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All articles in category Americas

May 2009
Bolivia

Missionary Spotlight – Republic of Bolivia

Republic of Bolivia   Area: 424,162 square miles.   Neighbours: Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru.   Environment: Land-locked, with the Andes mountains (Nevado Sajama 6,542 m) and plateaus in the west, and Amazon and Plate river systems in the east. The climate varies accordingly, from cold semi-arid to tropical.   Population: Over 9 million. Many have migrated eastward, because of harsh climatic conditions and the decline in mining in the highlands.   Infant mortality: 49 deaths/1000 live births.   Constitutional capital: Sucre.   Actual capital: La Paz. The twin cities of La Paz-El Alto together have over one million inhabitants; Santa Cruz has a...

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Edifying the church of God
January 2009
Americas

Edifying the church of God

Edifying the church of God   The FIEL conferences for pastors and leaders (in Brazil, Portugal and Mozambique) represent the culmination of our mission objectives. FIEL’s ministry consists of serving God by serving the church, in co-operation with the church, for the edification of the church. We seek to reach this goal, by God’s grace, through the publication and distribution of sound biblical literature, together with various projects aimed at helping pastors and our magazine and web site.   In the Brazilian conference we experience something of every aspect of the overall ministry of Evangelical Literary Mission (FIEL). We have opportunity to hear some of...

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Missionary Spotlight – The greatest need of Latin America
October 2008
Americas

Missionary Spotlight – The greatest need of Latin America

The greatest need of Latin America   I have become increasingly concerned about unhealthy trends in Costa Rican and Guatemalan Protestantism. True, solid, faithful Bible study and Bible teaching are needed here, more urgently than ever.   Perhaps partly due to powerful media influences, we’re bombarded with rare doctrinal novelties and heresies. Among the latest is José Luis de Dios Miranda, who says he is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and also a prophet and apostle! His ‘church’, Creciendo En Gracia, came to Costa Rica in October.      Growth   A few years ago, the seminary of the Church of God (Full Gospel) at...

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Missionary Spotlight – Costa Rica at a glance
October 2008
Costa Rica

Missionary Spotlight – Costa Rica at a glance

Costa Rica at a glance   Costa Rica is a mountainous Central American nation. Nine per cent of its four million inhabitants profess to be evangelical; 85% are Roman Catholics.      Most Costa Ricans are Spanish or mestizo (mixed European-Amerindian); 3% are of black African origin (largely, English-speaking descendants of 19th-century Jamaican immigrants). Spanish is the official language.      Agriculture is central to the economy (coffee, bananas, sugar, cocoa), but electronics, manufacturing and tourism are expanding. High literacy rates, relatively low unemployment, and widespread land ownership have produced a relatively high standard of living for many Costa Ricans.      One of the most stable democracies...

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Missionary Spotlight – Coping with upheavals in Costa Rica
October 2008
Costa Rica

Missionary Spotlight – Coping with upheavals in Costa Rica

Coping with upheavals in Costa Rica   The twentieth century witnessed two upheavals, the first being the growth of urban communities. Early in the century 14% of the world’s population lived in cities; today 50% are urbanites.1      If we bear in mind that over the same century world population has more than tripled, we begin to understand urbanisation’s global impact. Its negative manifestations are the same everywhere – inadequate housing, high unemployment, poor access to health facilities, family breakdown, and loss of identity.      Fragmentation   Urban centres are places of great loneliness. Many Costa Rican families once maintained close ties with parents, brothers...

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Missionary Spotlight – Dispelling the image
October 2008
Costa Rica

Missionary Spotlight – Dispelling the image

Dispelling the image   As one of very few Reformed churches in Costa Rica, our small denomination (comprised of four congregations) swims against a current set by the Roman Catholic Church and the many ‘evangelical’ churches that have sold out to ‘health and wealth’ neo-Pentecostalism.      This makes for slow going, but God is good and has given us solid growth over the past years. The Reformed and Presbyterian Church of Costa Rica also has a Christian grade school and high school.      The church and school were established in Tepeyac, in the northwest of San José, in 1984 and 1992 respectively. Roberto Venegas is now...

