Señores Familia Stendal,
The accompanying photo proves that your son is still alive. This is your
last warning. We demand 12 million pesos by December 25, 1983 or we will
kill your son
This is one way the guerrillas in Colombia, South America, raise moneythey
capture a white American and then demand ransom. This particular white
American also happened to be a Colombian citizen raised in their own country
by his missionary parents.
Russell Stendal was working as a jungle bush pilot, making drops of fish,
fuel, and other commodities needed in remote places in the lush, dense
forests. Although he was quite familiar with the territory and the situation
with the Marxist guerrillas, Russ was not quite prepared when the guerrillas
arrived at the remote airstrip. By gunpoint, the captors abducted Russell
and then demanded ransom to fund their revolution. During his 142 days
of captivity, Russell learned to trust in God as never before and lived
to recount his story.
While in captivity his emotions ranged from despair at the possibility
of never seeing his wife and daughter again to the hope of seeing all
of his captors come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus.
When traveling through this country, being abducted is always a risk.
Being shot is always a risk. Being detained for no obvious reason is a
risk. This my husband, John, and I found out later when we began a period
of 5 years of ministry in Bogotà and in the surrounding mountains
On our first mission in Bogotà, we were introduced to Russell and
his then co-laborer, Ricardo Trillos. They had been working together preaching
the gospel wherever they could get an audience. At that time we had no
idea what Russell had been through 4 years earlier, but we were honored
to be invited to his home to meet his wife, Marina and their daughter.
There we learned of his abduction and of the mission the Lord had given
he and Ricardo. We became friends and to this day still continue to pray
for the progress of the gospel through Russells ministry.
One thing that impressed John and I was the zeal and integrity that Russell
has for bringing the gospel to the jungle Indians of Colombiahe
has a real heart for the people, especially having married a jungle princess.
Having first hand experience ministering in that beautiful country, I
know that this story of Russells ordeal is not embellished in any
way and I appreciate the candor with which he shares his life and heart.
Im sure anyone who reads this book will not soon forget these people
and will remember to pray for the salvation of the guerrillas as well
as the Indians, the Mafia, and the nation as a whole.