by Russell Stendal
© 1984, 1986 Russell Stendal Ransom Press International
Reviewed by: Deborah Maniatty

“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…—Los Captors”

This is one way the guerrillas in Colombia, South America, raise money—they 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 of Tolima.

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 Russell’s 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 Colombia—he 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 Russell’s ordeal is not embellished in any way and I appreciate the candor with which he shares his life and heart. I’m 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.