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 ministry in the South Pacific
- active in 6 countries – Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia
- growing work in Vanuatu
- largest movement - Australia (4000 students)
- smallest movement - Tonga (a dozen students)
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 region. Their South Pacific Regional Conferences (SPaRC) every four years enable students across the region to enjoy fellowship in the gospel and grow in their vision for student ministry. AFES also hosts an annual National Training Event to transform students by the gospel into disciples of Christ and disciple-makers of the nations for his glory. Students across the South Pacific and many parts of the world are now joining this conference.
- 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.