Lomalinda is a beautiful place and located in the plains of eastern Colombia, however Lomalinda isn't flat. Lomalinda translates to “Beautiful Hill,” an apt name for this land. The rolling hills are a peaceful contrast from the stubbornly flat land it lies between. Sadly, Lomalinda has not seen peace for the last few decades. It has been smack in the middle of the war that has assailed Colombia for the better part of 50 years.
In the late 60's and early 70's, Wycliffe Bible Translators found this hidden paradise. Wycliffe settled there with my grandparents and father and started translating the Word of God into all the different indigenous languages in Colombia.
Wycliffe and other ministries left this land in the 80's and early 90's because the war got so heated. It was abandoned for many years and the once beautiful brick buildings were now just ruins leveled by the madness of war. My dad purchased some houses that were still standing and fixed them up in the late 90's. The Lord inspired him to turn this once linguistic and Bible translating facility into a center where the Word of God would be broadcast to all sides of the war. Not only were we broadcasting to the people in the war, but also our family was in the midst of it.
Lomalinda was our second home. We spent the same amount of time in Lomalinda as in our apartment in Bogota, maybe even more. Almost every month we had new neighbors, either Military, AUC Paramilitary or FARC communists depending on who had won the battles close by. We found favor in each group. I even played soccer with most of them. Volunteers helped us build the transmitter and powerplant sheds. Top broadcasting engineers from around the world set up a very powerful antenna for our shortwave stations. Disney donated one of the most powerful AM transmitters in the world and sent it to us in Colombia. I had never seen anything like it. These powerful behemoths could send out a signal of 50,000 watts and it could be amplified even more by the incredible antenna designs our top engineers invented. Our FM broadcasting tower was the 3rd highest in the country. The FM station's goal was to help the community because it was the only form of communication around. Rural families would use this method of communication to send messages to their family members in distant towns or farms. Families would send messages to their wayward sons and daughters in the FARC, and AUC paramilitary. It was even used to send messages to family members who were kidnapped by those terrorist groups.
It was beautiful. However, suddenly my dad and our family received continuous death-threats. Even people who dared to read our literature, received death threats. We left the area with the radio stations still working and with staff members still in charge. Our constant visits became once in a blue moon event.
The Lord redirected us to Cauca, an area on the other side of Colombia. We met Marco Tulio, a Nasa-Paez Indian who is the leader of a Christian displaced community. With international help, the Lord gave them land and in a year, they were self-sustainable. We came in contact with Guambiano Indians who had the first Christian evangelical church in Colombia. Whole areas of Colombia that were thought to be the most dangerous were now crawling with Christian Indians. We put radio stations in many of these areas. Amazingly, these Christians had the Bible in their language. Long ago missionaries traveled there and some came from the linguistic Bible translating center of Wycliffe in Lomalinda. Some were even sent out by my grandfather. Imagine that!
To our dismay, the radio stations in Lomalinda were robbed and vandalized at the end of 2018. Copper wire worth thousands of dollars were hacked and stolen. A priceless amount of damage to the state-of-the-art transmitters left us disheartened. My dad always told us the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever and that He always likes to make new things. Our Christian Indian brothers in Cauca wanted to help us. When Marco Tulio (the Indian leader) found out that our radio stations were in Lomalinda, he could not contain his joy. When he was just a child he remembers two missionaries who came from Lomalinda to translate the Bible he now uses in his community church. He told us, “We will help! That is where the gospel was sent for us. We have to help.” Now the Native Americans from the opposite side of Colombia are sending missionaries to Lomalinda! They want to maintain and protect what is left of our radio stations. More importantly, they feel inspired to make Lomalinda a center of formation for Christian Indigenous people of all tribes. Lomalinda, the “Beautiful Hill” is continuing to be a place to teach people of God, His Word and tools for manual trade to strengthen the communities.
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