One of the most dangerous cities in Colombia is Buenaventura. Located near the Pacific Ocean, this big city is well known for its excessive violence, kidnappings, killings and terror.
It all started in 1990 when the FARC (leftwing rebel organisation) began to grow coca and recruit young people to fight with them. Nowadays, criminal bands fight to keep the whole city under their control. There are even special houses where people are horribly killed. The city is divided by invisible borders and every area has its own ‘boss’.
In the midst of this, churches are also under attack. Just travelling from one part of the city to another can cause severe problems for pastors. Those who speak up about the violence are threatened and sometimes killed. Fear rules the area. Criminal bands also use cultic practices to terrorise believers and weaken the church. Pastors are praying for a change in the city. The violence is so intense that no one dares to speak about it because they are afraid of being killed. But pastors see it as an opportunity to share the gospel with gang members. Miracles happen. In some areas, pastors are respected by members of criminal bands.
Please send an encouraging card and reassure these pastors they are not alone – they would be thrilled to hear that you are praying for them.
One pastor says, “God is doing something wonderful here and the prayers of our brothers and sisters will complete what God is already doing here in Buenaventura.” Please also bear in mind that many of them only speak Spanish, so write in simple English or, if you can, Spanish. You can choose to write to pastors in general or write to specific pastors from the list below:
Here are some simple letter-writing guidelines to help you as you write.
Please put all your letters and cards in one envelope and send to Open Doors UK, PO Box 6, Witney, OX29 6WG.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.