COLUMBIA — Like many of the youth in Colombia, Reina* was recruited to the illegal armed groups who fight to gain and control territory for drug trafficking and other criminal activities. Now according to Open Doors in her forties, Reina has found faith in Christ and left her old way of a criminal life behind.
*Name changed for security reasons.
I didn’t know about God. In my region, there were only illegal groups and they would take you away, and I was forced to join as soon as I could carry a backpack. First I belonged to the guerrillas, and then I went over to the paramilitaries. My role was patrolling. I was fully equipped to be a warrior, a fighter.
Like many of the youth in Colombia, Reyna was recruited to the illegal armed groups, who fight to gain and control territory for drug trafficking and other criminal activities. Now in her 40s, Reyna has found faith in Christ and left her old way of life behind. But she can see that the violence is getting worse and that Christians are specifically at risk.
Although we have always seen it, now we see more and more theft, murder and homicide, a tremendous amount. There is still a lot of persecution. You have to be careful when you walk because they are always watching you. Every move you make to get you out of their way.
When we preach and the youth are converted, they are losing people for their groups, for their commanders. So while we are doing this work, we become an enemy to them.
As a former member of the illegal groups, Reyna especially is seen as their enemy. But despite threats, even against her life, she remains bold in preaching the gospel.
From the moment I received the Lord, I said, “If I serve the devil with so much love, with how much more love will I serve the one who gave me life. And if I was already brave enough to carry a gun, here I must be brave enough to serve God.” If nothing was too big for me there, how much less now that God is the one who has me in his hands that I am not alone. Many of them would say to me, “You became my enemy. Reina, you are no longer my friend. Reina, we have our eyes on you. You are not worth anything anymore. You will die.” But I always said that Christ who called me would defend me. And I say it to this day. And if I die, I die for the cause of Christ.
And thank God, I am serving the Lord. There is nothing more worthwhile than serving God. He is the only one who deserves everything.
*Name changed for security purposes.
About Open Doors UK
For over 60 years, Open Doors UK has worked in the world’s most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. Open Doors equips persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through programs like Bible & Gospel Development, Women & Children Advancement, and Christian Community Restoration.