IMB missionary Travis Burkhalter baptizes Sarah, a new believer from the Embera people of Colombia.

In 2021, International Mission Board (IMB) published a story about IMB missionaries Travis and Beth Burkhalter and their work among the Embera people of Colombia. Travis was learning a difficult and unwritten language to share the Gospel with an unreached people group.

“It is a daunting task,” Travis said, “but I am extremely motivated because I know souls hang in the balance.”

In early April 2022, Travis waded into the rushing waters of a jungle river to baptize Sarah, the first known follower of Christ among her tribe. With tribe members watching from the bank of the river and on nearby rocks, Sarah took this bold step of faith.

“In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I baptize you,” Travis said in her language before lowering her into the river, raising her to her feet, and offering a warm hug.

Sarah explained her decision to accept Christ with her community. The Burkhalters and others on the team shared with her for three years. As Travis learned more of her spoken vocabulary, he taught Bible stories in her heart language. The more she learned, the more she understood the truth of what Jesus had done for her. Finally, she expressed her belief in Christ and desire to follow Him.

*Some names have been changed for security reasons.

When you give to the Cooperative Program through your church, you are making a difference among people groups like the Embera. You can also support the Burkhalters through prayer. Ask God to use Sarah’s testimony and witness to bring many more of her people to salvation, and pray for the missionary team in Colombia as they faithfully share the truth throughout the country. To learn more, visit