Baptist International Missions, Inc.

Palau - Far East

Religion: Roman Catholic 49.4%, Protestant 30.9% (includes Protestant (general) 23.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.3%, and other Protestant 2.5%), Modekngei 8.7% (indigenous to Palau), Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 8.8%, none or unspecified 1.1%

Population: 21,186

Capital: Melekeok 1,000

Language: Palauan (official on most islands) 66.6%, Carolinian 0.7%, other Micronesian 0.7%, English (official) 15.5%, Filipino 10.8%, Chinese 1.8%, other Asian 2.6%, other 1.3% Note: Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official)

Nationality: Palauan

Time difference: 14 hours ahead of EST @ Standard Time

Ethnic groups: Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian admixtures) 72.5%, Carolinian 1%, other Micronesian 2.4%, Filipino 16.3%, Chinese 1.6%, Vietnamese 1.6%, other Asian 3.4%, white 0.9%, other 0.3%

Government type: constitutional government in free association with the US

Literacy rate: 92%

Summary of Palau

For the people of Palau the full moon symbolizes peace, love, and tranquility, three words just as easily associated with this Pacific island paradise. Located east of the Philippines and north of Indonesia, the islands of Palau are surrounded by a 70 mile barrier reef and are found at the intersection of three of the ocean's largest currents, drawing together a great diversity of animal life. Filled with natural beauty, this nation has also endured some of World War II's hardest fighting and a history of foreign influence. There is a strong sense of Palauan identity, and the people are slow to let go of their ancestral roots.

Tourism, government employment, and subsistence farming and fishing form the basis of the Palauan economy. The government is the largest employer, providing jobs to 40% of the population. Compared with the region, Palau has a high personal income. Many people visit Palau as tourists, and the prospects for this industry are good due to the growth of air travel in the region and good tourist infrastructure. A 1994 compact agreement between Palau and the United States provided Palau with economic aid while the US gained access to the land for strategic reasons.

Ninety-six percent of the Palauan population consider themselves Christians, with 42% Catholic and 26% protestant - including a growing evangelical segment. Religious leaders are highly respected, and there is strong community participation in the churches. Yet Christianity faces many challenges in Palau. Nominalism is widespread. There is much syncretism among the older population who follow the Modekngei religion, which mixes Christianity and magic. The younger generations face the common temptations of materialism and pluralism. There are serious social problems on the island including alcoholism, high rates of divorce, and drug use among the youth.

(Used with permission from
((Statistical information taken from CIA World Factbook))

Missionaries in Palau:

Far East Director

David & Jenny Harris

Read more about the Harris family.
Cell: 770-656-4917
He can be contacted through the BIMI office (423) 344-5050 ex. 2402.

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