River Evangelism

Boats are often the only safe way for missionaries to reach the unreached in Colombia

Colombia is a country displaying a variety of beautiful landscapes, but the jungle areas are difficult to reach by car. Horses, motorcycles, and boats are the most efficient ways of traveling through these diverse mission fields.

On its west lies the Pacific Ocean; next to that are the Andes Mountains, extending east to the capital city of Bogota. Northward the country borders extend to the Caribbean Sea. On its southeast border lies the Amazon Jungle. Many rivers run throughout the three separate mountain ranges, two of which run northward, ending in the Caribbean Sea. In addition to the difficult terrain, climates can range from hot and humid in the lowlands, to very cold in higher elevations.

But the worst obstacle to travel in Colombia is its terrorists. Guerrillas, drug dealers, and extremist groups roam the countryside. They are in constant battle against each other, and innocent bystanders who get in their way will suffer. While they say they are rebelling against the oppressive government to help the poor, their actions contradict this claim. "We are surrounded by corruption," says Carlo Perez*, ministry leader of the Vineyard of Colombia.

The only roads safe to drive are larger highways going to and from Colombia's principal cities. They are safe only because the government monitors them closely for illegal activity (such as bombings or literal highway robbery). But these big cities are not the mission field that Pastor Perez* and his coworkers are trying to reach. The roads they travel are smaller ones going through the jungle, across rivers, or into the mountains. Unfortunately, these routes cannot be monitored by government officials due to abundant foliage covering the roads, and their remoteness. Terrorists are able to watch them without being detected, making motor vehicle travel impossible.

In spite of these obstacles, Vineyard of Colombia is reaping a harvest in souls. When other modes of transportation are too dangerous, these missionaries travel the abundant rivers of Colombia by boat. River travel is much safer because guerrilla patrols do not pay much attention to missionaries who look like poor fishermen or locals visiting someone up river.

Vineyard of Colombia's ministry would be much more effective with additional boats. Small boats cost approximately $3,000 each.

*name changed to protect the person