Micronesia
Religion: Roman Catholic 54.7%, Protestant 41.1% (includes Congregational 38.5%, Baptist 1.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 0.8%, Assembly of God .7%), Mormon 1.5%, other 1.9%, none 0.7%, unspecified 0.1%

Population: 105,681

Capital: Palikir 7,000

Language: English (official and common language), Chuukese, Kosrean, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarang

Nationality: Micronesian

Time difference: 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Ethnic groups: Chuukese/Mortlockese 49.3%, Pohnpeian 29.8%, Kosraean 6.3%, Yapese 5.7%, Yap outer islanders 5.1%, Polynesian 1.6%, Asian 1.4%, other 0.8%

Government type: constitutional government in free association with the US

Literacy rate: 89%

Summary of Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia are a group of Islands north of Papua New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. Comprised of 607 islands, the archipelago contains mountainous islands, coral atolls, and volcanic outcroppings. Ethnicity, village, class, kinship, and religion are much stronger identifiers in day-to-day activity than the Micronesian identity, yet there is still a sense of “unity among diversity” that draws them together. The islands suffered major depopulation following contact with Europeans in the 1800’s, but since then the population has continued to grow. Ruled by Spain, Germany, and Japan, and then under American control as a UN Trust Territory, Micronesia continues in a free association with the U.S.

Over 90% of the Micronesian government’s income comes from U.S. aid, and the economy revolves around the public sector. Suffering from high unemployment, lack of mineral deposits, and limited tourism potential due to an isolated position and poor infrastructure, Micronesia has a population that relies heavily on subsistence farming and fishing. The nation has a dim economic future, as the industrial sector has not experienced much success and future reductions in U.S. aid are planned. Micronesian waters are abundant with tuna, which provide over half of the nation’s internal revenue.

During the Spanish rule, all inhabitants of the islands were catholicized. Today Micronesia is 95% Christian, with nearly half protestant and the other Catholic. However, there are still traces of the former animistic traditions that focus on the power of deceased ancestors, magic, spirits, spirit possession, and the use of traditional narcotics. Of the Christian population, 24% are described as evangelical, but nominalism is high among the protestant churches and there is much cronyism among the leadership. One estimate states that 99% of the pastors in Micronesia were appointed with no theological training. The Micronesian church faces many challenges, including consumeristic influences from the U.S., high delinquency and suicide among the youth, Mormon missionary activity, and limited Bible translations.

(Used with permission from www.prayercast.com/micronesia.html.)

Missionaries in Micronesia:


Thursday, October 23, 2014