|Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies|
Area 18,734 sq.km. One large 400 km-long island, the Loyalty Islands, and other smaller coral islands 1,400 km north-east of Australia.
Capital Nouméa 118,000. Urbanites 60%.
Melanesian 52%. Indigenous (Kanak) 93,000 (27 distinct languages). Mixed race 20,000.
Polynesian 14%. Wallisian 16,000; Tahitian 7,000; Futunan 3,600.
Caucasian 28.8%. Caledoche French 54,000 (75% Caledoche, 25% Metropolitan French); Italian 5,600.
Asian 5.2%. Indonesian 8,000; Vietnamese 3,000.
Literacy 92%. Official language French. All languages 38. Languages with Scriptures 4Bi 1NT 4por.
Rich mineral deposits (40% of the world's nickel reserves and third largest producer) have brought prosperity to the immigrant peoples. The Asian recession of the late '90s slowed growth. Unemployment 15%. Income/person $15,720 (59% of USA).
French colony in 1883; overseas territory of France since 1946. Exploitation of, and discrimination against, the indigenous peoples provoked an independence movement which led to violence in 1985. Agreement was reached for three regional governments in 1988, leading to a referendum on independence in 1998. This resulted in an agreement for 20 years of local autonomy with partnership between the indigenous Melanesians and immigrants.
Freedom of religion in an increasingly secularized society. Almost the entire non-Melanesian, and most of the Melanesian, population has no meaningful contact with a church.
1 The 1998 accord commits the government to enact legislation to restore rights, respect cultures and draw the marginalized Kanaks into full partnership in economic, legal and political life. The period of transition needs to be a time of healing for the serious mistakes of the past. Pray that this time of change may be positive, peaceful and fair to all.
2 The Kanak peoples are Christianized and nearly every village has a church, but the traumatic colonial take-over damaged their self-image and led them to confuse the gospel with Western culture. Christianity is often a veneer over the underlying animism of the past. Even many pastors fail to discern between occultic practices and what the gospel teaches. Pray that a truly biblical yet indigenous Christian witness may be raised up, and the power of the gospel demonstrated over all the power of the evil one.
3 Many of the Protestant churches are influenced by liberation theology, though in recent years the Free Evangelical Church has become theologically evangelical, with touches of revival. Pray for the raising up of many godly leaders. There is an interdenominational Bible School which had 50 students in 1999.
4 Missions. The first missionary was a Rarotongan from the Cook Islands. Later LMS work was taken over by the PMS. The AoG has grown both among the urban Melanesians and the Francophones. Pray for expatriate missions ministry into the churches to be fruitful and blessed of God.
c) The Caledoche are descendants of convicts and settlers who arrived in the last century. Most live in and around Nouméa. They are fairly closed to outside influence, and there are very few evangelical believers among them. The AoG have won some to Jesus.
6 Bible translation is still a challenge as Melanesian languages regain their status in the school system. There are 7 languages with an established translation need and 21 others need further survey work. Pray for the ongoing need for research, continuing translation work and the calling and equipping of translation teams. Pray also that the Scriptures may provide solid foundations for the gospel in each ethnic group.
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