Fiji
Sovereign Democratic Republic of Fiji
May 6
Pacific


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 18,274 sq.km. Two larger and 110 smaller inhabited islands, both volcanic and coralline.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 816,905 +1.25% 45 per sq. km.
2010 936,229 +1.34% 51 per sq. km.
2025 1,104,141 +1.01% 60 per sq. km.

Capital Suva 200,000. Urbanites 12%.

PEOPLES

There has been intense ethnic tension between the indigenous Fijians and immigrant Indians.

Melanesian 50.8%. Fijian 415,000, speaking six related main languages and 30 dialects.

Indian 43.7%. Mainly descendants of indentured labour imported by the British between 1879 and 1916, and also subsequent Gujarati and Sikh immigrants.

Indo-Aryan 31.5%. Hindi 211,000; Bihari 25,000; Bengali 17,000; Panjabi 7,000.

Dravidian 12.2%. Tamil 65,000; Telugu 7,000.

Polynesian 1.7%. Rotuman 10,000 on Rotuma Island. Also immigrant Samoans and Tongans.

Other 3.8%. Euro-Polynesian 9,000; Chinese 8,000; European 3,000; I-Kiribati 2,300.

Literacy 92%. Official language English; Hindustani and Bau Fijian commonly used. All languages 10. Languages with Scriptures 4Bi 1NT 1por.

ECONOMY

Major export earnings are from tourism and sugar. The Indian community dominates nearly all commercial activities, but has no long-term security, not being permitted to own land. Many Indian professionals have emigrated since 1987 – a brain-drain the country could ill afford. HDI 0.763; 61st/174. Public debt 6.2% of GNP. Income/ person $2,470 (8% of USA).

POLITICS

British rule 1874-1970. Post-independence calm, inter-racial balance and relative harmony were interrupted by two military coups in 1987. The aim was to prevent political power going to a democratically elected part-Indian government. Expulsion from the Commonwealth and a discriminatory constitution followed. Political isolation and economic decline stimulated a reversion to democratic rule, an ending of most racial discrimination, return to the Commonwealth and a multi-racial government in 1997. A further coup and intra-military conflict in 2000 again threatened inter-racial harmony and economic growth. The political situation remained volatile in 2001.

RELIGION

The 1987-1999 period was marked by emphasis on Christian traditions and strong Sunday-observance regulations.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 58.32 476,419 +1.4%
Hindu 33.00 269,579 +0.9%
Muslim 7.00 57,183 +1.2%
non-Religious/other 0.80 6,535 +.2%
Sikh 0.55 4,493 +0.2%
Baha'i 0.30 2,451 +1.3%
Chinese 0.02 163 -6.7%
Jewish 0.01 82 +1.3%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 13 36.31 297 +0.3%
Independent 13 4.86 40 +5.1%
Anglican 1 1.10 9 +1.6%
Catholic 1 10.28 84 +1.3%
Marginal 3 2.01 16 +2.1%
Unaffiliated   3.76 31 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Methodist P 1,160 43,956 200,000
Catholic C 34 43,750 84,000
Assemblies of God P 268 18,231 52,231
Seventh-day Adventist P 160 18,801 29,000
Chr. Miss Fll'ship (EHC) I 221 13,287 19,000
Latter-day Saints (Morm) M 22 6,145 11,000
Anglican A 52 3,940 9,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 31 2,009 5,000
United Pentecostal P 128 4,476 4,700
Chr. Outreach Centre I 12 2,098 3,000
Church of God (Clev) P 19 1,800 3,000
Chr Brethren P 20 898 1,500
Other denoms [22]   117 14,600 24,000
Total Christians [34]   2,244 174,000 446,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 17.5 143 +2.9%
Charismatic 12.8 105 +3.1%
  Pentecostal 8.6 70 +3.7%

Missionaries from Fiji
P,I,A 91 in 7 agencies to 16 countries: Australia 15, New Zealand 12.

Missionaries to Fiji
P,I,A 143 in 34 agencies from 18 countries: USA 36, New Zealand 33, Korea 28.



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Answers to Prayer

1 Give praise that the ten years of racial discord and discrimination by Christian Fijians against mainly non-Christian Indians has ended with the unanimous approval of the 1999 Constitution. Pray on for inter-racial respect and harmony in the future.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The legacy of British colonial greed has had a long-term impact on Fiji. These effects:

a) The resentment of the indigenous Fijians against the importation of Indian indentured labour from 1870 onwards. The results were manifest in the high crime rate among Fijians and the 1987 coup and following discrimination against the Indians.

b) The discrediting of Christianity in the eyes of the Indians and the present ingrained attitudes of fear, mistrust, minority complex and insecurity.

c) The close link between Fijian nationalism and politicized Christianity The coup split the dominant Methodist Church.

