Area: 9,104 sq km
Greater Antilles, between Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands.
Population: 3,998,010 Annual Growth: 0.43%
Capital: San Juan
Official language: Spanish; English Languages: 13 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
|Religion||Pop %||Ann Gr|
Societal problems cry out for Christian involvement. The incidence of substance abuse, disease, corruption, crime and poverty are some of the highest in the Americas. This being so in a land that is 97% Christian and 25% evangelical is an affront to the gospel. Specific prayer needs are:
a) Poverty. Over 45% of the population live below the poverty line. It is significantly poorer than the poorest US state of Mississippi, and half of the island relies on food aid (in the form of food stamps).
b) Education. Only 11% have a college degree, while 62% fail to complete secondary school the highest dropout rate in the USA. These low education levels are profoundly linked to unemployment, poverty and crime issues.
c) Home life. An astonishing 61% poverty rate for households headed by females. Given the widespread family breakdown on the island, this accounts for a large portion of the population; many youths grow up deprived of material security as well as a father figure and male role model.
d) Health and substance abuse. Puerto Rico endures some of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and alcoholism of any US state or territory.
The spiritual ministry of the Church.
a) Discipleship ministry is much needed. Most of the new and growing Puerto Rican churches and pastors are not connected with international ministries, but are impacted by COMIBAM events or training conferences in the USA. However, the fragmented denominational scene gravitates against rapid changes in church life. Pray for effective grassroots movements that will meaningfully transform the lives of ordinary believers.
b) Missions vision is on the rise, but still needs nurture after decades of uninvolvement. Spain is a field of particular interest. Puerto Ricans serve in indigenous movements such as AMIES-WEC and international missions such as YWAM, OM and WBT. But most promising is the increasing presence and influence of mission boards in local denominations. Pray for effective training and support of new mission ventures. RECOMI(COMIBAM) networks the various agencies and organizations, facilitating their efforts and providing a shared platform for furthering world evangelization.
c) Student ministry is proving both fruitful and vital. ABU(IFES) has a growing work on the bigger campuses but is limited by lack of funds and personnel. However, indigenous student movements across almost all campuses (called confras) are backed by the Asociación Cristiana Interuniversitaria. Many of Puerto Ricos current evangelical church leaders were strongly influenced by this movement. Pray for these ministries to reach all remaining campuses and to continue shaping future leaders.
d) Media ministry flourished with the explosion of renewalist churches. There are many Christian media ministries (10 Christian TV channels, many local radio stations, Internet sites and others). These hard-hitting new programmes offer practical and relevant answers to questions of faith and life. One notable ministry is the Bible Correspondence School of the Caribbean, now with 23,000 students in 62 nations.
For an additional 3 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 Puerto Rico.