Uruguay: “La Garra Charrúa”

Although the 2022 World Cup has finished, we have decided to feature a few more of the nations that were involved. The goal is always to get to know the country, celebrate them, and pray for its people. So let’s keep this emphasis going…

By: Wenses Salomón Pool Albornoz

Uruguay, officially called the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a sovereign country in South America, located in the eastern part of the Southern Cone and bordered to the northeast by Brazil. The territory was also known as Banda Oriental during colonial times.

Introduced by English immigrants in the 1880s — more precisely, to the capital city of Montevideo — soccer is by far the most popular sport in the country, and the Uruguayan national team has won two World Cups so far: once in 1930, and again in 1950. In the soccer world, they are commonly known by the nickname “La Garra Charrúa” (The Charrúa Claw), which goes back to 20th century early years when Uruguay exhibited their now-characteristic determination, or garra, during the first America’s Cup ever, held in 1916. Uruguay kicked off its participation in this World Cup in Qatar on Thursday, November 24th against South Korea, and eventually was eliminated in the group stage.

Uruguayan culture is extremely varied because the country was built with help from many different immigrants from many different parts of the world, all bringing customs and traditions from their home countries to Uruguay. Although shared with Argentina, the Tango is one of the most original characteristics of the rioplatense culture, with the Gaucho serving as a renowned archetype of the eastern prairies. The typical clothing of the Uruguayan gaucho is known as “pilcha”; made up of a hat, a handkerchief, a chiripá, a field jacket, boots with spurs, a lazo, boleadoras, and a poncho.

The first steps to initiate the work of the Church of the Nazarene in Uruguay were taken in December 1948 by the Argentinian District Superintendent – pioneer missionary John Cochran – and his wife María. A family who was a part of the missionary team in Argentina answered the call to be sent to Montevideo to continue that work. With the company and support of the District Superintendent, a series of evangelistic meetings were held with chairs and a pulpit loaned by the Methodist Church in missionaries Ronaldo, Sarah, and Ronnie Denton’s home living room as of January 16, 1949.

Uruguay currently holds the highest percentage of non-religious people in a Latin American country. Pray for the church there, that they would find creative ways to present the gospel to a culture that has gradually become reluctant to do so. Pray that God will call more pastors and missionaries to be able to preach the good news and initiate transformational works in the many needy cities and villages of Uruguay.

Resources consulted:






Photographer: Alejandro De Vitta

Team photo:


Photographer: Viviana

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