Martinique is a small volcanic island in the Caribbean Sea. The majority are African Caribbean, and the economy is based on exports of sugar, bananas, petroleum, and rum, along with tourism which is very popular. Martinique is considered an oversea department of France, and dependent on French aid and subsidies.
It can be a very dangerous place to live with major volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. In 1902, Mt. Pelee erupted killing 30,000. The legacy of slavery remains strong too. Pray for the churches there. Many Christians come from dysfunctional families and from a background of immorality and drug abuse, and there seems to be much spiritual apathy among the people. Pray for a spiritual awakening.
Jamaica is a large mountainous island in the Caribbean. Jamaica has a wonderful Christian heritage, and one of the highest number of churches per square mile with several Bible schools and seminaries. However, gangs and drug cartels have also brought high crime, violence and drugs to the country.
The Rastafarians is a common religion in Jamaica, characterized by the colors green, gold, red and black that you see in Jamaican hats, symbols and clothing. It is a mix of Christian beliefs, black consciousness ideas, and social movement. Dreadlocks, reggae music (popularized by Bob Marley), the use of marijuana, and their peace and love philosophy are all part of Rasta. Though it all may sound good, they do not follow the Christian God. Bob Marley sang a song called The Redemption Song, which hints of a spiritual longing and searching. It is said that Bob Marley wanted to convert to Christianity but the people around him convinced him otherwise, as it would not be good for his popularity or their wallet. The story goes that Bob Marley later converted to Christianity and was baptized before he died. I hope he is singing that true Redemption song in heaven today. Our earthly rewards will be quickly gone and forgotten, but our eternal decisions will live on forever.
Pray that the Jamaicans will be able to reclaim their country from the crime and violence and drugs that is taking away our youth and true freedoms.
Guadeloupe is a French-owned island in the Caribbean. France has owned the island since 1635, and with its subsidization from France, there is little motivation for them to be independent. However, the riots of 2009 showed some of their dissatisfaction with France in their standard of living. There is widespread unemployment especially among youth. The people are predominantly of African and South Asian descent.
The island is nominally Christian (in name only), but occultism and magic are large influences. There is the grim legacy of slavery as well that has left its mark. Before 1946 there were no evangelical churches on the island, but the Southern Baptists have helped establish a strong network of churches that have risen up in the last few decades. There is only one Christian bookstore on the island, but the Gideons and The Bible Society help distribute Bibles and Christian literature.
Pray for the people of the island – for employment, freedom from the occult, and for the churches that they may be able to effectively reach the people of the island.
The Dominican Republic shares the eastern portion of an island with Haiti in the Caribbean. They have had five hundred years of turmoil, from European colonization starting with Columbus, foreign disease that wiped out one million indigenous people, and the importation of slaves for the development of large sugar cane plantations. Today there is much corruption, violent crime and promiscuity in the society, which makes it difficult for Christian involvement. The Catholic church enjoys a privileged status from the Pope, while other denominations are still ostracized.
Missions are building in the Dominican Republic, particularly by the Assemblies of God. Pray for the missionaries and Christian church as a whole.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. It is a beautiful country in a time warp from 1959 and has had many obstacles, including the Soviet meltdown in which they no longer received subsidies, the US trade embargo, hurricanes, a repressive socialist government, and corruption. They have a high standard in literacy, education and health, but live with no freedom and with repression of all religion. Restrictions have eased a little since 1990 and they are now considered a secular state rather than an atheist state, easing the discrimination against Christians. 56% of the population claim to be Christian, and evangelicals have doubled between 1995 and 2010.
Pray that the churches will continue to increase in Cuba, and more distribution of Bibles, literature and radio will be available.