcycles kidnapped Simon and Sara from their home in the middle of the night! When Simon and Sarah’s five children woke up in the morning, they were startled to realize that their parents were gone.

In the meantime, the guerrillas had finally stopped their motorcycles at 7 a.m. They ordered Simon and Sara to get off. “I was very scared,” said Simon. “My wife was remembering how her parents died and thinking about our own five children.”

Simon and Sara had been taken to a FARC commander. “The purpose was to punish us for not obeying the rules,” said Simon. “No more sermons.” Simon and Sara prayed while they waited for the commander to talk to them.

But at 8 a.m. the commander decided he would not meet with them. Simon and Sara were set free and left standing in the road while the guerrillas dropped out of sight into the jungle.

Simon and Sara were able to get home by 11 a.m., and their children were happy to see them.

They know that they could be kidnapped again at any time. “I don’t think I am stronger than anybody,” said Simon. “I am not smarter or stupider than anybody.” Simon knows he is an ordinary man being used by God. With the support of his brothers and sisters in Christ, he is eager to continue sharing the truth of the gospel with his neighbors.


Simon and Sara Speak Boldly to Guerrillas

Canoe
Simon takes people to church in a canoe

The previous post told about Simon and Sara, Christians who live with their five children in a “red zone” in Colombia.

When Sara was 8 years old, her parents were killed by FARC guerrillas. She and her four brothers were left orphans. Sara trusted in Christ as her Savior at age 15. Later she married Simon, and they serve God together.

Last year, Sara heard that one of the commanders who was responsible for the death of her parents was on trial for another crime. Sara went to meet the guerrilla. She told him, “I forgive you for killing my mother; for killing my father. You have hurt me a lot, but now I go and talk to the people, preaching.

Simon has also boldly spoken the truth to guerrillas. He had led at least one FARC member to Christ. The guerrilla used to be a body guard for a cruel, violent FARC commander. The former bodyguard now attends a church prayer group, having given his heart and life to Jesus.

(Source: The March 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter)

To Think About
Why did Sara go talk to the guerrilla? Couldn’t she have forgiven him in her heart without speaking to him? Why was it important for him to hear her testimony?


A Brave Son

FARC
A FARC guerrilla

Red zones: Red zones are areas in Colombia that are ruled by violent groups who want to control everything that happens in their area.

Guerrillas: Guerrillas are people who carry out acts of war, even though they aren’t part of a regular army. One guerrilla group is “FARC” (rhymes with “dark”).

Simon and Sara live with their five children in a red zone in Colombia. They are Christians who moved to the jungle area to try to share the gospel with people there.

It’s not easy preaching in the red zones. FARC has let Simon and Sara know that they are not welcome to have a church there. “They want to kill us,” said Simon.

One day a FARC soldier came to Simon and Sara’s house. He kicked in the door and demanded, “Bring the pastor!”

But Simon was not at home. Simon’s 8-year-old son boldly said to the guerrilla, “Are you here to kill my father? If you are, we won’t be friends anymore.”

The FARC soldier laughed and patted the boy on the head, “Your father will not die today,” he said. He asked the boy to pray for him, then he disappeared back into the jungle.

(Source: The March 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed.)

To Think About
Some guerrillas are tired of violence and breaking the law. Do you think the guerrilla who came to Simon and Sara’s house might be one of them? Pray for Simon and Sara’s family, for the guerrilla who came to their house, and for all the FARC guerrillas to know Jesus and give up their violent ways.