Squeals of delight from the children could be heard from down thestreet. Father Francisco Montoya was laughing with them, grinning from ear to ear. The local priest was performing illusions for the kids, reveling in the smiles that radiated from their faces. This was Montoya’s favorite time of day. Montoya called the kids closer and had them sit down as he pulledout his clarinet. The children sat mesmerized as the beautiful musicpierced the air and touched their souls. The adults also gathered aroundand allowed the sounds to wash over them. Putting down the clarinet, Montoya began telling the story of JesusChrist. The people of Quibdó, Colombia, needed to hear the Gospelmessage more than the music. God used the music to draw people closerand to open their hearts, and Montoya was now prepared to share thegood news with them. The next day, Montoya rose early to attend services and began histrek from Quibdó (the capital city of Chocó Department) to the villageof Nóvita. He traveled on foot all around the region, carrying necessarybelongings in a typical indigenous basket. The time passed quickly asMontoya walked steadily down the road. Suddenly, a man raced toward him and grabbed his right arm. Montoya pulled

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Categories: Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs

Simon and Sara were roused from sleep at 4 a.m. by shouts and banging on the door. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in black rubber boots and olive green fatigues dragged the couple out of their house in pouring rain and forced them to get on motorcycles. As Simon and Sara clung to the motorcycles, feeling the slap of rain on their faces and the splatter of mud on their legs, they wondered if they were being taken to their deaths. The small jungle town in rural Colombia where Simon, Sara and their five children live is accessible only by water. Houses are scattered along the network of rivers, and the only way to reach them is by boat. Colombians living in this remote area make their living through farming. Simon and his family had moved to the area four years earlier to share the gospel with those living in the isolated “red zone,” an area controlled by guerrillas rather than the federal government. He and another pastor work together, ministering in opposite ends of the river region. VOM provided Simon with a boat to help him in his ministry work, and he shares the boat with the

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Categories: Stories from the Field

On Nov. 15, 2014, National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas told Pastor Gabriel to get out of town. “You pastors are worthless,” they said. “You have five days to leave.” They warned him that they’d start hunting him after the five days had passed. Gabriel and his wife left the town, but they didn’t leave the department (state) of Arauca as the rebels had demanded. Instead, Gabriel settled in another village and called his VOM contact to tell him what had happened. VOM had supported Gabriel with a small monthly stipend for six years, and Gabriel knew he could count on support and encouragement from VOM workers. He had met with some of them just weeks earlier at a conference VOM sponsored for pastors working in the “red zones,” dangerous areas controlled by guerrillas. “I am thankful for your prayers and encouragement,” he told them. “Not only do you believe in me, but you suffer with me. My goal is to be faithful.” Although Gabriel and his family were forced to leave their home and lost everything they had, he has continued his work, ministering to small groups of believers in nearby rural areas. VOM is proud to partner with believers

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Categories: Stories from the Field