The Castoff Community
They live in the wake of Pablo Escobar, the notorious drug lord who destroyed many lives in Colombia. It’s a community of displaced castoffs – people who are without homes, disabled, unwanted, and mostly made of single mothers with multiple kids. Their street in the village of Macajan is even called Via Escobar, acknowledging his legacy of ruined lives.
Ana Villalba has a special heart for these people, because she’s one of them. She is a single mother who raised five children alone after she left her abusive and unfaithful husband who got caught up with the wrong people. But she knows and loves God and can speak about His faithfulness in her life. After leaving her husband, she struggled to support her children by selling fruits, vegetables, and other items in the local market. She was fortunate to receive government housing and she was active in her church.
Ana was always outgoing and friendly, and one day met a woman named Albani who told her about the Via Escobar castoffs. Ana was touched to hear about this community of people like her, who needed to hear about God’s love. She began visiting Macajan with Albani. As she shared with them, she grew to love the people, and began to dream with them about a church in their community. They found a plot of land and began to pray. It was a difficult journey for Ana to get to Macajan, but she was committed to regularly mentor and disciple these young believers.
Pastor Jose Herrera has known Ana for 20 years and seen her passion for the Lord. “Though she has suffered a lot in life, we have never heard any wrong from or about her,” he says. “She has a great testimony. She is a woman of integrity, without malice, and dedicated completely to the Lord’s work.” Pastor Jose has encouraged Ana in her faith and now, through MVI missionaries Don and Mary Wolfram and MVI’s partnership with the Christian Motorcyclists Association, we were able to bless Ana with a motorcycle to further her ministry. She will now be able to visit the community more regularly and easily. “Ana is a small tenacious woman with a huge desire to spread the gospel and show God’s love,” says Don. “The bike will be a huge time saver and will greatly expand her sphere of influence with the gospel.”
MVI and CMA, along with two of our other ministry partners, Jesus Film and Global Christian Relief, were recently in Colombia to present Ana and eight other pastors with motorcycles to expand their ministry. The team visited Via Escobar and Macajan and prayed over Ana and the plot of land that will soon become a church for the community. The foundations for a church roof are already beginning. Join with us in praying for Ana and the other pastors and their ministries in Colombia – God is doing a mighty work!