A mother with her baby in a indigenous village.

In Colombia, church leaders have permission to move freely during the coronavirus lockdown as they are taking aid to people in need, especially those in remote areas of the country.

By doing so, they are putting their own lives in danger. In places such as Tumaco on the Pacific Coast, and the Amazon and Catatumbo regions in the border with Venezuela, they are at risk not only of getting infected with the virus but of being targeted by illegal armed groups that control these areas.

Such is the need in these places for material and emotional support that pastors and other church volunteers have decided to venture out every day, often on deserted and dangerous rural roads to get to the most remote and vulnerable communities.

They stroll through the streets of towns and villages, handing out food parcels, masks, antibacterial gel, and Bibles to believers and non-believers alike. Pastor Leandro* has been a facilitator for Open Doors’ programs in Colombia for the last 10 years. In conversation with OD, he explained the situation in the areas he serves:

“We have been able to bring food to many people. Those who can’t work are very depressed and face serious financial difficulties. We pray for and with them. We offer them pastoral guidance and share the Word of God with each one of them.”

The pastor also explained that during the pandemic many people have converted to the Christian faith. “It brings me so much joy,” he told OD.

People in these remote communities controlled by rebel groups are living in dire need and in fear. They are afraid of falling ill with Covid-19 and of being killed by these groups for having the virus.

The “Agape in Your Home” program created by OD to alleviate the situation of many Christian believers during the pandemic, provides food and pastoral support to 300 families living in remote parts of the country, where Christians constantly suffer from religious persecution and harassment. 

*Name changed for security reasons

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