Uruguay has the most secular society in South America. While much positive progress came in areas like political transparency, equality, and economic development, modern developments like the legalization of abortion, same-sex marriage, and cannabis use came as well. Uruguay’s rates of depression, suicide, abortion, and divorce are some of the highest on the continent. Most Uruguayans follow a “do-it-yourself” spirituality influenced by New Age ideas. The nation is 55% Catholic (the lowest in Spanish-speaking Latin America), and only 2% attend mass. Afro-Brazilian Spiritism attracts many people. Pray for the Holy Spirit to expose religious deceptions and defeat the demonic powers behind them.
Evangelical churches struggled to make an impact on Uruguayan society in the 20th Century, garnering only meagre fruit in converts. However, since the late 1990s, growth of evangelicals, especially Pentecostal groups, has rapidly increased. Pray for a continuing harvest, and that the thousands of new believers might be discipled and pastored effectively.
The recent awakening generates many challenges. Evangelical Alliance churches work together on an unprecedented scale to fulfill the DAWN(Amanecer) goals. Pray also for the hugely strategic ministries of the 20 or so seminaries or Bible schools; doubling the number of congregations creates a demand for godly, well-trained pastors. Some schools have been negatively impacted in the past by liberal theology.
Missions vision is still limited, but interest is growing. At least two Uruguayan mission agencies send workers (Avance and Desafio Mundial). There are active international sending bodies such as OM, YWAM, Baptists and AoG. Pray for the growth in Uruguay to mature into a vibrant missionary-sending movement.
Christian support ministries.
- Literature is a vital Christian ministry in this highly literate land. CLC has a ministry through its bookstore and a countrywide bookmobile ministry. IMB and The Bible Society have an extensive literature and Bible distribution ministry. Pray that the written Word may make a lasting impact.
- Radio and TV. With the rise of community radio, evangelical radio is rapidly multiplying. More than 100 local congregations started radio ministries, but the passing of a new community radio law means these will need to obtain licences or stop broadcasting. The Evangelical Armenian Church has a TV ministry that is also having some impact in Uruguay.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.