The fifth largest economy in Latin America, Colombia exports principally coffee and oil as well as emeralds. Recent tensions with neighbours Ecuador and Venezuela concerning cross-border guerrilla activity and drug smuggling have coloured regional relations. In the 1990s illegal coca growth and processing for cocaine grew substantially, with significant associated economic, social and environmental costs.
Colombia has highly productive farming land as well as Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and mountain ranges at the northern limits of the Andes that are susceptible to pacific rim earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. Two wet winters and two dry summers per year are normal in most parts. Colombia’s high levels of bio-diversity are recognised globally, particularly of butterflies.
The third most populous country in Latin America, Colombia celebrates creativity and colour, resourcing design and other industries. Under extreme pressures of a civil war over 50 years that has left some four million people displaced internally and with traumatic stories dominant for many communities, the resilience and resourcefulness of Colombian society is impressive.
A mainly strongly conservative Catholic church is challenged by Evangelical church growth, where the biggest Pentecostal denomination has three thousand congregations spread throughout the country. Afro-american rooted groups can include syncretistic ancestral worship practices.
The team covers bible seminary leadership and teaching in mission studies in Medellin, bible translation for the deaf and for a tribal group, youth mission trips on a wide scale, and care for communities displaced through guerrilla or paramilitary activity.
Given the extreme levels of instability that Colombia has experienced there are ample opportunities for work in resettlement and care for traumatised communities, including the devising of income generation strategies for those who have lost their principle means of earning a living by having to move away from the land they own. Church leadership training remains a keenly needed resource at many levels.