|Republic of Vanuatu|
Area 12,190 sq.km. Twelve larger and 70 smaller islands southeast of the Solomon Islands in the SW Pacific. Formerly New Hebrides.
Capital Vila 31,800 on Efate Island. Urbanites 20%.
Ni-Vanuatu 98.6%. Melanesian(102) 182,000; Polynesian(3) 4,000.
Caucasian 1%; mainly English- and French-speaking.
Other Pacific Islanders 0.4%. Wallisians, Fijians, Tongans, I-Kiribati, etc.
Literacy 53%. Official languages Bislama (Pidgin English), English, French. All languages 109, but only 36 local languages are spoken by more than 1,000 people. Languages with Scriptures 4Bi 5NT 29por 15w.i.p.
Over 80% of the population is involved in subsistence agriculture. Main exports are copra, beef, timber, cocoa. Vanuatu is becoming a noted tax haven and tourist destination. HDI 0.627; 116th/174. Public debt 16% of GNP. Income/person $1,290 (4% of USA).
Bizarre Anglo-French Condominium 1914-1980 with duplicated administration, police and education. Independent in 1980 as a parliamentary republic but politics still affected by the impact of dual colonialism with tensions between Francophone and Anglophone political parties. Recent years have been politically stable.
There is religious freedom.
1 There have recently been significant turnings to Christ from the John Frum cargo cultists. (These cults emerged as a result of World War II and a belief that ship- and plane-loads of supplies would come from 'John from' America.) The trigger for this was the ministry of a YWAM mercy ship.
1 Vanuatu's motto is "In God we stand". Pray that the leaders of this complex little nation may be an example in doing so. Christians played a major role in the attainment of independence and in subsequent governments.
2 The Protestant church is numerically strong mainly Anglicans in the north and Presbyterians in the centre and south. Some islands have been touched by revival and the AoG has grown rapidly; however, in other islands spiritual life is at a low ebb, few having heard a clear gospel presentation. Pray for the training of leaders in the AoG, Church of Christ, Anglican, Apostolic and two Presbyterian Bible colleges. Pray for Spirit-filled leaders who know how to apply Scripture to life.
3 Missionary martyrs in evangelizing these islands have been many. Today the Church welcomes missionaries in a supportive role for teaching the Word; the largest agencies are SIL (12 workers), Australian Churches of Christ (10), and US AoG (2). Pioneer work is also still needed for a number of smaller, superficially evangelized peoples, especially in Bible translation and literacy work.
5 Bible translation, vernacular literacy and training Ni-Vanuatu are major ongoing tasks. At least 20, and probably more, languages require NT translations or revisions. UBS and SIL are involved in 13 projects. Pray for wisdom as to which of the small language groups warrant the effort, and for Bible translation/literacy teams of expatriates and people from Vanuatu.
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