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Missionary Spotlight – Things we wish you knew
September 2008
Mexico

Missionary Spotlight – Things we wish you knew

Things we wish you knew   I never dreamed my missionary calling would involve wearing so many hats – preacher, carpenter, translator, mechanic, linguist, plumber, photographer, solar electrician, conference speaker, dental assistant, grave-digger, airstrip maintenance man, and rodent extermination consultant. I’ve donned them all.      On top of that, Beth is a pharmacist, schoolteacher, editor, nurse and a social worker specialising in battered women.      Since arriving on the mission field in Mexico, we’ve felt the scorn of many who choose evil and the suspicion of those who question our presence among them. We’ve had our home broken into. We’ve lost our only child to...

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Missionary Spotlight – The Gospel on the Amazon
August 2008
Brazil

Missionary Spotlight – The Gospel on the Amazon

The Gospel on the Amazon   ‘We need to pick you up for breakfast at 6.30am and then on to the boat at 7.30’. This is how we learned that the next morning would be a very different Sunday for us. Along with Geoff King, chairman of Grace Baptist Mission, I was making my first visit to Jason and Andrea Murfitt, who are serving the Lord in Manacapuru, Brazil. The Murfitts have gone to Brazil with the joint support of GBM and UFM Worldwide, and it is a blessing to be part of a co-operative project to spread the gospel in this area of Amazonas....

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Missionary Spotlight – Chapel Library
November 2007
United States of America

Missionary Spotlight – Chapel Library

Missionary Spotlight Chapel Library a grace-exalting ministry Mount Zion Bible Church (MZBC) in Pensacola, Florida, oversees six gospel ministries. The best known is Chapel Library which reprints and distributes tracts, booklets and paperbacks free of charge. Chapel publishes literature by great preachers and writers of the past, such as Charles Spurgeon, Arthur Pink, the Bonar brothers, J. C. Ryle and the Puritans. We publish a few living authors, such as A. N. Martin and Erroll Hulse. Magazines A second ministry is publishing two quarterly magazines: Free grace broadcaster (FGB) – our quarterly digest of reformed articles – and A. W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures....

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Changed lives in Brazil
February 2007
Brazil

Changed lives in Brazil

Over the past 54 years it has been our privilege as missionaries to be involved in the growth of the evangelical church in Brazil. In the early days of our ministry in the Amazon interior it was impressed on us that we had no power to bring life to a spiritually dead person. A miracle of God’s grace was necessary. When persecution came we saw our initial converts — those who had befriended us and responded to our message — fall away. To our amazement at that dark hour God chose to save two of the most unlikely persons in the village and cause them to stand with us. The police...

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Counting heads in Jamaica
November 2006
Jamaica

Counting heads in Jamaica

The Christian church in Jamaica has strong colonial roots. The Spanish colonisers of the sixteenth century were followed by Roman Catholic priests; their English successors by Anglican clergymen. During the eighteenth century, Moravians, Baptists and Methodists became established; ministering mainly to the slave population. The population census of 2001 collected data on denominational affiliation in Jamaica (including Catholics and Christian cults). It shows that 1,952,774 persons, or 75% of the population, saw themselves as belonging to a ‘Christian’ group (see table 1). Although there was no single predominant denomination — the Seventh Day Adventist had the largest affiliation (10.8%) — over 25% of the population...

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November 2006
Jamaica

Jamaica’s religions

Jamaica has a number of mainly home-grown religions — some are syncretistic between Christianity and animism. The most important cult is Pocomania. Its meetings are frenzied — with prayers, dances and rhythmic drumming. Adherents go into a trance, aided by rum and ganja (marijuana/cannabis). The most African of the cults is Kumina. It is strongest in the St Thomas parish. Based on the worship of ancestor spirit-deities, it seeks to appease the wandering spirits of dead people. Goats are sacrificed and vigorous drum beating is important. The sect uses a ritual Bantu language from the Congo, where it originated.Rastafarianism evolved as an expression of poor...

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