Field Update – Colombia, Bolivia, Panama

Ongoing armed conflict and extreme geography make for a very difficult missionary field among Colombia’s indigenous tribes. Today, of 105+ tribes in Colombia, only nine are considered “reached” with the Gospel to the extent that there are any mature churches among them. At least 14 tribes, mostly in Colombia’s Amazon jungle region, are TOTALLY UNREACHED — meaning no believers at all. Some of these are nomadic tribes living in complete isolation. Over 60 tribes in Colombia are unreached in a more general sense, in that there might be handfuls of believers among them who may or may not be meeting together.  Our research so far validates a huge need for missionaries as we… Continue reading

A Survey of Colombia’s Tribes

For three weeks in February, we worked an intense schedule with our team in Colombia to complete the first phase of a nation-wide survey of that country’s tribal groups. About twice the size of the state of Texas, Colombia is divided into six distinct geographic regions. Of these, in February alone, we traveled into the Andes Mountains, the eastern Orinoco Plains (or Llano), and along the northern fringe of the Amazon jungle. Depending on the source, there are between 100-105 tribes in Colombia. So far, we have interviewed key leaders from 12 of these tribes. In the process we have gained valuable insights into the presence and effectiveness of the local church, access to Biblical resources… Continue reading

Ashéninka or Asháninka?

The Amazon jungle region of Peru is home to tribes that still have no contact with the outside world. This isolation is believed to be largely voluntary on the part of certain small, nomadic tribes as they flee encroachment by extractive industries, drug traffickers, and other outside entities pushing their way further into the remote areas where these people groups have traditionally sought refuge. Such isolation, and its underlying causes add difficult dimensions to an already difficult cross-cultural missionary task. And while remoteness and voluntary isolation may affect the bringing of the Gospel to tribal people groups, other factors can certainly… Continue reading

Equipping the tribal church of Colombia!

As written in Ephesians 4:12, we are called “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”. Empowerment is central to our work, and that includes equipping indigenous missionaries to do their own field research. Last month, Drake traveled to Bogota, Colombia, where he was invited by the tribal-led missionary movement of Colombia, RELIEC (Red de Lideres Indigenas Evangelicos de Colombia – Network of Evangelical Indigenous Leaders of Colombia), to train their missionaries through an intensive, two-day workshop. Following the training, he was also invited along with the rest of the ALTECO team to participate in a historic gathering of Colombia’s… Continue reading