There are more than 1,400 people groups in Latin AmericaJoshua Project
PRAY FOR LATIN AMERICA
Latin America stretches from Mexico to the southern tip of South America. In the past, Latin America has been overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. However, the religious environment is changing. Protestant churches are growing rapidly — especially evangelical churches. There is much to rejoice about. Yet there are also serious challenges. For example, many people practice a religious syncretism, mixing Catholicism, animism, and the occult. In contrast, in some countries, there is a rising trend toward secularism and consumerism. Negative social factors also make an impact. In addition, political unrest has escalated in recent years. Poverty is rife in many countries. Incredibly high rates of inflation have ruined some economies. These matters affect the ability of the indigenous church to minister.
One of the fastest-growing religions in the region is Islam. Muslims are well funded and are building “education centers” in academic communities — portraying themselves as a religion of peace and advancement. Islamic activists also stress the Moorish influence in Spanish culture, hoping this will encourage Latinos to react favorably to Islam.
UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS
There are more than 1,400 people groups in this region. Of these, at least 96 groups remain unreached. Surprisingly, the largest two groups are Spanish-speaking Jews, and people of Japanese descent. There are also dozens of indigenous groups who are unreached. Although we often think of unreached people groups in places like Africa or Asia, hidden in the jungles of Latin America are tribes that no one has ever even seen, much less reached with the gospel.
GROUP FOCUS: THE ARHUACO OF COLOMBIA
The Arhuaco tribes traditionally are very closed to the gospel. There are only 2.8% evangelical Christians among them. A few missionaries have been working diligently for almost a decade to gain entrance into this tribe with the gospel. At some point, a small church building was built in the village, but later the doors were locked and the missionaries sent home.
Now missionaries are finding a way to reach the community through coffee! The Arhuacos have grown coffee for decades but are geographically isolated so they have not been able to sell it outside of their region. Missionaries are transporting the beans from the isolated mountains, then processing, packaging, and selling the coffee. Revenue from coffee sales helps the village and also helps fund missionary endeavors. Since the missionaries are helping the Arhuacos with their coffee business, the doors are gradually opening for the gospel. Just recently the doors of a church were literally reopened for use as a school.
Prayer Points for Latin America
- Pray for God to prepare the hearts of people in this region to hear the true gospel instead of religious tradition and folk beliefs.
- Pray for people to be set free from spiritual bondage, whether it is traditional religion, the occult, or secularism.
- Christian workers are often under-funded and struggle to live and work. Pray for provisions for pastors, church planters, and missionaries.
- Pray for protection for Christian workers, many of whom live in very dangerous situations — facing drug traffickers, oppressive governments, hostile tribal peoples, and religious persecution.
- Pray about the non-Christian religions that are targeting Latin America — for example, Islam, Mormonism, and other cults.