To overcome evil with good

Venezuelan Salvation Army officer safe after being kidnapped.

by Donald Wilson, Major –

Major Pedro Lopez (left) and a soldier from the Maracaibo Corps.

There are moments when light conversation is put aside—when the fragility of life is brought before us. Recently such a moment occurred with my friend Major Pedro Lopez of Venezuela, when I noticed an uncharacteristic seriousness in his demeanor. He told me about being kidnapped the previous month as he was leaving the corps in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

When he got into the driver’s seat of his car, he heard something beside the vehicle—as he looked up, a 38-caliber pistol was thrust in his face. Two men jumped into the front seat with him and then a third man pushed in, too. The man beside him put another gun to his head and made him get into the back seat, facedown on the floorboard. Major Lopez—Pedro—knew enough about the situation to put his hands over his eyes and get in the back without arguing. The kidnappers took off driving, with one of the men still holding a gun to his head.

Pedro kept quiet, all the time praying, but he began to shake with fear and even though he wanted to pray quietly, the man holding the gun began to hear his prayers. This man tried to reassure Pedro, saying: “Don’t worry, pastor, you will be fine if you do what we say.” Lopez soon lost track of time.

Eventually, the car stopped, and with his hands still over his eyes he was escorted out of the car and told not to open his eyes. He knew that for many other victims this was when their lives were taken. All he heard, though, was his car leaving. After about five minutes he finally dropped his hands, realizing all the men were gone. They took his car, his cell phone and his money, but not his life. Within a few seconds, a taxi drove up and took him back to the church.

The day before this incident, a corps member had told Lopez that the Lord had pressed upon her heart and mind to pray for him. During the entire encounter this sister in the Lord had been praying for him and his protection, without knowing what was happening as she prayed.

I share this story not for sensationalism, but to encourage each of you to be serious about your prayers for the officers, soldiers, and good people of El Salvador, Guatemala and Venezuela—that we will overcome evil with good. Christians take a risk as they move into a dangerous world gently as a sheep, with eyes wide open to danger. Only Christ can give the peace and fortitude to make us victors, not victims.

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