- Population: 18.3 million
- Area: 756,626 km2
- Climate: World’s driest desert (N) Cold and damp (S)
- Capital: Santiago de Chile
- Currency: Chilean Peso
- People: 96% Hispanic, 3% Mapuche and other Indigenous, 1% Other
- Official Languages: Spanish, Mapudungun
Chile is 4,200 km long north–to-south, and on average only 150 km wide east–to-west. The climate therefore varies greatly, based on altitude (from the Pacific coast to the Andes mountain range), and latitude (from the Atacama Desert to the Antarctic tundra). Easter Island with its ancient monuments is also part of Chile. Most of the population lives in the central parts of the country.
The violent coup in 1973 that ousted the leftist government of Salvador Allende and brought General Pinochet to power has left lasting scars. More recently there has been significant conflict between the state and the Mapuche people. There is still a great need for reconciliation and forgiveness, justice and truth. Meanwhile, the strongly centrally directed economy has been relatively successful and there are important presidential elections at the end of 2017.
Chile has a fairly simple mix of ethnicities compared to many other Latin American countries, with 96 per cent of the population being Hispanic and 3 per cent being from Mapuche or other indigenous peoples. There are high levels of literacy and education. Communities can often be affected by natural disasters, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, causing great disruption.
In a Catholic cultural context, the 1909 Pentecostal Methodist revival gave birth to a unique movement that has resulted in some 19 per cent of Chileans being evangelical, and most of these Pentecostal. There is still a vital challenge for Christians in Chile to take on a wider vision of mission.
In recent years, Latin Link’s focus in Chile has been on supporting student evangelism and discipleship, based in Santiago, Valparaíso and Temuco. Stride placements have also included projects in a nursery, a school, church-based community and youth work, and tourism.
Opportunities abound in student and church-based work, especially among youth and children. Other opportunities include helping to equip Chileans for cross-cultural service. For example, the Alianza Cristiana y Misionera Missions Training College in Temuco is currently looking for someone to teach English as part of their cross-cultural mission course.
For more information, please see the Opportunities page of our International website (this will open a new tab).