Monday, October 24, 2011

Fleeing Violence, Finding Christ

There are millions of internally displaced people in Colombia. This is largely due to armed drug traffickers and paramilitaries that control rural areas of the country. In recent years the Colombian government, with aid from American military and intelligence workers, has been able to curb some of the violence.

The effects of these armed groups, while slowed, still loom large over the country. According to one website on internally displaced persons, anywhere from 3.6 to 5.2 million Colombians are internally displaced, having had to flee their homes due to the violence.[1] I’ve read somewhere that around 1 million people in Bogotá alone are displaced.

Since these armed groups take refuge in the jungle, many native groups have been pulled into the conflict, threatened by the armed groups if they don’t grow drugs on their land for them. Some of them have left their villages to seek refuge in the city. That’s where the prayer request comes in today.

CHA AND TA OF COLOMBIA (chah; tah). There is an IMB family that has made contact with a group of Cha people in a major city who have been displaced because of the violence in the area where they lived. These Cha people came to the city hoping to find a new life, a job, food for their family, and rest from the violence. What awaited them however was more violence, poverty, hunger and a city that is cold and forbidding to them. Pray as these missionaries build relationships and share the Gospel with them. Pray that these Cha people will find the peace that only God can give. Pray that even though they now say they will never return to their communities, God will call some of them to take the Gospel back to their people.
It is hard to imagine something similar happening in America. But we should try to imagine it if only to soften our hearts to identify with these people, the hurt and rejected. Without Christ they face an even bleaker eternity than their present reality.

Through your prayers, you can make a difference. And the IMB is trying to connect churches in the U.S. with unreached and unengaged people groups around the world. If your church isn’t prepared to take that kind of step, you can still support the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, 100% of which goes directly to the field, not administrative costs. It isn’t for nothing that the International Mission Board has the lowest overall cost per missionary of any mission agency.[2]

[2] $46,700 a year (average). Reported April 2011. Support includes housing, salary, children’s education, medical expenses, retirement and more.

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