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Latin America

Latin America: A Religious Mixture

Latin America is the group of countries in the Americas where primarily Spanish and Portuguese are spoken. It consists of 20 sovereign nations and several territories, which stretch from the northern border of Mexico to the southern tip of South America, including the Caribbean. It is almost 13% of the earth’s land surface area. As of 2015, its population was estimated at more than 626 million. The term “Latin America” was first used in 1861. About 80% of the population considers themselves Roman Catholics

Population: 604,000,000

Spiritually lost: 503,000,000 (83%)

Unreached people groups: 646

  • Serving Guatemala since 2011
  • Short-term missions since 1990
  • Mission focus: 5-days a week feeding program
  • Mary Purvis founded Guatemala Landing Zone (GLZ)
  • Accomplishments: facilitates numerous short-term missions to Guatemala

Guatemala: Mary (Haring) Purvis

Guatemala Landing Zone was founded in 2011 by Mary (Haring) Purvis. Mary was raised in Michoacan, Mexico, the daughter of missionaries. She had been helping lead short-term mission trips to Guatemala since 1990. Being fluent in Spanish and knowing the hispanic culture quite well, helped the adjustment of moving. Although Mary was in her 50’s when she moved permanently to the mountains of Guatemala, she says, “I realized God had been preparing me for this my entire life.” See below for more.

More About Mary Purvis and GLZ

GLZ is located in the remote village of Rabinal, Baja Verapaz. It is a hub for mission teams to come and serve the Lord in many capacities, including medical and dental teams, VBS teams, clothing and shoe distribution, and some just come “to love on the people.” Mary also began a feeding program in 2012 called “Banderas de Amor” (Banners of Love) where she currently feeds over 125 children and elderly people a hot meal a day, Monday thru Friday. She also sends special, fortified rice to numerous other remote villages in the area.

For more information about GLZ, you can find her on facebook at Guatemala Landing Zone. Her website is or you can contact IOM for more information on her ministry.