Latin America

Displaying items by tag: Latin America

Asking permission to preach was necessary for Leonardo. Not asking could result in death from Colombian guerrillas or paramilitaries. Pastors are obstacles to guerrillas’ political ambitions, as young Christians are no longer attracted to their violent lifestyles. One Sunday gangs stopped him outside the church saying, ‘Today no church preaching!’ So with a speaker and microphone he preached outdoors to young boys. Very quickly his outdoor church grew to 70 adults and 53 children. Most had never heard the gospel, but they soon found faith in Christ and were baptised. Now Leonardo is training several others to preach. It is dangerous to share the gospel so openly, but he knows God is with him.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 10 November 2022 21:18

Haiti / Mexico: killing journalists

Fritz Dorilas is the eighth journalist killed this year in Haiti. There is surging gang violence, political instability and targeted attacks on the media. The capital’s increasingly powerful criminal gangs battle for control in a political vacuum after President Moise’s assassination. Haiti has security and humanitarian crises after weeks-long blockades on key petrol terminals caused electricity and water shortages that exacerbated already-high rates of hunger. His killing came shortly after Romelson Vilsaint died during a Port-au-Prince protest when police threw tear gas and opened fire on journalists demanding the release of a colleague. Mexico has been plagued by journalists’ killings since the government’s war on cartels began. It is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist: 13 had been killed by the end of August. A web of violence, corruption and impunity has plagued Mexico and despite government efforts to protect journalists, the situation has worsened.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 07 October 2022 11:33

Colombia: welcoming refugees

‘Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.’ (Isaiah 1:17) In Colombia, churches are playing a key role in welcoming and supporting the millions of refugees who have fled political and economic turmoil in Venezuela. Churches are able to reach out to remote communities where local authorities and humanitarian organisations are not working and build trusting relationships with refugees. With support from Tearfund, churches are providing quality services and activities, including trauma healing groups for women who have experienced violence. ‘It is the first support that I found here in Colombia for migrants like us’, says Julie, a Venezuelan refugee who attends a trauma healing group. ‘When I arrived at the church, I found peace that I previously did not have. When I got to the church, I saw that it was like my family.’

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 29 September 2022 20:26

Nicaragua: Ortega calls church a dictatorship

76-year-old President Daniel Ortega describes priests as ‘killers’ and ‘coup plotters’. He accuses the clergy of working on behalf of ‘American imperialism’. He said, ‘In the church everything is imposed. It’s a perfect dictatorship. If they are to be democratic, let Catholics vote for the pope, for cardinals, for bishops.’ The church has been under increasing government pressure since Ortega accused it of backing the protests against his government in 2018. A crackdown against demonstrators killed hundreds. Pope Francis recently insisted on the importance of ‘never stopping dialogue’ with Nicaragua. God has brought many people to Himself amidst the nation’s suffering. Numbershave increased through saturation evangelism, and local church outreaches. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and hurricanes have led many to question life and eternity. War, conflict, and political struggles have turned many towards compassionate Christians and hope in Christ. Evangelicals have grown from 2% in 1960 to 30% today, and growth continues.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 09 September 2022 09:38

Brazil: Bolsonaro leads massive rallies

President Bolsonaro has delivered fiery speeches to tens of thousands of supporters at rallies ahead of a divisive election on 2 October when opinion polls suggest he will be defeated. Bolsonaro has repeatedly attacked Supreme Court justices, alleging (without any evidence) that Brazil’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to widespread fraud. Legal experts have rejected that allegation, and critics accuse him of sowing doubt ahead of the election to dispute the results, as was done by Donald Trump, whom Bolsonaro has emulated. ‘Bolsonaro, activate the military to depose the Supreme Court,’ said one banner carried by Suely Ferreira who said, ‘Our country is being ruined by the high court’s dictatorship. We love our president. Everyone I know supports him. He will win. There’s no way he could lose.’ The president’s attacks on the voting system have stirred calls for a military coup from some more radical backers, fuelling concerns that the nation could see election-related violence.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:07

