Colombia (MNN) — Colombia's guerrilla and criminal groups have
long been persecutors of the church.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are known to target
Christian leaders who actively oppose the drug trade and other corruption in
According to Voice of the Martyrs
Canada, this harassment has extended to pastors and youth leaders, too. As
they share the hope of Christ, their influence on young people makes it difficult
for Colombian Marxist and paramilitary groups to recruit them into their ranks.
The good news is that it seems there's
been a break in the action. David Shibley with Global Advance says that's why
they held a Frontline Shepherd's Conference in Medellin this month.
"They've had very strong government resistance against the cartels, so it
was an opportune time to go in and strengthen and encourage a church that
really has seen some victories in the last several years."
Rebels targeted church leaders
because they opposed corruption. However, he notes, "They
have been held at bay, and I believe a great reason for that has been the
strength of the church and the prayers of the people of God."
As the Global Advance team came
in with the FSC, it was clear that the
Colombian church's evangelistic fervor got the boost it needed. Shibley says, "Many of these young
people told me that because of this week, they want to commit themselves to the
cause of missionary service."
In addition to a Gospel sending
force, pastors made another commitment: "I challenged and encouraged them to
plant at least one new church within the next 12 months," explains Shibley,
adding, "Many hundreds of pastors responded to do so."
There are more than 125 other
Global Advance events scheduled for 2010. These conferences serve as catalysts for church planting and indigenous missions efforts. The
aim is to provide national pastors and church leaders with a vision in their
hearts for the advance of the Gospel.
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