Chile

31 07 2013

Geography:

A long skinny piece of land – 4,200km in fact, bordering the pacific ocean and running back up to the mountains of the Andes, with only an average width of 150km. It includes Easter Island/Rapa Nui on the Central Pacific. Extremes temperatures – hot in the Atcama Desert, and very cold in the Antarctic tundra area.  ( * most details from ‘Operation World’ by Jason Mandryk) 

Chile

Peoples: Hispanic 95.9%   Amerindian 3.2%          

Population: 17.2 million   

Capital: Santiago   (6 million)

Official Language: Spanish

Economy: Mining – copper. Agriculture.

Politics:

Independent from Spain in 1810. In more recent times, there was a social government elected in 1970, but in 1973, that government was overthrown by a military coup. Bloodshed was followed by an imposed regime, human rights abuses and a 17 year dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006). While this era endured until 1990—when a democratically elected President came into power—the painful effects of it upon the nation continue to influence the Chilean people.

Religion:  Freedom of Religion is in place, and adhered to in practice.

The Catholic Church dominates the scene, having been the official religion until 1925.  The percentages of ‘religions’ are:

Christian              87%

Non-religious     10.5%

Others:  Ethnoreligionist, Jewish [here, an unevangelized people group], Bahai, Muslim and Buddhist – each of them are under 1%.

Prayer Points

1. We give thanks for dynamic the growth of evangelical churches, and for the influence of a Methodist, indigenous Pentecostal movement – with a heart for the poor.

2. We pray that a deeper knowledge of forgiveness, and a growth in hope, love and faith, will enable people to move ahead – leaving behind the sadness of the terrors of the past, during Pinochet’s rule.

3. We pray for good, fruitful social change, better education opportunities, and for human freedom to grow. As people disassociate themselves from traditional structures, may they find new life in following Jesus Christ to recover a sense of genuine family.  We pray that Catholics may learn to adapt well to a new era.

Note: “One out of seven Chilean women is a mother by the age of 14. Crime, drug abuse and materialism are all on the rise” (Operation World, p. 211)

4. We pray for the evangelical church to continue to challenge and, by the Spirit, bring renewal to

(i) ‘formal and nominal Pentecostalism’ (strangely enough),

Chilie has “… the most divisive Pentecostal movement in the world”  – 1,200 separate groups

(ii) leadership, ‘lazy’ theology, legalism, isolationism,

(iii) the upper strata of society

(iv) the massive gap between rich and poor

(v) vision, which is so necessary for the church’s mission

(vi) the less reached people groups, The Mapuche indigenous people, Rapa Nui  (Polynesian), Others

(vii) student witness in the 54 universities (500,000 students)

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