A meeting of the minds in Bogota, Colombia.

By April 22, 2004

Colombia (MNN)–Colombia is considered to be one of the most violent countries in the world.

Guerrilla movements, right-wing paramilitary and drug-trafficking barons fight for control of the country. There are over 1 million internally displaced refugees.

Against that backdrop, the evangelical church burst forth with a fantastic vision. However, as church leaders soon found, the message of the Gospel and the hope that it brings, didn’t sit well with the drug lords.

As people responded to Christ, they withdrew from the drug trade. Their ‘handlers’ started targeting effective ministries in an effort to shut down their voice. Pastors and church leaders were starting to feel the effects, and called for help.

That assistance was slow in coming. However, a new message is being formed and carried to the church in Colombia: “You haven’t been forgotten.”

In fact, a group of American pastors is there forging new relationships. Mission Network News’ Dave Culross joined an Open Doors delegation and filed this report. “The specific purpose of this trip is to connect 24 pastors from Denver, Colorado with a group of pastors from Colombia and find ways to spread the Gospel across that persecuted country.”

That’s the first step. Culross explains that this trip is more than a fact finding mission. “The pastors from Denver will be seeing firsthand what the persecuted church is suffering in a war torn country in South America. The reports come across our newswires all the time of the hostages being taken, the rebels slaughtering government officials, and this impacts the church there as well. We are expecting some outstanding results from this pioneering effort. No one else is doing anything of this nature in Colombia, and we expect it to have a tremendous impact on the outreach of the Gospel there. ”

Tuesday, the team travels to a ministry that works with orphan children, many of whom are survivors of the war. Open Doors teams care for the physical needs of the children, sharing the hope of Christ along the way.

Later, the delegation goes back to Bogota to meet with pastors from all over Colombia and build a vision to partnership.

Open Doors’ calling especially includes the training of pastors and church leaders in evangelism, equipping them to effectively proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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