About a month ago, we had a special visit in our church: David de Vinatea came to share his testimony with us. David is a former colonel of the Peruvian Army. A few years after accepting Jesus as His Savior, he was wrongfully accused of dealing drugs and sent to a maximum security prison because, due to his faith, he refused to play along with the corrupt Army officials and government, who received bribes from the drug lords.
David was arrested in 1995. Two years after that, representants of Open Doors, a ministry that serves persecuted christians worldwide, learned about his situation, and after confirming that the accusations raised against him were indeed not true, they started a legal battle to get him out of prison.
During his imprisonment, David and his family received support from Open Doors and the local church for many of their needs. They received thousands of letters from people around the world, encouraging them. Several people also came, through Open Doors ministries, to visit them in person. That was true Christianity in action (see Matthew 25:35-40).
He went through many experiences in prison, including starting a church there that brought many inmates to Jesus. Then, in 2003, he was finally set free.
Now, he shares his experience with brothers and sisters all over the world, urging them to support christians who are now facing persecution.
David told us that when he was sharing his testimony in two other cities in Brazil, he met two people that had sent letters to him while he was in prison. You can imagine how emotional it was for them all to meet each other face to face.
Two things touched me the most about David’s testimony:
- The importance of the support he received from Christians all around the world through Open Doors (letters, prayers, visits, legal aid, etc).
- His faithfulness in believing that God would take care of everything he needed, including his release.
He shared with us a few verses from the Scripture that he would often cling to whenever he felt discouraged, and they would remind him of God’s promises and His faithfulness:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
David’s testimony showed me the face of a person that suffered to be true to his belief. It is one thing to read about it, but it is another to actually see the person and hear him talking about it.
But there are still many christians all over the world in prisons right now, just because of their belief. And David taught me that we can make a difference to them, even from afar.
If you want to start making a difference in those people’s lives, check out this page from the Open Doors USA site. If you live in Brazil, check this page from Missão Portas Abertas Brasil’s web site. If you live in another country, check the Open Doors International main site for the link to a local office at your country or at a country nearby.
In these pages you will find out how to write a letter to several people who need your encouragement today. A few minutes of your time will make a huge difference for them.
And who knows, someday you might meet the person you supported. If not here, then in heaven.
Please pray for David’s financial situation, he currently receives only 25% of the pension he is due as a retired colonel of the Army. He is legally battling to receive what is rightfully owned him. Please pray that God will intercede for him and continue providing for all his needs.