(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

"Xavier" from Colombia
Photo: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

Death threats have been a typical part of ministry life for "Xavier," a partnering church planter who works in one of Colombia's most dangerous regions; a poor, rural area currently being ruled by paramilitaries. Before his involvement in ministry, Xavier had a successful career in broadcasting. Yet, in 2009, God directed him to begin a church in one of Colombia's poorest cities, a call that Xavier couldn't deny.

In the 12 years since yielding to the call, Xavier attests that God has been with him and his family through everything they've encountered -- whether being threatened by guerrillas, paramilitary members or street gangs. His wife, who was robbed at gunpoint, is grateful for the Lord's protection. And although the ministering family and their church of about 130 congregants are fiercely hated by their persecutors, they choose to extend God's love to them.

Though the threats are constant, the actions of these faithful believers are making a difference. The strength of the church members' testimonies and their kind interactions with the non-Christian members of their community have earned them a measure of respect among their oppressors.

Xavier's request to us, whom he considers his brothers and sisters in Christ, is that we pray for the protection of Colombia's Christians as they continue to preach, grow spiritually, and overcome the many challenges they face. "Every threat, we take as a challenge," he explains, "because we want to win these people for the Lord."