The cartel, guerrilla groups and gangs carry a major influence as drugs are a major part of Colombia’s economy—coca is the plant used to create cocaine and is vastly grown throughout Colombia. Lives become threatened when Christian leaders speak out against these gangs and their activities. Countless believers have experienced extreme violence at the hands of these groups.
Bishop Rubén knows the violence and intimidation of these groups firsthand. Being on alert after three religious leaders had already been murdered in Colombia, he knew he had to be careful with what he said publicly about such groups. However, his commitment to his faith demanded he speak out.
In areas where there is high cartel influence, the communities feel the detrimental impact. Bishop Rubén saw the fear in his community and demanded the cartels leave. His choice almost cost him his life.
Cartels arrived at Bishop Rubén’s doorstep and commanded him to stop his message. His community heard about the cartel’s interference and many became afraid to even attend church.
David Curry, President and CEO of Global Christian Relief, says, “The situation for followers of Jesus [in Colombia] is deteriorating very rapidly, especially in the countryside. For example, Christian farmers in Colombia who refuse to grow the coca leaf face some of the most intense persecution in the world—death by drug cartel.
“We need to stand with persecuted Christians in Colombia through prayer and support and let them know they are not alone. The church is primed to be an anchor for these communities, a refuge from the violence and corruption, a place for healing.”
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, it says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
What an answer for our brothers and sisters in Colombia, to pray without ceasing. Let’s come before our Lord now and pray for Bishop Rubén and the many Christians facing persecution in Colombia.
Jesus Christ, our glorious Savior, we ask that You help our brothers and sisters of faith in Colombia. Remove from them any fear and discouragement. Fill their hearts with Your courage, love and renewed hope.
Give supernatural protection from those that would harm them. Let them be strengthened and protected. And shift the hearts of those involved in the drug industry. Bring them to salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
For more stories from Colombia, watch our new, limited series “Unshakeable Faith,” where we meet with believers in the region and hear their incredible stories of commitment, passion and unwavering hope. Watch the trailer below then follow the link here to explore the complete episode.