Pray for Our World: Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a group of small islands southeast of the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific.  Somewhat isolated, they are vulnerable to weather and climate changes. There are about 140 languages spoken among the 260,000 people that occupy the islands. For a small country, they have an infamous history. Captain Cook named the islands the New Hebrides in 1774, which stayed as their name until their independence in 1980. They are also known historically for their cannibalism, but they are not the only remote island to have had that practice.

After WW II, they were known for the “John Frum” cargo cults that emerged on the islands. John Frum was a figure – some say a spirit or a tribal god, others say an American serviceman, who promised wealth and prosperity to the people if they followed him. His followers had to give up all their money and contact with Christianity. During WW II, American troops were stationed there and brought lots of supplies or cargo. After the war when the troops departed, followers of John Frum built landing strips to encourage American airplanes to land and bring them cargo. Hence, “John from” America.

Recent work by Presbyterians and the Jesus film have led thousands to Christ coming out of the “John Frum” cults. Vanuatu was rededicated to the Lord on May 14, 2006 at the 400th anniversary of naming the South Pacific Islands the “Great Southlands of the Holy Spirit”. Thousands participated in acts of repentance, celebration, communion and prayer, including the President, First Lady and other government figures. Christianity plays a major role in the independence and leadership of the country. Pray for the leadership that they may continue to build a strong, spiritual country.

Pray for Our World: French Polynesia

The French Polynesia is a group of over 100 islands in the South Pacific.  It was one of the last places on earth to be inhabited.  The main islands are Tahiti and Bora Bora.  The official language is French, and France controls the aid and military to the islands.

It is no doubt a beautiful place, but it is also a paradise lost.  Formerly, it was a strong Christian nation that sent missionaries all over the Pacific.  Today, it is debased by increasing vices and immorality.  Tahitian missionaries no longer go out to other islands.  The Catholic church has had some renewal in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but many have returned to tribal pagan influence.

Pray for the Christian churches there, that they may have revival and gain more influence over other strong influences on the islands such as paganism and mormonism which have been on the increase.

Pray for Our World: Fiji

Fiji is a small country and group of islands in the South Pacific.  It is known for its coral reefs, sparkling clear lagoons, scuba diving and snorkeling.  Many are descendants from indentured servants imported by the British from 1879 to 1916.  There have been several coups over recent years, and the fact that residents cannot own land has made many people emigrate away from the islands.  It is majority Christian and tightly aligned with the Methodist church, even politically, which has caused some problems.

The Bible Society for the South Pacific is located in Fiji.  Pray for their ability to have more Fijiian translations and Christian literature, and a way to reach the youth, who are often troubled with alcoholism and poverty.