(July 2014 estimate)
Thousands of miles from any other land, the tiny island of Nauru sits isolated in the Pacific. Home to just under 10,000 people, this small island of only 21 square miles is the world's smallest republic. When first discovered, it was named “pleasant island” in reference to its lush vegetation and friendly culture. But Nauru is a land of drastic contrasts. Although its location is exotic, its people are quite westernized. The island has seen both independence and brutal occupation, immense wealth and dire economic meltdown.
Early in the 20th century, phosphate mining became central to this small nation's economy. With four-fifths of the island being mined out, though, development came at great cost. As phosphate resources decreased, off-shore banking became a source of immense and immediate wealth. With this increasing wealth came decreasing health. Today over 50% of the population suffers from diabetes, and 90% are overweight and unemployed. With phosphate resources dwindling, the mining industry is no longer a source of substantial income. Off-shore banking was ended to sever ties with money-laundering and criminal activity. These factors, along with immense debt, plunged Nauru into economic ruin. With few jobs, little to no income, and heavy dependence on imports for all its major needs, this nation is in grave economic danger.
Having received the Gospel in the early 1900s, Nauruans are still quite religious (91.5% Christian), with most attending church on a regular basis. Their nation's motto, “God's will first,” signifies their deeply religious roots. But, for many, their faith is works-based, with little understanding of the Gospel. As the economy has crashed, many are seeking answers, and churches are growing. With the JESUS film seen by the entire island and the Bible translated into Nauruan in the 1930's, the people of Nauru have received the opportunity to hear of salvation found in Jesus and his work on the cross.
(Used with permission from www.prayercast.com/nauru.html.)
This remote island may not exist in the consciousness of most people, yet that does not eliminate the tremendous need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed there. There is an Open Door that is currently available to minister to the Islanders. To learn more about how you can get involved with Nauru, please contact BIMI's Southeast Asia Director