Area: 756,626 sq km
A 4,200-km-long country wedged between the mountains of the Andes and the Pacific Ocean and averaging only 150 km in width. Also Easter Island/Rapa Nui in the Central Pacific. Great extremes from the hot, northern Atacama Desert to the Antarctic tundra in the south.
Population: 17,134,708 Annual Growth: 1.01%
Official language: Spanish (but Mapudungun increasingly recognized) Languages: 16 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Less-reached peoples. Ethnic minorities, both indigenous and immigrant, find life in Chile to be difficult and are often faced with prejudice.
a) The Mapuche (speaking Mapudungun) are by far the largest and most independent of Chiles indigenous peoples. A strong nationalist movement is agitating successfully for improved land rights and cultural recognition. About 70% are nominally Catholic, but the old animistic religion is still the most influential spiritual force, along with their traditional religious shamans. The Anglican Church has a solid work among the Mapuche, with about 4,000 Christians. CMA, AoG, MTW and others have initiated work among them; SIM is developing Mapudungun TEE programmes. The Pentecostals have won many Mapuche migrants in the cities. The Mapudungun NT was completed in 1997.
b) Rapa Nui (Easter Islanders) are a largely Polynesian people. Most now live on the mainland, even as ethnic Chileans become the majority in their home islands. Their society is being overrun, they are losing their culture and language and the influence of many outside forces (tourism, film industry, AIDS and alcohol) are taking their toll. Most are nominally Catholic, but there are now four congregations of evangelicals and some missionaries working among them. The Rapa Nui NT was just recently completed.
c) Other Latin Americans. Chiles stability has attracted hundreds of thousands of Peruvians, Ecuadorians and Bolivians; they come as illegal migrants, and all face discrimination and injustice.
d) The Jews of Santiago can be regarded as an unevangelized people.
e) The Romani (Gypsies) are neglected by Christians and by society in general. The SdA have three churches with about 400 affiliates among them. The Chilean Romani NT was completed in 2005.
f) Palestinian immigrants have recently been arriving in large numbers. Santiago has over 70,000 Christian Palestinians (mostly Orthodox and Catholic), the largest concentration in the world outside of Palestine.
Student witness needs strengthening in the 54 universities and colleges and among the 500,000 students. There are now 25 GBU(IFES) groups, up from 14 in 2000. CCCI (16 full-time workers) has some impact in secondary schools and some universities. But Chiles evangelicals need to focus much more on reaching and discipling young people. Systemic inequalities and underinvestment in education prompted massive student demonstrations in 2006, which in turn forced government reforms. Pray for students to find their identity in Christ and not in the many other alternatives they face.
For an additional 9 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 Chile.