BOGOTA, Colombia – Sgt. Rod Land, Missouri State Highway Patrol, has gone on annual mission trips for several years, but it wasn’t until he visited El Salvador as a police trainer that he realized his true heart for missions was for other officers. In December of 2012, he was able to put that calling into practice in the country of Colombia.
In addition to his career as a state trooper, Land serves as an instructor for Strategos International of Grandview, a company that provides security training for churches, schools, and for law enforcement agencies. The company’s co-owners, Vaughn Baker and Mark Warren, are Christians.
Last year, Land, a member of Concord Baptist Church in Jefferson City, was invited to join a Strategos team going to Bogota, Colombia at the request of an Assemblies of God missionary, Paul Robinson, and his wife, Kristi.
Robinson had served as a police officer in Independence for several years and had felt called of God to go to Colombia to minister to the national police in that country. He shares the gospel through training programs led by Christian officers.
Robinson arranged a meeting between the Strategos owners and Herna’n Alfonso Ramirez, the country’s lieutenant colonel, and three of his sergeants to determine the type of training needed.
“They have a national police force,” Land said. “There are no city officers and no county sheriffs. They patrol the entire country.”
Baker and Warren informed Ramirez that the team would do the training and would also tell the officers about Christ.
“This is the most important part,” was Ramirez’ response.
Some 57 police officers showed up for the training from all over the country. Each session began and ended with prayer. Scripture was woven into each day’s lesson, based on the training aspect being addressed.
The first day of classes, a car bomb was detonated in another part of the city. Several officers who responded to the emergency were injured when a second bomb was detonated. Back at the academy, prayer was offered on their behalf.
On the next-to-last day of classes, several hours of class time were dedicated to the trainers giving their personal testimonies and presenting the plan of salvation.
“We gave the invitation, and all 57 came forward,” Land reported.
He said it reminded him of the Scripture that says “neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
“God gave the increase. I consider it miraculous that all 57 accepted or rededicated,” he added.
Land tries to stay in touch with Robinson every week to learn what has transpired since the team left. The news has been encouraging.
“Paul is hearing of families being restored, he’s helping find churches and pastors, lives are totally changed, they are going out telling people about accepting Christ,” Land said.
He is looking forward to August when Ramirez, two sergeants, the interpreter, and Robinson will be in Missouri to meet with law enforcement agencies “to see how we do things in the United States.” n