Camilo sat in a dark room, his arms and legs bound. His captors slipped him food through a slot in the door, and the only time they untied Camilo was to train him to kill. 

For seven years. 

Camilo was trapped by a lesser-known Columbian cult of assassins from the time he was 4 until he turned 11. 

Consumed By Violence

Camilo knew his family was out there somewhere, but he was too young when he was taken to remember them. Born into a family of 21 sisters, his oldest sister kidnapped him as a toddler and took him to a woman named Laura, the leader of the cult, so she could teach him to kill.

“We learn that loneliness is all we have in the world, and I was never able to cry because if I did, they would kill me,” Camilo said. “My heart was really in pain, but I could not do anything. I wondered how it felt to have a family.” 

At 13, he saw the opportune moment to escape. On the run from his captors, he came across a homeless camp, where he found a Bible in the trash and started reading. 

But with a mind consumed with death and violence from his years of training, he didn’t understand the concepts of forgiveness and love. He didn’t understand anything about this God described in the Bible. 

What Are We Going to Do? 

After starting his first job, a woman told him about the internet and computers, so he went to an internet cafe to experience this online world. Overcome with curiosity about this Bible he understood so little about, he began searching for answers online. Camilo found a group of online missionaries who talked to him about his life, abuse and faith. 

Following months of back and forth communications, the online missionary group connected Camilo with a local church member, Maria Eugenia. A Columbian native, Maria Eugenia met with Camilo and introduced him to a new church family. 

Love and acceptance from people who treated him well — something Camilo never experienced before — radically changed him. Understanding the Bible better and getting to know Jesus became his top priorities and replaced the violence and aggression that previously consumed his thoughts. 

“I made the decision to follow Christ,” Camilo told Global Media “I believe in God, and I want to know how to better my life and follow Him without caring what other people say. Even if that means that I have to renounce the world.”

He even wants to reach out to his old friends who still practice witchcraft and tell them about Jesus.

“There are people all over the world who don’t have education, who are part of tribes and live in mountains and deserts, forgotten by society. … We are the generation that will share the message of Jesus, so what are we going to do about it?” 

Camilo can’t get those seven years of his life back. But now he’s doing all he can to make sure nobody else loses years — or eternity — to evil. 

Image via Unsplash.