Baptist International Missions, Inc.

Oceania Islanders

Vanuatu is a Y-shaped chain of islands located between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. Its nearest neighbor is the Solomon Islands. There are over 80 islands with a population of approximately 200,000. The official language is Bislama with English and French also recognized as official languages. There are at least 110 other languages spoken.

In 1774, Captain Cook named the islands New Hebrides after the Hebrides near Scotland. By the late 1800s, the English and French had settled in Vanuatu and had signed an agreement making it a joint dominion. In July of 1980, the islands became an independent nation and changed their name to Republic of Vanuatu.

Christian missionaries came in the 1800s and now the largest denominations are Presbyterian, Anglican and Roman Catholic. God has now opened the door for independent Baptists to minister there. There is a great need for evangelization, church planting and translation work.

The Solomon Islands lie in the SW Pacific, east of Papua New Guinea. The two main islands are Malaita to the north and Guadalcanal to the south. The first European explorer to visit the islands was the Spanish captain Alvaro de Mendena de Neira in 1568. His colonizing efforts failed. Later the northern Solomons were controlled by the Germans and the southern Solomons by the English. Settlers and missionaries came in the 18th century.

During World War II the islands became the first place Marines landed during the war. The battle at Guadalcanal proved to be a turning point in the Pacific. The country has been favorable to America ever since.

The Solomon Islands became self-governing in 1976 and have a parliamentary form of government. Most of the people are Melanesians. Some are Polynesians. There are different Christian denominations with about a third of the populace being members of the Church of Melanesia. The Southsea Evangelical Church is also well attended.

Papua New Guinea lies to the north of Australia in the eastern area and shares land mass with the western half that is part of Indonesia. Most of the country has not been explored. There are an estimated 6 million plus people who for the most part live outside the major cities. It is one of the most rural countries on earth.

During World War I the country was occupied by Australia. Not until 1975 did they receive their independence. However, it remained as part of the English Commonwealth. Although English is an official language, the primary language is Tok Pigin or commonly known in English as New Guinea Pidgin. There are 842 different languages.

A census shows that 96% of the population of Papua New Guinea claimed to be a member of a Christian church. A survey shows that Baptists make up only 0.5%. Over the last 43 years, BIMI has had thirteen couples and one single lady serving in this needy country. At present, only one couple is still ministering in Papua New Guinea. At least 50 churches have been started. A strong Bible college and camp ministry are going strong in Lae. Many national pastors have been trained and have gone back to their one tok (home village.) There is still much to be done. "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest..."

Southeast Asia Director

Steven & Christy Maldoff

Read more about the Maldoffs. He may be contacted through the BIMI office at (423) 344-5050.

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Euro-Islam (Europe)
• Islam: the fastest growing religion in Europe
• Many European cities with Muslim concentrations of 15–25%
• Very few Muslims having heard the Gospel

Rwanda (Africa)
• Most densely populated country in Africa
• To our knowledge, only one Baptist church planter working here
• Language preference recently changed from French to English

Tohoku, Japan (Far East)
• Northern part of Honshu (tsunami hit area)
• Includes 6 different prefectures
• Population 9,335,636 (only 11 independent Baptist churches)

Oceania Islanders (Southeast Asia)
• 71 language groups in the Solomon Islands
• Land mass of Papua New Guinea larger than California
• 108 language groups in Vanuatu

Greenland (Far North)
• Population of approximately 56,500
• 88% Inuit and 12% European
• State religion: Lutheranism

US Military Personnel (Military Missions)
• US military presence in 150 countries
• Our goal: to see a church planted near every military base
• Often results in international ministry

Northwestern United States (USA)
• Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
• Home to over 13 million citizens
• The state of Washington: highest percentage of people in US claiming to have no religion

The Mayan Nation (Central America)
• Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize
• Between 20 & 30 million Mayan descendants
• 69 different spoken dialects

Northern Dominican Republic (Caribbean)
• Over 2 million people in this area
• Immediate need for 8 churches
• Very little work done in this area by independent Baptists

French Guiana (South America)
• Population 235,000 (70% Creole and approximately 14% European ancestry)
• 83% Catholic with no known independent Baptist missionaries
• Predominantly French speaking with a Creole/Caribbean culture

The Forgotten People of the Amazon (Brazil)
• Largest concentrations of uncontacted people in the world
• Most remote and uncharted places on earth, yet inhabited by 67 different people groups
• Mobile medical clinics opening doors in areas otherwise inaccessible