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Regional Report for the Seoul Council

Central America (September 2009)

Joaquín Maldonado




The Central American Region AMCF involves nine countries:  Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic.  In all those countries, the percentage of evangelical Christians is very low.  The society has advanced in terms of economic and social development; however, it has drawn back in the practice of ethics, moral and spiritual values.  Nowadays, the system that rules the World is more concerned with the economy:  productivity, competition, consumption and illicit enrichment.

From the beginning of the XX century, a profane trend intends to separate God from the activities that take place in society, and tries to insist that religious belief should belong only to private life. This concept, absurd to the Christian, is basically related to the laicism-relativism that aims at organizing the public, social and political life ignoring any religious orientation.


That is why it is very difficult for Christian military and police to live in an environment where most of their uniformed colleagues do not share their beliefs.   They are constantly being attacked by some elements of the traditional faith that impose their own customs and beliefs in the daily activities of a military base or police commissary.  However, in the end we all share the Judeo-Christian faith.  For instance, in Cuba and Mexico, the gospel is pretty much restricted.


General Situation


In Latin America, the common features are very significant.  In terms of its history, during the process of freedom and independence, national cultures were created with the presence of the Hispanic culture that imposed its language, customs, religion, ideology and organizational systems.


Despite the notorious differences, the Caribbean region has its own characteristic features but is closely related to the continental Latin America.  The various countries in the Caribbean were also under the European colonialism when the depending economies were established.  It was under these conditions that dominant and dominated cultures arose.  Religion is part of the cultural identity.  It is a human creation and part of culture and a culture itself.


The Catholic in Central America is characterized by popular religious practices like indulgencies and penitence, reliquary veneration, worship of images, and saint intercession, as well as symbols and magical religious rituals.  As a consequence, there is idolatry, religious syncretism, ecumenism and a deep belief in magic and witchcraft.


In terms of popular religiosity, the problem is generational.  It entitles a large variety of social, cultural and religious phenomena, like:  processions, mass, praying the rosary, pilgrimage, penitence, patron feasts, saint worship and intercession, baptism and virginal feasts, all loaded with superstition.  These include magic and religious celebrations related to everyday life like birth, teenage rituals, sweet sixteen, dating, marriage, illness, death, nine and forty day mortuary praying. 


In that path, in some Latin American countries, particularly in Guatemala, popular religiosity of medieval origin is present.  It has been a long and complex history that impregnated the Christianization conducted over five hundred years ago, along with the Mayan culture, full of rites, sacrifices and its polytheist-animist cosmovision.  As a result of the Spanish conquest, the religious syncretism has turned the manifestations of popular religiosity into a more complex Roman Catholic practice.


Central America is made up of Latinos and other races. But it was mainly the indigenous which inherited from the Spaniards, both Christianity and slavery. 



Particular Situation


There are Military and Police Christian Fellowships already established and working in five countries:  Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Also, some contacts in Cuba, El Salvador y Nicaragua.  However, the fellowships are not self supportive to cover the country nor the entire region.


There are military chaplains in active duty only in Guatemala, Catholic and Evangelical, as well as Military Chaplains trained by the IAEC.  Chaplaincy Service is greatly influenced by the personal belief of its Commander who, as it has been the case, is biased by his own faith, not seeking an overall benefit for all military believers.  This has been a great obstacle to take the Good News to all military bases.   Also, to be granted permission for praying and preaching inside a military facility is very difficult. It usually depends on the personal belief of the Commander.


The MCFs in the region work are funded by their members.  Then, the acquisition and distribution of Bibles and tracks gets even more difficult.  The MCFs are interdenominational, in that senses there have been very little problems of theological or denominational nature.


The Strategy


1.  To enhance the already established MCFs through encouragement and training.

2.  To use various means of communication to keep a constant communication.

3.  To have a missionary trip at least every other year to encourage the MCFs in each country.

4.  To establish a praying base everyday at 2100 involving the World association and the regional MCFs, along with the noon prayer of the MCFs.

5.  To present seminars and conferences in countries with contacts only, to encourage them to establish a fellowship.

6.  To train every Christian military and police in the fellowship, and the IAEC chaplains to become missionaries within the armed forces, inside the unit they are assigned to.

7.  To hold conferences for the Central American region fellowships every two years.




1.  In the Central American Region there is a rapid growth of the Christian faith amongst the military and police force.  They are committed to accomplish the Great Commission no matter the sanctions they may be subject to.


2.  The Catholic Church dominates and enforces a political power.  However, since 2007, the evangelical military Christians have had great results by taking part in religious activities inside the institution.  Every day, doors are being opened by the grace of God.




1.  That each Christian Fellowship perseveres in the faith and accomplishment of the Great Commission.

2.  To continue keeping the unity of the fellow military Christians in the same spirit and conducting activities to develop strategies to strengthen their spiritual and professional lives, to serve God and our military fellows that still do not know the Word. 

3.  To pray and study the Bible as a group.





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1  - Lei('Stan')     Admin 2009-08-12 4229
2  VP(Lei)     Lei 2009-08-12 3871
3  VP(Komo)     Komo 2009-08-12 4126
4  - Neil(2)     Admin 2009-08-12 4616
5  - Neil(1)     Admin 2009-08-12 4401
6  VP(Neil)     Neil 2009-08-12 3868
 VP(Maldonado)     Maldonado 2009-08-12 3962
8  - W(Pakistan)     Admin 2009-08-12 4073
9  - W(Sri Lanka)     Admin 2009-08-12 4063
10  - W(Nepal)     Admin 2009-08-12 4600
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