Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | March 7, 2015

FARC leaders said they are Christians.

American Preacher Russell Martin Stendal.

American Preacher Russell Martin Stendal.


According to the World Watch Monitor, an American preacher estimated that 10 per cent of the members of the FARC are Christians.

Preacher Russell Martin Stendal is the operator of Colombia for Christ, a ministry based in Bogotá, which set up a radio station, Garita Radio, with the intention of teaching FARC members about Christianity.

Stendal is a missionary from Minneapolis. In 1983, he was held hostage by the FARC for five months. Back then, Colombian authorities alleged that he was posing as a missionary and installing mobile devices “to transmit propaganda about terrorist activities.”

Authorities found it suspicious that Stendal could come and go from FARC territory without repercussions. They alleged he brought the FARC provisions.

Stendal said he received approval from the late FARC leader Monoy Jojo for the broadcasts.

FARC commander Ivan Marquez told the World Watch Monitor in a Q&A in 2013 that FARC leaders Jesús Santrich, Yuri Camargo and Noel Perez are Christians.

Ivan Marquez is second-in-command of the FARC’s secretariat, while Santrich serves as his right hand man. Camargo is a former commander of the FARC’s 52nd Front, and Perez is the current deputy commander of the group’s 26th Front.

The four men, together with 25 other commanders of the FARC, are currently in Havana for the negotiations with the Colombian government.

The FARC’s Marxist-Leninist beliefs reject religion.

Watch, below, a movie, “La Montaña,” based on Stendal’s missionary work. In the movie, Stendal’s character says, “If you believe God exists, it means you have to submit to judgment when you die.”

In the 2013 interview with the World Watch Monitor, FARC Commander Santrich said, “Yes. We’re willing to face reality with honest, ethical people who have neither a slant nor bad intentions. If they show that we’ve made mistakes, we’re willing to own up to that. But not through accusations by a Colombian judicial system, for example, that’s corrupt, broken down, and widely discredited. There should be transparent, truthful mechanisms for war crimes of the guerrillas and their counterparts to be brought to the light.”




ICC’s eyes on Colombia’s Transitional Justice.

FARC insist they are a political organization, so FARC obliged to respect International Humanitarian Law.


  1. I’ve covered Stendal since meeting him in 2008. This article I wrote for Christianity Today [published in 2010] is now behind a paywall: Here’s the original article I submitted to Christianity Today that Faith Today, the magazine of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, ran in 2011:

  2. Hi Paula — Let me know what you’d like me to write. Meanwhile, here’s what I wrote originally for Christianity Today [which sadly has pretty much abandoned reporting international news, instead opting to cover pop culture] and recently opted to give to one of several ministries that supports Russell Martin Stendal’s work bringing peace to Colombia. Here’s that article:

    • Hi Deann: I just sent you an email. If you did not receive, let me know. – Paula

  3. Please note that neither in my World Watch Monitor interview, nor in the Christian Today article referenced here in your post, Ivan Marquez did NOT call himself a Christian. Marquez did, however, identify Pérez, Camargo and Santrich as Christians.

    • Thank you for the heads-up. I really appreciate it. I found the interview, and what was said, and the context, interesting. Would you be willing to write a guest post about it? – Paula

  4. Paula

    Thanks for the update of this issue – gives a contex to view a situation in


    • Mr Joyce– thanks for reading!

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