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Colombia Mother Of Four "Murdered" For Evangelizing

Monday, July 31, 2006 | Tag Cloud

By BosNewsLife News Center

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA (BosNewsLife) -- Leftist rebels in Colombia's Meta Province hired a gunman to assassinate a Christian mother of four because she refused to stop proclaiming Christ, Christian rights investigators confirmed Friday, July 28.

Christian rights group Open Doors told BosNewsLife it learned that the woman, who was only identified with her pseudonym Jenifer for security reasons, was murdered because she had been leading insurgents to Christ, many of whom defected "from their illegal armed group."

Open Doors, which has close contacts with reportedly persecuted Christians around the world, said it learned that the gunman attacked the woman July 7 after he and other rebels entered her village in Meta Province. The assassin allegedly carried "a hit list containing the names of Christian leaders to be executed in the region," including Jenifer.

"They asked her why she was preaching the Gospel when she had not been given permission to do so," explained Open Doors in a statement to BosNewsLife.

HIRED GUNMAN

"A hired gunman then shot Jenifer in her chest and shoulder. Still clinging on to life, she was dragged to the feet of the assassin who shot her 15 times." Jenifer’s violent murder leaves four children, aged 14, nine, three and five months without the care of their mother. Her husband had already left the country, Open Doors said.

In the months before her murder, Jenifer had "found the courage to resist the demands of the armed groups," the group said. "In the past Jenifer had been forced to cooperate with insurgents against her will, preparing them meals and transporting illicit drugs. Some of her brothers and nephews had also become subversives or collaborators," the group added.

Jenifer found help to escape the rebels "and in time she adopted the faith in Christ that her mother had taught her," Open Doors explained. When they learned that Jenifer "was winning rebel souls to Christ, they approached her and invited her to rejoin their ranks in exchange for money and power," Open Doors said.

SPREADING GOSPEL

"She refused and when they found out that she intended to continue spreading the Gospel, they added her to their hit list of Christian leaders." Jenifer was active in her church, which the rebels closed after they took over the region known as the "Demilitarized Zone" – a vast territory about the size of Switzerland.

The government gave up the area during peace talks with rebels and churches reportedly suffered widespread persecution.

"The insurgents held absolute control of the land, and believers were scattered. The rebels closed some churches and murdered several pastors. Through Marxist rhetoric and proposals, insurgent leaders won the hearts of the people by offering money to those who worked with them," Open Doors investigators said.

TALKS FAILED

When the peace talks failed and the Demilitarized Zone accord was revoked, the country’s army reclaimed the region and the insurgents supposedly left the area.

"The circumstances, however, did not improve because the insurgents refused to stop operating in some of the villages and towns, taking advantage of the army’s failure to exercise its authority. As such, the churches remained closed and the advance of the Gospel was restricted," the group explained.

During that time, about a year ago, Jenifer already feared for her life. "As she was on her way to an insurgent camp one-day to deliver food to them, she was overcome by an intense fear of death and concern for her children. She opted to escape – pregnant, and with three children already – to another town. But a rival group also desired to kill her because of her past activities with their opponents," Open Doors said.

She eventually came to an agreement with those forces, who allowed her to stay in the area under strict surveillance. In the last months of her life, she became more acquainted with Scripture and continued to raise her children in the ways of God, Open Doors said.

"CHRIST'S LOVE"

"She spoke to others with conviction about the love of Christ, winning a nephew to Christ who became an active underground preacher to the insurgents."

Eddie Lyle, CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland told BosNewsLife in a statement that, "There is no doubt that Christians are being targeted in the drug wars and violent power struggles that plague Colombia."

He said, "We denounce the killing of innocent victims, which not only include mothers like Jenifer, but also family dependants, such as her four children left alone to fend for themselves since her death. The Christian Church needs to rise up in prayer and support for these Christians."

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Worthy Christian News » Christian Persecution » Christian Persecution - Americas » Colombia Mother Of Four "Murdered" For Evangelizing