Drug trafficking brings an estimated
$6 billion into Colombia each year. The country’s government is fighting
against it, but still the market continues.
One aspect that greatly affects the lives of thousands of people in
Colombia is the constant conflict between the government and the FARC, a
guerrilla movement that has proclaimed itself as a socialist
anti-imperialist organization. To fund their terrorist activities, they
get as much as $2 million a day in illicit drug proceeds. Some FARC
units in southern Colombia are reported to be directly involved in drug
trafficking activities such as controlling local cocaine base markets.
Regions controlled by this guerrilla group would be the last place you’d expect to find Christians, and Spanish World Ministries has found that the terrorist group likes it that way.
“There is one specific [region] that is called Guaviare,” says Daniel
Sandoval, with Spanish World Ministries. “This terrorist group has
increased the planting, processing and trading of cocaine. Of course,
the lack of government programs, the lack of transportation, medical
services, and, above all, the control of the Guerilla over this place
makes this region a difficult missionary field—either for nationals or
for foreign missionary organizations.”
The terrorist group in this area considers Christian activity suspicious, Sandoval says.
“If any Christian organization pretends to reach the small towns in this
region of Guaviare, the guerilla movement will consider them spies sent
by the DEA, or informants for the government,” explains Sandoval. “The
question is: Should the people from Guaviare die without having the
opportunity to hear about Christ? We’re talking about a population of
about 25,000 people.”
Sandoval adds, “Of course, we know the answer: they need to hear about Christ.”
How to do this in an area so hostile—not to mention dangerous—to
believers, though? Spanish World Ministries has found a way. They are
transcending all boundaries through an unlikely medium: radio.
God has used radio to transform hearts in these hard-to-reach areas in a
number of ways. For instance, one man involved in planting and
harvesting marijuana and the coca plant and in processing cocaine was
injured on the job. As he sat there bleeding, waiting for someone to
come to his aid, he turned on the radio. A Spanish World broadcast
“happened” to be playing.
After hearing about sin and Christ’s forgiveness, the man immediately
surrendered his life. In fact, he even burned his plantation. When he
explained the reasoning to his workers, all of them accepted Christ as
their Savior as well. And it all stemmed from one radio broadcast.
Spanish World Ministries has been able to break down barriers in
Colombia and has also become an encouragement to Colombians in difficult
times. During the recent flooding that killed over 400 people and
affected 3 million total, the ministry’s broadcasts provided the
peace of Christ to many.
“In the midst of these difficult situations, our programs represented a
great blessing for many people that needed desperately to hear words of
hope and encouragement,” says Sandoval.