Colombia Fearless Love:
Written By David Witt
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Santiago used to be a violent Commander for the Communist Colombian Guerillas. He persecuted Christians by threats and intimidation. He taught atheism and under his leadership closed eight churches. In a cave in Colombia called “The Little Hell.” Jesus revealed His love to Santiago. Today at great risk of life and persecution he preaches Jesus on the radio to the comrades that he used to command. He is a living martyr of love. Santiago says, “Jesus found me even when I was not looking for him. Now I need to do whatever he wants.” He is pictured here with his wife and daughter.
IN THE MIDST OF VIOLENCE
FEARLESS LOVE IN COLOMBIA
A team from SOM, including an American Iraqi Freedom Veteran, visited Colombia and recorded the testimony of an ex-Guerrilla Commander named Santiago. Santiago used to persecute Christians, but now has a message of Fearless Love. Today he is preaching the Gospel on the radio to his past comrades and sees lives radically transformed by a message of peace. His story is a demonstration of the power and overcoming love of Jesus. Below is his story.
My name is Santiago and I was born into a farming family. My father was an alcoholic and my parents would accuse each other of infidelity. My father would often beat my mother and they were divorced when I was 12. My life during this period was lonely, violent, and rebellious. I would play with weapons for entertainment. At 14 years old, I joined the Communist Guerrilla movement. The commitment to this movement is for a lifetime…to leave means death. The life of a Guerrilla soldier is violent and we believe there is a bullet with our name on it that will eventually kill us. The Communists are our family. If our biological family opposed the movement, we were commanded to eliminate them. I hated capitalists, gringos, and all Americans – I had no problem killing them. I fought in Nicaragua, El Salvador and then Colombia for 23 years. Gun battles, blood and death were a part of my life. On one occasion, a bomb exploded near me. I was hit with shrapnel and had internal injuries, which took four months to heal. I was a natural leader and moved up the ranks quickly and I became a Commander of a Guerrilla front of 290 soldiers.
As Communists, we taught Atheism and believed only in the material world. I persecuted Christians with threats and intimidation and under my leadership I closed eight churches. I heard about a pastor who was praying and fasting that bad things would happen to me. I took my gun to confront him and kill him. At the pastor’s house he offered me hospitality and sat me down. When I confronted him, the pastor said, “We are not praying for your death, but for your protection. God is no respecter of persons, we pray for the Colombian Army, Guerrilla soldiers and all souls.” Even though I was armed, the pastor’s loving response and words disarmed me. The pastor explained the Gospel. As I left, I felt like a dog running away with its tail between its legs. It was hard being an Atheist because God kept reaching His hand out to touch my heart. I noticed after I shut down the churches that the morality in the area went down. Drugs and violence were just a few problems that increased. So I changed my mind and started helping the churches.
One day my front of soldiers engaged in a horrible battle against the Army in a place called “The Little Hell.” All my body guards were killed and I became separated from all my men. The Army was three hundred feet away and closing in fast as I moved along a ridge. I hid myself in a cave and covered the entrance. There was a storm with wind, rain and lightning strikes, which revealed my hideout. I cried out to God, “why are you revealing my hiding place?” I decided I would kill myself before the Army found me. I had my gun to my head when I heard in the wind, “Don’t do it.” Again and again I heard it… I realized it was God speaking to me. At that moment, I understood God loved me and I surrendered to Him. Immediately, I experienced a heavenly light and divine presence upon me, it felt like I was given a hug and a kiss from heaven. The wind, rain and lightning quieted and I fell asleep.
In the morning, I no longer had a desire to fight. Someone began to move the covering from the front of the cave and a hand reached in and handed me a cup of coffee. It was a farmer and I said, “Why are you doing this? The Army will see me.” The farmer replied, “Trust God, He will take care of you.” I left my gun in the cave and the farmer took me to his home, fed me and gave me a place to sleep. The Army kept scouting for me. Christians hid me, fed me, and gave me the Word of God. The pastor that I had almost killed heard about my situation and rode a horse three hours to find me. He gave me a Bible. The Holy Spirit led me to Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Eventually the Christians arranged for me to surrender myself to a Christian Army General. I did not know what to expect, I had heard he was a good man. When I came to him he hugged me and accepted me as a brother in Christ.
God found me even when I was not looking for Him! My life is now full of stories of God’s grace and provision. Now I desire to do whatever He wants. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. I say to my Lord, “here I am send me.” I praise God for the opportunity I now have through radio to preach the Gospel and make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ to those still captured in the Communist worldview.
Spirit of Martyrdom ministries would like to thank Galcom International, The Voice of the Martyrs and partners like you, who have contributed toward the ministry in Latin America. Your faithful support of prayers, solar radios/station equipment, parachutes with Christian materials and Bibles, have impacted Latin America for the living martyrs –like Santiago.
To view an interview with Santiago go to www.SpiritofMartyrdom.com/multimedia. May the Lord Jesus bless you with growing fearless love!
If you would like to join us in serving the martyrs around the world, please feel free to contact us at