Russell Stendal has lived in Colombia nearly his entire life. He first stepped foot in the South American country with his parents, who came as missionaries to the indigenous people there. Little did he know, he would one day minister to Colombia's infamous rebel group - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The FARC engaged in Colombia's 50-year-long conflict and committed countless murders and kidnappings.  The rebel group even kidnapped Russell Stendal, and while he could have retaliated with violence, he fought back with the gospel by launching his ministry, Colombia for Christ.  His vision was bold: to see every rebel to lay their weapons down and embrace Christ. His over 30 years of ministry in Colombia touched the lives of many rebels, causing many to accept Jesus as lord of their lives.  After hearing news of his impact in Colombia, First Step Forum decided to present Stendal with   The Shahbaz Bhatti Freedom Award this week. The award is named after Pakistan's first Christian Cabinet Minister who was murdered for criticizing Pakistan's blasphemy laws.  First Step Forum's Finnish founder Johan Candelin, calls Stendal's work "extraordinary." "I have never seen anything like this," he added. "God's hand has been on Russ Stendal's work in a unique way." Previous recipients of the award include the likes of Pope Francis, Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr. Hany Hanna in Egypt and Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili in Georgia.

God's Grace is Sufficient!