By Russell Stendal, Latin America
South America is full of religious confusion from atheism to pseudo-christian sects. The scriptures warn of doctrines taught by demons that lead to bondage (I Timothy 4:1), yet today we are witnesses to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ setting the captives free in hostile areas of Latin America. Spirit of Martyrdom supports the gospel witnesses.
Ana Tulia was a Jehovah Witness (JW). Ana was encouraged to work out her salvation by doing what her religious teachers told her. Although she tried to be a good JW she had no peace or assurance. Ana, with her husband and children moved into the jungle to start a small store. A self-proclaimed Pentecostal preacher came along and conned her family out of a lot of money. Consequently, they lost their store. Ana was taught that women could only be saved by childbirth, causing many unwanted pregnancies in her desperately poor community. Others came teaching that they were under a curse because they worshipped on Sunday or because they ate pork. Still another religious leader came and taught that they must tithe the proceeds from their coca fields to his ministry.
By this time Ana Tulia shares that she was struggling with demons, thoughts of suicide and murder. Pastor Julio tried without success to deliver her from these demons. Julio saw an opportunity with Ana in that everyone was terrified of her. He recruited Ana to go collect tithe monies from the drug farmers for his ministry. (In Latin America often the drug producers are very religious.)
Finally, in the midst of a huge crusade run by Pastor Julio, Ana Tulia became completely insane and wanted to kill everyone. During one of the meetings several other ladies became deranged and took off all their clothes as they ran through a barbed wire fence. Like the demonic in the Bible, Ana was out of her mind and wandered wildly. Finally she was captured, wrapped up in a sheet, and put in a strait jacket. The authorities took her to Villavicencio where she was put in a Roman Catholic asylum. They told her that her problems came because she did not have a patron saint and she had not prayed enough rosaries to the Virgin.
Eventually she was released from the asylum and moved back to her remote home in the jungle. She still struggled with thoughts of murder. She did not want to leave a kitchen knife around in case she was tempted to kill one of her children while under the influence of a demonic attack. A pastor came by with our Galcom radios and offered to sell her one. (Which are supposed to be given away free of charge.) She had no money but gave the pastor two of her last chickens for the radio. She noticed that our message on the radio sounded very different from what she had been hearing from the local religious sects. She began to hope that God was real and intensely desired to meet me.
Ana’s home is on the boundary area of where pastors are allowed to go by the guerrillas. Beyond this point, house meetings and pastors are prohibited. I came by on my way to meet with Eduardo, a guerrilla leader and Ana came running out to stop our vehicle. She also stopped me on my way back, but I had little time to speak with her. I gave her some more radios and some books, including Extreme Devotion by VOM. God began to deal directly with her. She devoured the materials, and soon she was completely delivered and filled with the true and living Holy Spirit.
The next time I visited, she shared her entire testimony and how God was using her as a true witness to the neighbors, the drug traffickers and the guerrillas. We began to place large amounts of relief materials, radios, books, Bibles and other supplies at her house. Outreach to all factions including the Colombian Army led to many other conversions. The local heretical pastor became enraged that the people were directly following God’s Word and not obeying him or giving him their money. He began tracking down the Galcom radios and destroying them. The local top guerrilla commander warned him to stop. Ana Tulia told me afterwards; “I know that God really touched that commander because he did not even shoot the pastor!! He just told him to quit wreaking the radios.” (Note: often the guerrillas are known to kill those that they do not like.)
Several major guerrilla commanders and many of their subordinates became converted including Eduardo. They began to distribute our materials all over the region to all their men and the farmers. The guerrilla high commander became concerned and ordered the transfer of some of these witnessing new believers to units far across the country. The transfer of these Christians failed to stop what God is doing and has merely aided the spread of the Gospel to new areas of Colombia.
Thank you for your partnership in serving the living martyrs in Latin America. Currently the AM station on Colombia transmits the gospel at 10,000 watts. This past spring a 50,000 watt AM transmitter was donated to the ministry for Latin America. This transmitter will reach a majority of South and Central America and greatly expand our outreach. Please join us in prayer for the transportation, installation and $70K to complete this project.
“For the Son of man is not come to lose men’s souls, but to save them.” Luke 9:56
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