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Update: Disappearance of Pastor William Reyes

   
 

Pastor Reyes
Pastor William Reyes

   

Mennonite Church Canada/ Justapaz: Center for Justice, Peace and Non-violent Action
(Centro Cristiano para justicia, paz y acción noviolenta)
April 16, 2009

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — On Thursday, September 25, at 10 AM Pastor William Reyes left Valledupar, Cesar, for his home in Maicao, La Guajira in northern Colombia. He never arrived and has not been heard from since. Reyes is associated with Justapaz, a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada's partner, Mennonite Church of Colombia (IMCOL).

Recent developments include the January 21, 2009 attempted abduction of Reyes' daughter and the February 19, 2009 abduction of a member of a neighbouring church. These events highlight the precarious situation faced by Pastor Reyes’ wife, Idia Miranda, and their three children, William Reyes Miranda, 19, Luz Nelly Reyes Miranda, 16, and Estefania Reyes Miranda, nine.

On Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008, thousands of Maicao residents marched through the streets calling for Pastor Reyes' safe return. After the march, Pastor Reyes’ identification documents were found in a wallet that had been left just inside the Light and Truth Church.

On Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, an unidentified man came to the church and asked for Mrs. Miranda. When told she wasn’t there, he asked for her address and cell phone number, which were not disclosed. He stated that it was “In [Mrs. Miranda’s] best interest to get in touch with him, than for him to have to find her.”

On Wednesday, January 21, 2009, Mrs. Miranda’s eldest daughter, Luz Nelly, was approached by an unidentified man on the street who told her if she wanted to see her dad, she should come with him. She fled when he attempted to grab her by the arm.

On Thursday, February 19, armed men allegedly entered another Christian church, just a few blocks from the Light and Truth Church, and forcibly removed a female parishioner.

Action Requests: Political Advocacy and Prayer

Communicate with Colombian Attorney General (see sample letter link). Ask that the Attorney General:

  • Ensure a timely investigation into Pastor William Reyes’ disappearance.
  • Communicate the status of their investigations to Ricardo Esquivia (National Coordinator of the Commission for Restoration, Life and Peace) and Jenny Neme (Director of Justapaz).
  • Please blind carbon copy your letter to janna@justapaz.org

Pray:

  • For the safety of Pastor William Reyes and his family.
  • For the safety of the members of the Fraternity of Evangelical Pastors of Maicao.
  • For repentance from those who perpetrated these crimes.

Sample Letter

Fiscalía General de la Nación
Dr. Mario Iguarán
Diagonal 22 B No.52-01, Fax: (+571)570-2000
Bogotá D.C. Colombia
E-mail: luzhelena.morales@fiscalia.gov.com

Dear Mr. Iguarán: I am writing to express my deep concern for the safety of Pastor William Reyes, his family and the members of the Fraternity of Evangelical Ministers of Maicao (Fraternidad de Ministros Evangélicos de Maicao - FRAMEM). Pastor Reyes pastors the Light and Truth Church (Iglesia Luz y Verdad de la denominación Iglesia Evangélica Interamericana de Colombia) of Maicao and is a member of FRAMEM – which has received repeated threats from illegal armed groups since March of last year.

Pastor Reyes departed Valledupar, Cesar for Maicao, La Guajira at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 25, 2008 and has not arrived or been heard from since.

We ask that you take all steps necessary to locate Pastor Reyes and to protect his family and the members of FRAMEM. Those responsible should be held accountable for their crimes.

We ask that you communicate the status of the investigation to:
Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas
National Coordinator of the Commission for Restoration, Life and Peace of the Evangelical Council of Colombia (CEDECOL)
{313.555.4404, resquivia@gmail.com}

and

Jenny Neme, Director of Justapaz
{1-287-3968, jennyneme@justapaz.org}.

Sincerely,