Legacy of Sacrifice (part 1 of 2)

    ‘You Can Make All the Difference!’ There was that phrase again – this time on an email from my Alma Mater, encouraging alumni to contribute. I thought about how often we hear that phrase used to encourage us to vote or recycle or join a cause. We all long for significance and to know that our actions somehow ‘matter.’ Sophie Mueller made all the difference. Jesus Christ came into Sophie’s life when she was a New York Times reporter in the early 1940s. He led her to leave what she was doing and head into the jungle to contact people who had never heard the good news about God’s existence and love. She told them the Gospel message about how God has sent His son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin and make it possible for us to come into right relationship with Him.

    God led Sophie to the remote Guainía region of eastern Colombia and to adjacent areas of Venezuela and Brazil -- to a broken, violent, and evil culture. The tribes in this area were animistic, worshipping nature and dead objects. The culture was dominated by powerful witch doctors that controlled and oppressed the people. And the tribes were involved in a litany of horrors which included rape, child abuse, inter-tribal warfare, and vengeance murder. At huge risk to her own life, Sophie traveled virtually unaided into the jungle to befriend these tribes. At least twice witch doctors tried to kill her by intentionally feeding her poisoned food which should have killed her, but which she miraculously survived. For almost 50 years she taught, served, loved, fought for, and introduced the people of Guainía to Jesus while helping start more than 500 churches and translating the Bible into the local languages.

     

    Did she ‘Make all the Difference?’ You bet she did. Today if you look at a world map of predominant religions, you’ll see a splash of different color across northern South America where Biblical Christian faith is predominant. God used Sophie and others to bring that about, in addition to literacy, and societal strictures against the evil and abuse that were so common before the influence of the churches Sophie started. Guainía has been an area of relative peace and security during decades of civil war and drug cartels in South America, quite literally because the large percentage of bona fide Christ-followers in the population has prevented Marxism and crime from making inroads.

    The churches of Guainía are now orphans, in a sense, since Sophie Muller died in 1997. Thankfully, they survive and shine as lights in their communities but they face immense challenges ranging from lack of resources, to the influx of toxic teachings to a lack of pastoral training. Through a remarkable set of connections, FMI became aware of the needs of the Church in Guainía and has come alongside them to foster organic growth. In the second installment of this story we’ll tell you how we have partnered with the Church in Guainía department, Colombia and what God is doing there.

    Read about the continuing story here.