Colombian pastors face severe opposition for their ministry from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Their churches are shut down, their lives are threatened, and many are assassinated.
Often forgotten, however, are those who are left behind when a pastor is murdered.
From 2004-2009, at least 35 pastors were murdered. That means at least 35 women and families are to this day suffering from the loss of a husband and father.
As well as the trauma of losing a loved one, many are left without an income and with little access to financial support. In these circumstances, most might find it difficult to see how life can go on.
But still these women and children continue to serve the Lord.
When Luz (pictured above) moved to a remote area of Colombia with her husband to start a church, she felt a great sense of expectation to see God at work.
Pregnant with twins, she longed to see new life come to those suffering in Colombia’s conflict areas. Their friends had warned them not to go into this dangerous area of Colombia, but believing it was God’s will, they left anyway, determined to see the Gospel transform lives.
One night, Luz’s husband had organized an all-night prayer meeting and he needed to go into town to buy a microphone. On the way back, he was stopped by a roadblock.
These men came out of a car. They were wearing ski masks and they took him away. He never came home…We didn’t know where he was; we looked all over. Three days later we found him. He had been severely tortured before he was murdered.
The FARC guerrillas had cut his body into pieces. They had stuffed his body into a large, black trash bag and buried it outside the town.
Now a widow with two infant children, Luz is left with the challenging task of rebuilding her life while trying to raise her twins. In addition, Luz carries the burden of trauma that accompanies this kind of tragedy. She is just one of many widows.
They Are Not Alone
Widows like Luz have suffered tremendously since their husbands’ murders. But they are not alone.
Voice of the Martyrs recognises the challenges that widows and their children face to rebuild their lives and cope with this significant loss.
Voice of the Martyrs funds trauma counseling sessions with widows whose husbands have been assassinated by Colombia’s armed groups specifically because of their Gospel ministry.
For these widows, the trauma is a daily reality; they carry it with them everywhere. Through the counseling, however, the pain can be acknowledged as a past reality and the widows can move forward toward healing and can get on with rebuilding their lives.
These women and children are the silent, forgotten victims of persecution in Colombia.
We must forget them no longer.