Pabel and his wife Kelly
Israel David (5 years old) and Linda Estefania (3 years old)
Pabel entered into the Loving Presence of his Savior
“Pabel Lived and Died
for the Cause of Jesus Christ”
– A Martyr of Love
Written By: Samuel David Hernández
These were the last words of his wife Kelly at the end of our conversation we had over the phone that lasted two hours. This is the only interview made of the widow and of our friend and co-worker Pabel Andrey Losada Trujillo, after he was tortured and killed last week. He was only 33 years old.
Interview with Pabel
During the La Montana Premiere
My last memory of my friend was sitting in a chair in his humble dining room on a clear evening. We were traveling to a town called Garzón to present the movie La Montaña in the central park. We took a detour late in the night to visit Pabel and his family to give him Bibles and radios for him to distribute in that area. They live in the outskirts of the town of Plata, Huila. Pabel and his cousin Jimeno were waiting for us with a white flag they had made out of a plastic bag and a tree branch. When we saw them that night we thought they were two crazy people trying to follow us. We were traveling in a “red zone” so naturally everyone was suspicious to us. They caught up to us on their old motorcycle and after we laughed at how scared we were, they led us to their humble hut.
Pabel and Jimeno were crazy for the LORD. One time they decided to rent white horses so they could go throughout the whole countryside giving out Bibles. They couldn’t find any white horses so they ended up going on foot. In another occasion, they managed to get a hold of a guitar and a flute and went throughout the villages and the countryside singing and playing hymns. Neither one of them was a musician, they didn’t even really know how to play the instruments they had found, so they became the laughing stock of the town. Pabel used to go out from hilltop to hilltop playing a small trumpet that he once found buried deep within the mud wall of his house, imitating the radio messages played over our radio stations which always begin with the sound of a Shofar. He used to say… “They were the watchmen of their region” and they fulfilled their calling very well.
The last thing Pabel and his wife did was to write out the Ten Commandments on a piece of paper. With what little money he had left over, he made photocopies of this document and handed them out by the side of the road with his wife in the “red zone” where they lived with a huge sign they made out of white cloth and markers that read: Prepare Ye the Way for the LORD.
Pabel left his house on Sunday morning to run an errand on his moto-taxi (motorcycle taxi service) to a town located 5 hours away, in a region that limits with Cauca, a very feared area in Colombia. He took with him a plastic trash bag to cover his feet so they would not get wet and a backpack that held some personal items including some photocopies he had made of the Ten Commandments and a book written by Russell Stendal and edited by myself, called The Altar and the Gospel. He had no Bibles with him because he had run out. He never imagined that those who assassinated him had plotted how they would do it, using the string of his own backpack and the weight of the materials inside to strangle him. (I weep as I think of this.)
According to Kelly, when she was looking for the body of her husband in the bush she found a sketch on a tree trunk of a man tied to a tree. She understood then that this had been “premeditated”. It was a diabolical act, premeditated with precision. It all started because of greed. The men wanted Pabel’s motorcycle and since he wouldn’t sell it to them, they were consumed to the point that they had to get it from the hands of the “Christian” that wouldn’t sell it. Their problem was neither the motorbike nor the $1,000 (US dollars). They wanted to kill the “Christian”.
“The devil didn’t win,” Kelly said. “The LORD didn’t leave Pabel ashamed because he gave him a wife so head-strong, who fought till the very end to see that her husband received a worthy burial.”
Kelly, Jimeno and other family members and friends had to go through a thousand obstacles in order to find out what had happened to Pabel.
“If we weren’t in the hands of the LORD, this is enough to drive you mad.” Kelly said.
Three words resounded in her head from the last things he had said before he left. (Robinson,Belalcazar, and La China to tie together loose ends to find Pabel.) A so-called Robinson (who made himself Pabel’s client and perpetrated the premeditated acts), a town called Belalcazar located in Cauca and almost 2 hours from their home, and an almost impenetrable place that in Spanish is called “China” located 5 hours away from the town near where they lived in La Plata. The last place, “La China” turned out to be the place where Pabel’s stolen motorcycle was found and where the indigenous tribe NASA (Paez) had retained two suspects.
Pabel’s mother ran a community dining hall for children in the town of La Plata where they daily feed 20 children. One of the children´s father was a Nasa Indian from the remote Indian reserve of La China. This man agreed to lead Kelly there, even though it was crazy for him to even contemplate going all the way back in there. Kelly was told that it was impossible to enter that territory without permission form the Indian Governor of the Region. Finally 6 people on 3 motorcycles left for La China. Kelly was the only woman. After a long journey and overcoming many peril along the way, including deep chasms and precipices dropping off of the narrow, winding road, 3 km away from La China, their Indian guide decided he would go no further.
