My Father's Heart by Alethia Stendal

My Father’s Heart by Alethia Stendal


In the past, there have been lots of chances of turning back, only dad never did.  When I was 11 years old the missionary school in Bogota where I attended was suddenly swarming with missionary kids fleeing the violence of the eastern planes.  Ray Rising had been kidnapped causing more than 300 missionaries to evacuate their base in Lomalinda. The nearby town of Puerto Lleras had been bombed and lay in ruins. Churches were destroyed. So many pastors were killed in this part of Colombia that it quickly became the country with the most martyred pastors in the world according to VOM statistics.

It was under these intense circumstances that my dad bought three of the missionary homes that were left behind and decided to move our little family out there. The threat of guerrillas, paramilitaries or soldiers visiting or ransacking our houses was constant. I still remember one remarkable dark night. The power had gone out.  In a war zone, a power outage meant that somebody had bombed an electricity tower. That dark windy night, we lit a candle and sat around our old wooden table. The neighbor came to tell dad of all the terrible things that were happening in the area, giving him good reasons as to why we should leave. My dad pondered for a moment.  Then he looked at the candle with determination in his eyes and said, “There is still a small light that burns here, left from years and years of missionary work ever since my dad and Uncle Cam arrived.  I am not going to let that light go out.”

So we stayed. And miraculously, we were given our very first radio station. Many more came after that.  Years later, the reports we heard from people that had suffered a kidnapping were astounding. All of them said the radio station was the only beacon of light they had during their long years of captivity.

Thank you for your prayers and for keeping the beacon of light shining in Colombia.