News from Colombia God is working despite turmoil.

From Russell and Marina Stendal

March 23, 2022

Marina and I just returned from yet another trip to the Venezuela border. The Colombian border state of Vichada is a vast frontier with few improved roads and numerous tribal communities. Tension and corruption along the border continue to increase. Every conceivable type of hustler, trafficker, kidnapper, or extortioner is virtually omnipresent along with vast quantities of guerrillas, paramilitary and different kinds of government security forces.

On this trip we were able to thwart several kidnapping and extortion plots that could have affected us and or others. We were also stopped five or six times by armed tribesmen demanding tribute in order to allow is to pass through their reservation. There are various stretches (only passable in modified off road vehicles) over 200 miles long with no gas stations or restaurants or hotels or law enforcement. Fortunately, we were able to successfully obtain access. We also delivered special NT to the soldiers when we were able to find them.

In the midst of all of this, however, Christianity is thriving. I continue to be amazed at the quality and humility of the believers and their pastors. Marina and I just returned to Lomalinda from Cumaribo, Vichada – a two-day grueling drive from Puerto Carreño, the capital. We took a load of Sikuani New Testaments to a group of wonderful Christians. One elderly lady, with deep fire in her heart for the Lord, proudly introduced us to her three sons, all of them excellent pastors. They have planted thriving churches in virtually all the local Sikuani communities and are extending to some of the other three nearby tribes. The entire area is in range of our radio transmitters but we lack enough Galcom solar radios.


Pastors Family
Pastors Family

They are all quite humble and live day to day with only the most basic necessities – without even enough money to afford new strings for their guitar or for shoes for the numerous children of the congregations – yet the life of the Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit is clearly evident. It looks like we under calculated the need for Sikuani New Testaments. Complete Spanish Bibles for the Pastors, New Testaments in the native languages, and Bible study materials are necessary in very large quantities if the tens of thousands of new believers are to remain on track and come to maturity in the faith.

In Venezuela we have been able to distribute Bibles and materials in many key places throughout the southern half of the country (these are some of the hardest places to get to). Each trip with 6000 Bibles and other literature costs about US 1200 for gasoline plus 300 for food. We have enough Bibles in our warehouse for seven more trips but lack the funds for distribution and for the supporting literature. It is very important for us to provide special materials for the children. In many churches fifty or sixty percent of the congregation are under the age of eighteen. Marina and her sister took a sewing machine and taught Sikuani ladies to sew clothes for their families. We hope to do more of the same along with water purification.

Bibles in Cumaribo, Vichada
Bibles in Cumaribo, Vichada

The books in highest demand are: Pilgrim´s Progress, Job and the Place of Understanding, The Unquenchable Life (my commentary on the life of Paul), and To Be Found Faithful (on Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall). We also have developed a dynamic Bible study guide designed for small group leaders that we hope to print soon. Under Marxism, the plan is to destroy the capitalist economy and society as we know it and then rebuild everything into a supposed communist utopia (an absolute disaster). In Venezuela they have now pretty well succeeded in destroying the previously thriving capitalist society. Now, however, a growing number of leaders and intellectuals (including governors, cabinet ministers and generals) want to ditch the Marxist agenda and rebuild their country according the Word of God. Some of these key individuals always accompany us to make sure that the Bibles are safely delivered where we all consider they will have the greatest effect. The demand for Bibles is virtually unlimited. We can now see that it is possible to change the entire future of the country.

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About the author

Profile photo for Russell Stendal

Russell Stendal, a former hostage of Colombian rebels, is a lifelong missionary to that same group in the jungles of Colombia. He is an influential friend to military and government leaders in Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States. Russell's ministry shares the gospel via twelve radio stations, hundreds of thousands of Bibles, books, and movies distributed through airplane parachute drops, and numerous speaking engagements for groups of leaders, prisoners, and individuals. Russell goes wherever the Lord leads, whether it's to speak with a president or to go deep into the jungle to help an individual in trouble. He has witnessed thousands commit their lives to Christ.

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