Pray for a spirit of repentance, healing of past wounds, a fair society, and a new freedom for the true gospel.

2 Fijians embraced Christianity over a century ago, but this was often cultural rather than spiritual. Legalism, nominalism and failure to confront the ongoing worship of ancestral spirit gods are widespread. Alcoholism and broken homes are major social evils. Fiji has a higher percentage of Methodists than any other nation – but there has been a considerable exodus of Fijians from the Methodist Church to other denominations. Pray for a deep work of the Holy Spirit to deal with compromise and ethnic hatred and to bring revival.

3 Newer churches with a more strongly evangelical message are growing, but so too are Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. Also within the Methodist, Anglican and Catholic churches are vigorous evangelical and charismatic movements. However, there is a need for all islands to have exposure to genuine, lived-out Christianity. Pray for agencies involved in church planting and evangelism. The small boat ministry of YWAM and UBS is unique in taking evangelistic teams and Christian literature from island to island, many of which are very isolated.

4 Less reached peoples. The Indians of Fiji form the largest non-Christian community in the Pacific. Only 6% of them claim to be Christian. Indian majority churches are often weakened by a spirit of receiving rather than giving, a lack of stable leadership, and emigration of their most gifted leaders. Pray specifically for:

a) The Hindus, who have been patchily evangelized. Yet during the past four decades there has been a steady trickle of converts to Christianity. The Methodists, AoG, Baptists and Pentecostals all have numbers of Indian Christians. WEC and Pioneers have church-planting ministries committed to ministry among them.

b) The Sikhs and Panjabis have retained more of their culture and language, but there has been little specific outreach to them.

c) The 59,000 Muslim community is tightly knit and very resistant to the gospel. Little is being done to reach them, and the few converted to Christ have suffered considerable persecution. There are several Fijian villages that have become Muslim.

d) The Chinese – mostly Cantonese in origin. There has been more recent immigration from mainland China and Hong Kong. Many speak English. There had been no ministry specifically directed to reach them until 1992 (WEC).

5 Fiji is both a commercial and spiritual hub for the many small nations of the Pacific. Pray therefore for the spiritual revival and health of the Church, more specifically in:

a) Leadership training for the churches. Significant institutions are the Methodist Theological College, the AoG Bible School (100 students), Ambassadors for Christ Bible School (11 students), the Baptist Christian Leadership College in Nasinu, the Catholic Pacific Regional Seminary. The EHC Bible and Missionary Training School and the South Pacific Missionary Training Centre were set up specifically to train workers for cross-cultural work.

b) Ministry to young people. Fiji has serious sociological problems amongst their youth, yet there is a responsiveness that needs to be met. Pray for those specifically ministering to young people in Fiji and the Pacific – CEF (4 workers amongst children), YFC, SU, and YWAM amongst youth, and also Pacific Students for Christ (IFES) and CCCI among students. The University of the Pacific in Fiji has students from every island territory and is strategic for impacting many islands where there is much nominal Christianity.

c) Evangelical networks. There are two umbrella organizations for Evangelicals – the Evangelical Alliance and the Evangelical Fellowship of Fiji. The latter relates to the Evangelical Fellowship of the South Pacific, founded in 1989, which has become a catalyst for cooperation in youth work, women's networks and missions. Pray for a deep unity among believers that transcends denomination, distance and ethnicity.

d) Mission vision Over 300 Fijians have served as long-term missionaries over the last 130 years. The initial enthusiasm waned but is now being revived. YWAM, WEC, Pioneers and CMF have been prominent in channelling Fijians to mission fields around the world. The EFSP has launched the Deep Sea Canoe Mission as a cooperative effort to foster missions vision, identify and train workers. Pray for existing and greater future Fijian missionary investment.

6 Christian help ministries in Fiji have Pacific-wide outreach. Pray for:

a) The Bible Society of the South Pacific based in Fiji. Pray for their endeavours in undertaking surveys of translation needs (much needed in Fiji's dialects now), translation work, printing and distribution of God's Word throughout the Pacific. Translation and revision work in Fijian and Fiji Hindi are important projects. There is also a lack of good Christian literature in these two languages.

b) EHC has been so successful in Fiji that after 3 nation-wide distributions, 6% of the population responded, over 2,000 Christ groups started, and a denomination formed with a strong missions vision.

c) The JESUS film has been extensively used in English, Fijian and Hindi.

d) Specialized agencies include: WVI, committed to wholistic development, Christian Women Communication International with their KYB programmes, Bible distribution of Gideons International, the prisoner rehabilitation ministry of Prison Fellowship and the Nurses Christian Fellowship. All need prayer.

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