Finally, they were able to communicate with the Chief Indian of that territory. They gave him a description of Pabel including the license plate of his motorcycles. Hitting what they felt to be a brick wall, they turned around and went back home. When they were only a few minutes outside of their town of La Plata, Kelly received a call from the Chief of the Indian Guard who confirmed that they had Pabel’s motorcycle in their possession with matching license plates. They had two suspects detained in the Indian dungeon where they were being interrogated.
The next day, Kelly, Jimeno and 8 other people (5 motorcycles in all) left once again for La China with the authorization of the Indian Governor who received them very kindly and was mortified. They spent the night there and the assembly took place in a giant kiosk in the late hours of the night as in Indian tradition. There were a lot of guests invited as witnesses (other indians and elders from other communities). The Indian Chief greeted Kelly and her friends saying to them, “It is a pity that you should visit us under these circumstances.”
After a few hours, Kelly was told that the two suspects were young men from that Indian Territory (the oldest was no more than 25 years old). They had confessed. In the words of the Indians they had “fallen from grace.” Indians from that region do not use the word “crime”. At that moment and much to everyone’s surprise they presented the two murderers before the entire assembly. Kelly felt everything turning inside her. But all of a sudden she stood and felt from inside herself that the LORD was moving her to forgive them. As a friend of mine once said, “Sometimes forgiveness is more healing for the person who gives it, than for the person who receives it.”
Kelly publicly forgave them. She told them that the harm had not been done to Pabel, for he longed to be with his LORD, but to her and her children (5 year old Israel David and 3 year old Linda Estefania). She spoke a strong word to them from the LORD and ended with the question “Where did you leave my Pabel?”
The next day they left for the place the murderers confessed leaving Pabel’s body. (It was about 1 hour away from their home.) There were over 500 motorcyclists ready to help in search of the body. They were very upset with the Indians. Before beginning the search Kelly gathered the crowd and asked them to not assault the Indians that had been sent from La China to support and verify the facts. The judgment on the murderers would be sentenced depending on the state in which they found the body so even the Indian Governor was there. The multitude was enraged but they calmed down with Kelly’s words, “These men come from La China, they hosted us with respect, love and dignity. They are not to blame of this disgrace.” It would have turned into a bloodbath had they not heeded to her words of wisdom.
Then Kelly said, “Will anyone go with me? Who will go with me first?” Among the vast multitude one young motorcyclist came forward. Kelly attests that she felt he was an angel sent by the Lord on her quest. The young motorcyclist was the one to find the body.
The body was found and identified and Kelly wept on the shoulder of the Indian Governor, which moved him even more. According to Don Efrain, Pabel’s father, the Indian Governor pronounced the sentence as soon as he saw the body. He said, “They left him to rot; now it is their turn to rot.” This was an extremely hard sentence dictated by an elder over two young men that turned out to be members of his own family. It is a sentence that cannot even be intervened by the national government because the perpetrators were captured by Indians inside of their own territory.
Kelly and the body of her husband were accompanied by a caravan of more than one thousand motorcycles and a multitude of friends (and enemies) all of whom were shaken by the events. The “crazy” Pabel was given a walk of honor until finally he was properly buried.
“Pabel was a lethal instrument in the hand of God because he preached the Word of God with Truth to please Him and not to please any man,” said Kelly. She continues, “The greatest satisfaction is that the devil didn’t win, because he had a wife that went to the ends of the earth to find him. And I found him.” She is certain that knowing Pabel, he must have preached to them even in his agony.
“Pabel gave his greatest sermon at his own funeral before a thousand people, you can be sure of that Sammy.” Kelly said to me. “Go, ask in the streets, be sure, I give testimony to the fact that Pabel died for the cause of the LORD, as a Martyr.”
Pabel awoke the heart of the entire town, friends and foes, he even managed to open up an impenetrable place like La China. He was an enemy to hypocrisy and lies. He went on before us. But he is alive, for our God is the God of the living.
“Life goes on,” Kelly said. “And here I am with the flag to continue on the work. Pabel never preached a Gospel to make friends, but to save souls in the midst of such places.”
Upon writing this, I would like to share with you the Psalm I read today-Samuel David Hernández
A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the house of David.
1 I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
3 O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol; thou gavest me life from my descent into the grave.
4 Let his merciful ones sing unto the LORD, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
5 For his anger endures but a moment; in his will is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
6 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
7 LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong; thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
8 I will cry unto thee, O GOD; and unto the Lord will I make supplication.
9 What profit is there in my blood when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth?
10 Hear, O LORD and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
11 Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;
12 to the end that I may sing glory unto thee and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
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