The 50 Largest Cities of South America: #50 Rosario Argentina
You have probably seen a Catholic Rosary, the beads that Catholics use to pray with. The Spanish word for Rosary is Rosario, which is also the name of the city that we minister in. Rosario is the third largest city in Argentina. The city has almost one million inhabitants and its metro area is populated with over one million, six hundred thousand people. Though Rosario sits inland by almost 200 miles it is a port city because it rest on the banks of the Paraná river. The Paraná river is larger than the Mississippi river, and cargo ships from all over the world dock in the river’s channel to receive cargos of soy, wheat, and corn to take back to their countries.
The vast majority of Rosario’s population are descendants of immigrants from European countries like Italy, Spain, and England. At the end of World War 1 over 47% of the entire city’s population were immigrants who had fled Europe. It is home to some very famous people, such as soccer super-star Lionel Messi. Also the revolutionary Che Guevara who helped the Castor brothers bring revolution to Cuba was a Rosarino. The city is home to thousands of international students who have come to study in the city’s university, which is free.
Because of its strong Italian influence, Rosario is known for its many pizzerias and artisanal ice cream. Here as well as in the rest of Argentina you will find the “parrillas,” which are restaurants that specialize in the steak and meats that Argentina is so famous for. The city also prides itself on its monument to the Argentine flag and its creator Manuel Belgrano, because here is where the flag was designed and first flown.
The spiritual needs are great and diverse. It is a city that on one hand is secular and progressive, and on the other full of folk religion, superstition, and witchcraft. It is a city known for its inclusion of the LGBQT movement, but also for its very conservative Catholicism. There is also a very popular priest, Father Ignacio, who conducts healings like a television evangelist, and whose church is attended by thousands each week. In most evangelical churches, the true Gospel message has been set aside for the deceptive prosperity gospel. There are Jehovah’s Witnesses found in every corner of the city, and they can be seen distributing their propaganda in every neighborhood. As of last year there were only two Independent Baptist churches in our city. This year we and another missionary family have planted two more churches. We need to plant at least 28 more churches in Rosario and the surrounding towns to have a sufficient Gospel witness.
Will you pray that God would raise up more laborers for this city? Will you prayerfully consider surrendering your life to come and help us here?