BACKGROUND: After voters rejected a peace agreement with Marxist Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in 2016, the government approved the agreement without a vote in 2017. As a result of the agreement, various paramilitary groups in rural areas in the north and west of this South American republic have grown more active and violent.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: Most Colombians identify as Christian but practice traditional forms of Roman Catholicism.
PERSECUTOR: Guerrilla and paramilitary groups persecute Christians because believers refuse to support their atheistic communist ideology, financially or otherwise.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN COLOMBIA: Pastors in Red Zones, areas governed by militant groups rather than the government, say the peace treaty exists in name only. While the guerrillas may have taken off their uniforms, they continue to oppress Colombians and remain involved in the drug trade. Christians are targeted because they don’t support the guerrillas or paramilitary groups. In order to worship or travel, Christians in Red Zones must have permission from whichever group is currently in charge. Travel is dangerous. Rebel and paramilitary groups often demand money from churches and pastors, and those who don’t pay may be killed.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles are available throughout Colombia, but the remoteness and difficult terrain, poor security and lack of public transportation make it difficult for Christians in Red Zones to obtain Bibles. In addition, many cannot afford them.
VOM WORK: VOM distributes Bibles, including children’s Bibles, in Colombia. We also support front-line workers with various ministry tools and respond to violent persecution in the Red Zones.