“I felt that I had no freedom where I lived,” shares 15-year-old Valentina from Cauca in Colombia. “I used to say, ‘My God, I want to get out of here. I don’t even know where I want to go, but I want to leave.’”
The reason for this is persecution. At school, Valentina was pressurised into performing indigenous rites, while in society, she was acutely vulnerable to recruitment into guerrilla groups who often target prominent Christians (her father is a church leader).
Because of these dangers, her parents sent her to the Children's Centre run by Open Doors local partners. “Thank God there was an open door at the Children’s Centre,” share her parents, while Valentina adds: “I don’t know if my life would exist if I still lived in Cauca, or if I’d be lost.”
As well as providing a safe haven for Valentina, the Children's Centre is also helping Valentina develop in her studies and grow in her faith. “I know that, in the middle of persecution, God is faithful and merciful,” she says. “He is the best because He takes care of us. It’s Jesus who unites us and means we can enjoy peace and hope.”
This Christmas, Valentina will return to spend it with her family. “For me, the best Christmas is when I’m with my family," she says. But she won't be able to stay beyond Christmas, because it's too dangerous.
You can write to Valentina to encourage her in her faith, and other Christian children who are also vulnerable to persecution for their faith, be that from indigenous groups or criminal gangs. They'd love to hear from you!
There are two ways you can write to Christian children in Colombia:
Our Christmas resources includes a large fold-out card for your church to write to children at the Children's Centre. Find out more and order the card here.
You can also write to specific children at the Children's Centre and elsewhere in Colombia...
Please note: Please write in simple English or in Spanish. You can find a list of Spanish phrases here.
This campaign is postal and digital. Please send your physical drawings, cards or letters to us at the below address, and your digital encouragements to firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 6
And we'll do the rest!
Please note this campaign ends 31 December 2022
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.