Area: 2,780,092 sq km
Latin America’s secondlargest country, with a great range of climate, rainfall and topography. The 16,300 sq km Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands) are claimed by Argentina but remain under British rule. There is one federal district and 23 provinces.
Population: 40,665,732 Annual Growth: 0.98%
Capital: Buenos Aires
Official language: Spanish Languages: 40 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Amerindians from the Chaco have long been a marginalized and exploited minority, their cultures ravaged by the majority. Only in 1996 did the peoples of the Chaco region gain official title to their lands. Many of these groups beliefs are a highly syncretized blend of Catholicism and animism. Chaco peoples have become believers through the work of CMS (Wichi, Toba, Chorote, Chiriguano), Mennonites, BMS and Argentinean Baptists (Wichi) and through WV (Guarani). Pray for maturing of the indigenous Church, and for both expatriates and mainstream Argentineans to be sensitive to this. Pray also for ongoing translation programmes in indigenous languages (SIL/LETRA, UBS, CMS).
Specific sections of the population with ministry and outreach needs are numerous:
a) The estimated 200,000-strong Jewish community, mostly in Buenos Aires, is one of the worlds largest. They are highly secularized and prosperous, and their identity is being diluted as many marry outside the faith. Chosen People Ministries and ten other agencies minister to Jews. There are several Messianic assemblies in Buenos Aires.
b) The sophisticated upper class, who have been harder to reach with the gospel.
c) The urban poor. This group has grown in size and includes up to 500,000 slum dwellers, homeless people and thousands of street kids. Local churches are increasing their focus in this area, but significantly more needs to be done on every level spiritual, social and economic. Buenos Aires is one of the worlds largest urban areas; many of those who live there do so in poverty and with virtually no meaningful engagement with the gospel.
d) University students, many living below the poverty line, number 1.2 million just in state universities alone, over half being in Buenos Aires. There are few students who actively witness. Pray for ABUA(IFES) and CCCI they have over 20 groups and more than 60 workers.
e) Quechua and Aymara from Argentina, Chile and Bolivia flocked to Buenos Aires, where they have become a labouring under-class. They have a small evangelical minority, but are mostly syncretized Catholics or animists.
f) South American immigrants from the five neighbouring countries number up to three million; perhaps half of them are illegal and work in low-level jobs. There are reportedly 1.8 million from Bolivia and 1.5 million from Paraguay. Some bring their Christian faith with them; more import their syncretistic and animistic beliefs.
g) East Asian immigrants. Chinese (around 70,000) and the smaller Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese communities are growing. CMA is one of a few agencies reaching these.
For an additional 8 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Argentina.