By Samuel David Hernandez
After the tremendous success we had with our friends in reaching the Paez Indians in Cauca, we are in the midst of a new and great opportunity to help another Christian Paez community. The community in Cauca has come from persecution, displacement and misery to self-sustainment, stability and overcoming evil with good by sharing God's grace to those who used to persecute them. This illustrates the power of God's grace to do what we cannot do on our own. In the past, our friends from Finland helped purchase land the Paez Indians now call "God's Greatness."
Our partners in Finland said this was the most successful project known to them around the world. In just one year, almost 500 people (Including more than 100 children) have reached economic self-sustainability and spiritual encouragement. We all know this didn't happen because of man's wisdom, but because of the LORD´s mercy over them, allowing us to be part of His work. Our friends from Cauca are living proof that Psalm 37:25 rings true.
“…I have been young and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:25
This Paez community consists of approximately 31 families, almost 200 people including 39 children. Evangelisto and Maria Teresa are the Christian elders who are leading and training this group in the ways of the LORD. They grew up with the example of missionaries from the United States and Canada who brought the Gospel to the Paez tribe in the mountains of Huila more than 70 years ago. They were displaced and persecuted by their own tribe because of their faith and with the little they had, they acquired a piece of land in between a narrow country road and a precipice. Maria is the teacher of the humble school and Evangelisto works the land with the other men. These families are all paying off the debt of the land by growing and selling coffee. I have personally visited them in many occasions with a health brigade operated by our friend, Dr. Fernando. We have witnessed the hard work of these people and we have been very encouraged by their faith. They grow the coffee on a steep slope of the precipice very skillfully hanging by ropes. Any carelessness is fatal.
We greatly encourage you to pray for these friends. There is a big possibility that the owner of the land next to their property will sell part of her farm to them. VOM Canada, through our Canadian charity Colombia Para Cristo, is supporting this endeavor with a down payment for this property and we are in negotiation with the owner who seems to be the only trustworthy person in the area with legal documents to the land. (A very good friend of ours, who is a lawyer, is verifying this process.) After the land is acquired, we are praying for support and provision with the construction of little cabins, electricity, a little Christian school, water treatment plants for the community, etc.
In Cauca, HMK from Germany helped us with purchasing a big portable CampWater system. This new area will need a CampWater system as well.
Radio Station Outreach Opportunity
Another great opportunity is to have a radio station in this area since this community is located on one of the highest mountains of Huila on the boarder with Cauca. Russell and the guys here are doing their best to help with Christian communication and radio stations for those very strategic hostile areas. These remote stations require a lot of equipment and many other expenses involved with the transportation and installation. (This is not counting the many hours of audio recording of programs, music and preaching to be able to have a very clean message to share by AM, FM and Shortwave antennas.)
You will be glad to know that Kelly (the widow of our friend, Pabel, who was martyred for his faith in 2014) is very involved in helping us with this project. Kelly and her two children are doing well and she continues to pour into the lives of the Paez Indians. It is vitally important for us to continue distributing Bibles and Christian material especially in these hostile areas, which have been affected the most by the drug traffic. These locations, which used to be filled with cacao and coffee fields in the frontiers of Cuaca and Huila, are now a matter of urgent intercession. The drug traffickers are using radical Indians in these places, just as the casino owners used native territories in Canada and the USA, to avoid the authorities. But even with such oppression, our friends are determined to remain clean in this area. They are doing everything possible to reach those who are displaced, which many of them learned from the missionaries in the past. Russell's work has been a tremendous support for them and he has become the last missionary for them who remains firm and strong in the LORD and encourages them to do the same wherever the LORD places them.
Please pray for Marco´s family and the community in Cauca.
Marco is the Paez leader of the community in Cauca and his brother was murdered a few blocks from the community farm just a couple of days ago.
There is a lot of pressure from the mafia to force them to grow coca plants, but they have a very strong conviction not to do so.
There are even people from legal organizations and business men offering big money for the growing of coca and marijuana with the pretext of “medicinal treatments,” however our friends are determined not to get contaminated and to be the light and the salt where they are needed the most. The results of this labor have global repercussions.
If you would like to support the projects and ministry, please contact us.
Thank you for your prayers, support and standing with us in reaching Colombia.
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