Rocio Pino (6 March 2011)

31 May 2024

James Pino and his wife, Rocio, had already gone to bed for the night when they heard an unexpected knock at the front door. When Pino opened the door, he was met by two men asking for help with their motorcycle. He went outside to help while one of the men stayed by the door, where Rocio stood watching her husband.

“Is your name Maria?” the man asked her. “No, I am Rocio Pino,” she replied.

Suddenly three gunshots shattered the stillness of the night, and when Pino turned around he saw his wife fall to the ground. The attackers then jumped on their motorcycle and sped away. Because they lived in one of Colombia’s red zones, areas controlled by the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), no emergency services would respond. The road to their village was heavily mined and guarded by armed FARC guerrillas, so Pino and his daughters were left to watch Rocio die on their front doorstep.

Rocio was known for sharing the gospel with everyone she met, especially the guerrilla fighters. “All who come here will hear about Christ,” she had said. Pino later learned that Rocio’s killers were probably retaliating against her for witnessing to a female guerrilla who had stopped by their house a few weeks earlier.

“The Lord is waiting for you,” she had told the woman, handing her a New Testament. Pino knew the killers. They had arrived in the community two weeks earlier and introduced themselves as members of the FARC. Like many other guerrillas in the area, they occasionally stopped to talk with James. He struggles now to forgive them.

“That step is very difficult to say, when I see [her attackers], ‘I forgive you,’ knowing that these are scars that never get erased,” he said. After the attack, Pino and his daughters moved to a safer area. Rocio took seriously Jesus’ Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Knowing the risks, she and her husband chose to live and share the gospel in a dangerous area of Colombia.

Though it cost Rocio her life, it was a decision that was worthy of Jesus and the advancement of His gospel.

May we be inspired by their examples, confidently proclaiming Christ at any cost.

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