Report from Colombia by
Russell and Marina Stendal
We would like to give a special thanks to all of our prayer partners and supporters. 2017 has been a very special year. We see the Peace Treaty being implemented here in Colombia as a giant opportunity for the gospel and all of you have helped us follow up on the marvelous opportunities that God is providing. We all know that lasting peace is only possible as hearts are surrendered to the Prince of Peace.
The Peace Treaty has been yielding some unexpected dividends for ministry into previously inaccessible areas. I recently traveled with a Naza Indian guide back into the high mountains of the central ridge of the Andes. We went up into the high Páramo (alpine meadows above the timberline) to the highest mountain on one of the reserves. Here nestled into a fertile vale about two thirds of the way up the massive mountain we arrived at a little church that had been founded back in 1960.
The building was located two hours by trail from the nearest town so that drunken villagers celebrating frequent pagan festivals could not easily burn it down on a whim. We were greeted by the lead elder, named Macedonio (Macedonian), and another elder, named Evangelist. They were my age, early 60´s, and were born to Christian parents. The entire area had suffered almost uninterrupted persecution of every imaginable source for over eighty years. Direct access into this area was still virtually impossible, as we would have to pass through innumerable drug growing areas filled with hostile people.
The Lord, however, opened the way for us when key leaders of the neighboring Guambiano tribe had been converted; including the Vice-Governor and the Mayor of the Guambiano Capital, called Silvia. This relationship, coupled with the recent surrender of the guerrillas that had been operating in the area, gave us a back door into this strategic spot (and many others). We quickly installed a medium power FM radio station and studio into a convenient side room of the little church. The congregation had been praying for this for many years (and this was the second such station I had installed in two weeks).
Looking up the vast mountain, I inquired about going up as far as possible in order to position a transmitter that could reach the horde of drug growers and mafia all along the winding valleys below. The church was at nine thousand feet, too high for drug growing, and the Christian Naza were able to eke out a living with small vegetable gardens and a few milk cows while their unconverted counterparts below make ten times more money farming marijuana, cocaine and heroine along with all the associated violence, unrest and curse. After a brisk half hour hike up the side of the mountain, we came to the last house that had electrical power. The owner, also about my age, came out smiling and informed me that his name was Biblical. I replied, “That is nice, but exactly what is your name?” After quite a bit of confusion, I finally realized that his name was exactly what he had said, “Biblical”.
We came back a few days later with our electrical crew and fixed up the power lines to Biblical´s house so that we had two-phase (220 volt) current. In the meantime, Biblical and his friends had built a little mud-walled transmitter shed where we are planning to install a major transmitter with special pre-evangelistic and evangelistic programming aimed at the drug growers, gangs, kidnappers, mafia and other difficult elements down below. The powerful people in the military and government have now realized the only way to bring peace to these difficult rural areas is with the gospel.
Pray that we will continue to have the resources and equipment to install as many transmitters as necessary throughout all the areas where God has carefully raised up so many dedicated believers in the midst of such hardship and danger.
Bible without Borders
Our Bibles Without Borders project continues and we are in the midst of publishing several editions (some specially ear marked for Venezuela). These new Bibles will all have complete dictionaries and other amenities. In addition to the small compact Bibles we prepared to give out to soldiers and combatants, we are now developing beautiful study Bibles for emerging Christian leaders at a very reasonable cost. There is a tremendous move of God going on in Venezuela in the midst of great turmoil and poverty. Many people are turning to the Lord who cannot even obtain basic food or toilet paper and there are virtually no Bibles. We are praying that the Lord will provide another million Bibles to stoke the fire of revival in all of the difficult places here in Colombia and surrounding countries along with the supporting literature that we have been developing to prevent emerging leaders and new Christians from getting picked off by the cults.
Here in Bogotá, the Lord has been opening doors among the National Police. Russ Jr. plays soccer on Saturdays with a select group and it turned out that one of his teammates is a high-ranking Police General along with a number of key individuals. Then several retired Generals were healed after Albert prayed for them. We recently had meetings with up to five active duty Police Generals who have come to the Lord and they have been inviting us to come and minister and pray for the men and women under them. At the last meeting, Albert and I were both given a special gold medallion award from the General and high command of an elite unit that fights kidnapping and extortion for our spiritual work and encouragement.
We would like to do a special Bible edition for the more than 220,000 members of the police force with their motto on it (God and Country). There is a Christian police officers association that has about 500 members. In the Colombian Army there are tens of thousands of believers, but it has been much slower going with the police. However, we believe that this is about to change. It would be great if we could provide each member of the police with their own special Bible.
If you are interested in purchasing Bibles for the Colombian Police or for Bibles to be distributed in Venezuela, please contact our office.
Thank you once again for all your prayers and support in 2017.
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