OVERVIEW: Many Christians in Colombia are taking great risks to share the gospel with those living in some of the most dangerous places for Christians on earth. Taking the gospel to these hostile areas often results in persecution from armed guerrillas and paramilitary forces. After voters rejected a peace agreement with the Marxist Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in 2016, the government approved an agreement with the insurgents without public approval in 2017. Because of the agreement, various paramilitary groups in rural areas in the north and west have grown more active and violent.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: 94 percent of Colombians are Christians, the vast majority of whom are Roman Catholic, while 11 percent are evangelical Christians.
PERSECUTOR: Marxist (atheistic Communist) guerrillas and paramilitary groups violently persecute Christians.
WHAT IT MEANS TO FOLLOW CHRIST IN COLOMBIA: Pastors in Colombia’s “red zones” (areas controlled by militant groups rather than the government) say the 2017 peace treaty with the Marxist guerrillas exists in name only. While the guerrillas may have taken off their uniforms, they continue to oppress Christians and remain involved in the drug trade. Christians are targeted because obedience to God’s Word will not allow them to join the violent factions (guerrillas or paramilitary groups) in their areas. In order to worship or travel, Christians in red zones must have permission from whichever group is currently in charge. Worship, evangelism and travel are dangerous.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles are available in the cities, but the remoteness and difficult terrain, poor security and lack of public transportation make it difficult for Christians in Red Zones to obtain Bibles.
VOM WORK: VOM support front-line workers with ministry tools and responds to violent persecution in the Red Zones.