The Embera people are a small people group dispersed throughout Colombia and Panama. In Colombia, there are many different Embera tribes that are separated geographically and linguistically. The Embera-Catio live in the Choco region of Colombia. The Choco region is a very remote area surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. This region is not accessible through normal means of transportation due to lack of roads and the many rivers which feed into the ocean. The Embera-Catio practice ancient ethnic religions which include worship of ancestors and nature; many frequently visit and depend on Shamans or healers.
Engagement // What’s Happening Now
The Embera-Catio predominantly work as farmers growing a variety of crops to feed their families but many have moved into the cities due to guerrilla warfare. While this has been devastating to many of the Embera – Catio it has opened doors for Christians in their communities to be able to reach them with a message of hope and salvation.
Sustainability // The Bigger Story
The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region has developed an entitative to reach unreached people in Colombia.
LAC region states:
“Our strategy is to join hands and resources with our brothers from the national churches as they have emerged as a great missionary force. With strong collaboration between the North Americans and our Latino brothers, we have a much larger, stronger, and better-equipped team to reach the unreached. To meet the needs of these cultures, together we are rethinking traditional ideas of the church and how the Kingdom of God is to be expanded. We are learning and teaching new strategies in order to bring our UPG missionaries to a new level of mobility, effectiveness, and sustainability of the work. We also continue to develop ministry resources that can be used throughout the region to facilitate teamwork and which can be adapted to different settings.”
Partnership // Move Beyond
Entrepreneurs: Many of the Embera – Catio were forced to move to the cities and live in slums due to guerrilla wars. How can you contribute to them being able to successfully thrive in Colombia’s large cities?
Readers, Writers, and Speakers: Some Embera – Catio speak Spanish and are able to be reached through Spanish materials and literature but many still speak their native tongue. A complete bible currently does not exist in the Embera – Catio language. How can you reach the Embera – Catio in their native heart language?
Problem Solvers: The national Assemblies of God church in Colombia has a strong presence. Pray for solutions to ethnic rivalries and that the hearts of Colombian believers may be burdened by the unreached around them.