The South Pacific covers one third of the earth’s surface. Australia and New Zealand are highly developed countries (Australia has the world’s 12th largest economy) in contrast to the smaller islands where agriculture, fishing and tourism are the major industries. China is having an increasing economic impact on the region.
Student movements in the South Pacific region face a wide-range of challenges: from rampant secularism in Australia and New Zealand to economic and political instability in Fiji; from the geographic isolation of Tonga to the challenge of indigenous practices in parts of Papua New Guinea.
Particularly encouraging is the growth in partnerships of Australia and New Zealand with other IFES movements in the Pacific region and as well as Africa. In addition, AFES hosts a National Training Event to equip students for leadership; they invite students from throughout the region, and also from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
View from the inside
Richard Chin is AFES National Director and the Regional Secretary for the South Pacific. He says, ‘the gospel is “the power of God for salvation for all who believe” (Romans 1:16). So my prayer is for all our students to be radically transformed by the gospel into disciples of Jesus and disciple-makers of all nations for his glory.’
- for small island movements where there are very few or no staff workers, that God will sustain and grow the students to a mature faith;
- for students to be equipped for leadership at the national and regional conferences;
- for God to raise up more staff and encourage the ministry of graduate volunteers;
- for growth in the ministry to international students, especially in Australia and New Zealand