Getting to know them made a tremendous impression on me. I hated to see them return to Colombia.
Many years ago, Charles and Jamie left for Colombia with two beautiful preschool children. My wife and I have three small children. It would be very difficult for us to liquidate our belongings and leave the privileges and protection of the United States.
For the Reudes, they knew that God had led them to Columbia—a country that has been known for kidnappings, the drug trade, and armed militias. To say that I admire their faith and courage is an understatement.
The Reudes shared with me several stories about how God spared them from explosions in public buildings and close calls with criminals. Soon after their first arrival in Colombia, a large-scale threat almost sent them packing back home. However, their intense commitment to make a difference kept them firmly planted in Medillin, a city of over three million people.
Charles explained to me that he and Jaime had the responsibility of being among only a handful who share the story of Jesus in the city. Medillin has a population comparable to the entire state of Alabama. Charles and Jamie’s sense of purpose has helped them feel at home in their high-rise apartment complex which is guarded 24/7 with well-armed security.
The Reudes’ son and daughter are grown now and live in the United States. Each was raised as a bi-cultural child—fluent in Spanish and English.
Now, the Reudes’ children are successful, well-adjusted young adults. After spending most of their lives in Columbia, they now have a global mindset that you cannot acquire by simply attending a university.
Both children were able to see how diverse and interesting the world can be. Being Caucasian minorities in a unique cultural setting, they now have a love for all people regardless of race, color, or language.
My impression of what it means to be “Christian” was challenged by getting to know this inspiring family. The Reudes took their commitment to follow Jesus to the highest level possible. They left home, family, culture, and security to pursue their calling to bring hope to a dangerous place. Over the course of more than two decades, the Reudes have helped untold thousands of people.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth: No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).
Sometimes we put the articulate, television-friendly preachers and evangelists on a pedestal as examples of “super-Christians.” I have discovered that the real heroes are the unsung ones who quietly put their lives into God’s hands for whatever service He has for them. To live your life in anonymity and wait for an eternal reward is certainly not a popular concept.
Many Christians in our country complain because they feel “persecuted” by the secular culture around them. After spending some time with the Reudes and other missionaries and visiting Christians in various countries, I would be embarrassed to call the limited resistance that I face as a believer in the United States “persecution.”
Perhaps a little suffering would do us some good. If American Christians had to face hardships like those of other Christians in the world, we would stop fussing about petty things and decide to do something significant with our lives.
— Chris Crain, Pastor, North Valley Church, Margaret