Nicaragua: Church being silenced

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is urgently calling for prayers for Nicaragua amid an escalation of efforts to silence the Church. The expulsion of the country’s Apostolic Nuncio was followed by the abduction of Bishop Rolando, the Apostolic Administrator of a vacant diocese, along with three priests, two seminarians, a deacon and a photographer. Bishop Álvarez is under house arrest after he criticised the closure of Catholic radio stations. ACN said, ‘These events represent further escalations in an attempt to silence the Nicaraguan Church. There is no easy solution. We need to support them as much as possible and pray for a peaceful solution and no further increase in hostilities. This crisis is critical. In less than four years, the Catholic Church has suffered over 190 attacks, including a fire in the Cathedral of Managua.’ Street processions are prohibited, religious celebrations are interrupted, and the police intimidate worshippers at churches.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 05 August 2022 10:36

Holy Spirit moves in Brazil

Two years ago, World Missionary Press (WMP) sent 6.4 million Scripture booklets to ministry partners through a project called ‘Blessings for Brazil’. WMP freight coordinator Helen Williams says she is flooded with reports of the Holy Spirit changing hearts. ‘The feedback is overwhelming as our distributors describe new opportunities; one ministry is sending 500 boxes a time to distribution points for pastors. There are places being reached that have never been reached because of the lack of resources. Some use Scripture booklets in the inner city, others take them to remote jungle tribal villages. Optician teams use Scripture booklets for their eye test reading charts. Where literacy is marginal, teachers use the booklets to teach the language - their lesson plan is the Scripture booklet. Eight million more booklets will go out before the end of 2022.

Published in Praise Reports
Friday, 05 August 2022 10:02

Chile: domestic abuse

Attacking families is one of the best ways for Satan to ruin a nation - and in Chile, marriages are under serious spiritual attack. Domestic abuse is a social plague. Around 35% of Chilean women have suffered physical or sexual violence by a partner or spouse. The emotional and physical pain wounds all members of the family. If husbands and wives began loving and honouring one another as Christ loves the Church, it could transform neighbourhoods, cities, and even the whole nation. The Chilean people are overwhelmingly Christian in name - roughly 60% Catholic and 20% Evangelical. But church attendances are dwindling, and claims of faith tend to be based in culture rather than relationship with Jesus Christ. Crime, drug abuse, and materialism are increasing. One in seven women are mothers by the age of 14. During Pinochet’s rule the Church ignored the needy people. There will soon be an election for a controversial new constitution.

Published in Worldwide

Two activists who successfully fought against mining on their ancestral lands have won an international environmental prize. Alex Lucitante, 29, and Alexandra Narváez, 32, led the Cofan indigenous community which used drones and camera traps to collect crucial evidence in securing a legal victory which resulted in 79,000 acres of rainforest being protected from gold mining. In 2017, they found out that the government had issued 20 mining licences, with 32 more waiting to be approved. After a legal battle which lasted almost a year, the community achieved a remarkable victory. A provincial court ruled that the authorities had failed to seek the consent of the Cofan, nullified both the existing and pending licences, and ordered that the mining activities be stopped.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 13 May 2022 09:12

Mexico: eleven journalists killed in 2022

Yessenia Mollinedo and Sheila Johana Garcia were shot on 9 May, raising the death toll of journalists this year to eleven. Mexico is the most dangerous country for media workers outside of war zones. Authorities are searching for a motive for their murder. Media rights group Reporters Without Borders are investigating the incident. Mexico’s federal government has been criticised for neither preventing the killing of journalists nor investigating them sufficiently. Although organised crime is often blamed for attacks on media workers, small-town officials and politicians with political or criminal motivations are often suspects in these crimes. Crimes against freedom of expression occur daily. It is not clear if Mollinedo or Garcia were enrolled in a federal protection programme for journalists and human rights defenders. Several of the journalists killed this year had made contact with the programme at some point. Although President Obrador promises a ‘zero impunity’ policy when investigating such slayings, he continues his regular verbal attacks against journalists critical of his administration.

Published in Worldwide
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