Before becoming a pastor, Walter Arrollo was a commander of the ELN, a leftist guerrilla group involved in Colombia’s 40-year internal conflict. While serving a sentence in prison for his guerrilla involvement, Walter was witnessed to by the Prison Fellowship, whose ministry led him to seek forgiveness and restoration for his past and to dedicate his life to Christ. Walter became a pastor and led many guerrillas to Christianity. He was threatened frequently for preaching the gospel to guerrilla members in prison, but continued his work as the Barranquilla Prison Chaplain after his release. Despite the intimidation, Walter never questioned the importance of his evangelism.
On September 24, 2009, Walter was traveling with his wife and his two young children. The family disappeared before reaching their destination. The ELN is the alleged perpetrator of the Arrollo family disappearance. Unfortunately, Walter’s story is all too common among Christian leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia. Walter’s disappearance and many other cases of human rights violations have been documented by the Christian Center for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action (Justapaz) in their report, A Prophetic Call 5: Colombian Protestant Churches Document their Suffering and their Hope.
Colombian churches are calling on congregations in the United States to stand with them in solidarity. Join churches across the country in this year’s Days of Prayer and Action for Peace in Colombia to raise awareness, pray, and take action for peace. For more information, please visit washington.mcc.org/days.