COLOMBIA — Timóteo’s family found Jesus, and converted from the beliefs of their tribe in Colombia. That made them targets for persecution – and made Timóteo a target for guerrilla gangs.
You’re 11 years old, and you’re walking home from school. A man carrying a gun calls you over to him. What do you do?
This wasn’t a new experience for Timóteo in Colombia. Guerrilla fighters were everywhere in his community.
A guerrilla gang offered him money, power, and a better life.
Brave Timóteo said no – he knew Jesus was better and he was able to find safety and shelter at the Open Doors Children’s Centre in Colombia.
“My father is a pastor and he used to evangelize the youth whom the guerrillas wanted to recruit. And they obviously weren’t going to join the guerrillas if they had Christian thinking. So the guerrillas leaders got angry and practices a lot of witchcraft.”
Timóteo grew up in an indigenous community in an area of Colombia where there is a culture clash between Christianity and guerrilla groups. He was only 11 years old when one group tried to entice him to join their gang with the promise of wealth and power.
“When I came home from school, there were guerrillas on the road. You saw that they had a good life because they had a lot of money. They offered you things like ‘We will give you money…if you come here you will have a better life and you will be fine.’
“This is one of the things they use, one of the first methods. Because then, they start to grab you by force.”
His father was afraid that Timóteo would be either recruited or kidnapped by the guerrillas. So he arranged a place for him at the Open Doors Children’s Centre.
There Timóteo could continue his education, receive trauma care to help him process the persecution his family had faced and grow in his Christian faith.
“Before it was not so good. Now I know God better and I live for Him. I stick to the Bible, to what He says.”
Now that he is 18 Timóteo has graduated from the Children’s Centre. He wants to complete His studies and return to his community as an agent for positive change.
“I do not fear the guerrillas, because I know that God is with me and He gives me the strength to carry His Gospel. He will always protect me.”
About Open Doors UK
Open Doors is a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. In their work, they provide vital support, training, and resources to those facing persecution or discrimination.
Resources that they provide include distributing Bibles and literature, running leadership training, assisting with socio-economic development and intercessory prayer. They also help victims of violence and disaster, including widows and orphans, with practical support such as relief aid, livelihood support, and community development projects.
Their vision is of a world in which every Christian who is persecuted is remembered and supported by other Christians. They pray for a world where there is no persecution.
- Global News Alliance, Open Doors Shelters Colombian Boy Who Turned Down Guerrilla Gang
- Open Doors UK, Official Website