A. THE COUNTRY
The Republic of Chile is a country in south-west South America that is 4200 km. long and averages 150 km. wide. Since 1989 Chile is a democracy, but is still deeply affected by the human rights abuses imposed by the previous dictatorship. Mining and mineral exports are the most important economic activities. It is One of the more developed Latin American economies with solid sectors in industry, agriculture and service. Poverty is still widespread.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is over 17 million with ~96% being Hispanic, and over 3% being Amerindian. The official language is Spanish.
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY/PENTECOSTALISM
There is liberty of faith for all religions. Over 87% claim to be Christian and over 10% are non-religious. The Catholic church was disestablished in 1925 but still has a strong influence on society while affiliates have declined to 62%. Evangelical, Charismatics and Pentecostals are almost equal in number. The growth of Evangelicals in the last 40 years to 18% is unique. Estimates of Pentecostals vary widely. A Pentecostal revival in 1909 within a Methodist church gave birth to a dynamic, indigenous Pentecostalism with evangelical zeal. Today Chile’s Pentecostal movement is the most divided in the world with over 1200 separate groups. Recent emphasis by the denominations on ministry to the poor and cooperating together are both signs of maturing.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.