Update From: Russell Stendal
On Mother’s Day, I spoke at the Naza Indian community called The Greatness of God in Morales, Cauca. They have prospered naturally and spiritually after faithfully coming through much tribulation and persecution. The Nazas are a subdivision of the Paez (Colombia’s largest tribe) and were part of the hotbed where the guerrilla movement began in May of 1964. Now, there are more than one hundred thousand Christians of Indian descent in the southwest corner of Colombia. The main group of Naza Christians now number almost 15,000 and they have been very effective and dynamic at evangelism to the extent that some who used to persecute Christians have now come to Christ. The Indian congregations have sent evangelists and even large evangelistic teams into some of the most difficult areas.
Lightning Strikes and Conflict
In recent weeks, ELN guerrillas and right wing paramilitary units have been fighting intensely in Cauca and have converged on the municipality of Morales where we have several radio stations. There are many Christian communities between the Paez and Guambiano Indians that we support. The Colombian authorities (police and army) have their hands full trying to maintain law and order. Several weeks ago, one of our key transmitters on a remote mountain peak was hit by lightning and we are unable to get through all the violence and confusion safely in order to replace it. We were, however, able to start a standby transmitter on another mountain ridge a hundred miles away and resume some of the coverage, but will not be able to regain radio coverage of the important pacific coast until we can safely reach the original site. Please pray for this situation. The mountain we need to reach in order to install the new transmitter is called Munchique.
We will soon be licensing Indian chaplains who under our legal charter will have the authority to minister in public schools, prisons, hospitals and at police and military bases. In the midst of all the flurry of activity in this area of the country, we regret to inform you that we will be closing our rented missionary base south of Cali due to lack of funds. This is where we have been managing over a dozen radio stations, massive literature outreach, evangelistic events and discipleship and outreach materials including Bibles for the ministry of over a thousand leaders. Pray that the Lord will provide everything we need to continue outreach in this area of unprecedented revival. It is not enough just to obtain initial commitments to Jesus; the new believers must be fed and brought to maturity in Christ so that they will bear good fruit and continue to multiply.
Bible’s without Borders
In the far east along the Colombia Venezuela border we are ramping up our Bibles Without Borders program in which former guerrillas who used to kill pastors and burn down church buildings are now smuggling Bibles across the closed border into Venezuela to encourage beleaguered pastors and evangelists there. Everything is going extremely well except there is a need for many more Bibles than what we are currently able to provide even though many Colombians are beginning to rise to the challenge and donate money for Bibles. Please continue to pray for Venezuela.
Thank you for your faithful support during the summer months!
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