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Where Seventh-day Adventists Are Not Yet: Islands

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

There are a handful of far-flung island nations and territories where the Seventh-day Adventist Missionary effort has not gone yet.  These islands can be found in North America, the Indian Ocean, the North and South Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.  Most are remote or small populations or otherwise fairly isolated and each island location presents unique challenges to Protestant missionaries.   

Island Nations and Territories with No Seventh-day Adventists Yet

Saint Pierre and Miquelon:  A tiny piece of residual French empire off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, St Pierre and Miquelon are Roman Catholic through and through.  6,470 kilometres from Brest, the nearest point in Metropolitan France, they remain the only piece of New France in North America.  

 Total island population in January 2009 was 6,345, of which 5,707  lived in Saint-Pierre and 638 in Miquelon. As of the 1999 census, 76% of the population was born on the archipelago, while 16.1% were born in metropolitan France, a large increase from the 10.2% in 1990. In the same census, less than 1% of the population reported being a foreign national. 

100% of residents report being Catholic - the highest concentration in the world. The small population, tight community situation, and the remoteness from the mother country make the growth of Protestant faiths difficult. 

Falkland Islands:  Like the French Islands of St Pierre and Miquelon, the British controlled Falkland Islands are a colonial outpost that prefers to remain tied to the mother country far away.  Population 3,140, the Falklands are really a small village that would be of no consequence if located in the UK, but the remote location in the South Atlantic places the Falklands on the SDA unentered list.  

Most Falkland residents attend Christ Church Cathedral consecrated in 1892 in Stanley, Falkland Islands.  It is the southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world and is known for its whalebone arch, made from the jaws of two blue whales in 1933.   There are also a small contingent of Roman Catholics and a handful of non-religious individuals reported. 


Comoros & Mayotte:  This small group of islands is generally classified as part of Africa because of their location off the coast of the continent in the Indian ocean.  The Comoros were once a French possession, and Mayotte remains administered by France but claimed by the Comoros.  Mayotte has a much higher standard of living that causes the locals to prefer to remain part of the French Republic.  

The Comoros is one of the least populous countries in the world with 780,000 people, but it also is one of the most densely populated, with an average of 275 inhabitants per square kilometre (710 /sq mi).  Mayotte has a population of 194,000 so combined, there are nearly a million people on the 4 main islands.

In 2001, 34% of the population was considered urban, but rural population growth is negative and urban population growth is high. Almost half the population of Comoros is under the age of 15. There are also between 200,000 and 350,000 Comorians in France.

The islands of the Comoros share mostly African-Arab origins.  98% of the population is Sunni Islam and Arab culture is firmly established throughout the archipelago.

 A minority of the population of Mayotte, mostly immigrants from metropolitan France, are Roman Catholic. There are also Malagasy (Christian) and Indian (mostly Ismaili) minorities and small minorities descended from early French settlers. Some Chinese are found on Mayotte and parts of Grande Comore (especially Moroni). A small white minority of French with other European (i.e. Dutch, British and Portuguese) ancestry lives in Comoros but most of the French left after independence in 1975.


Maldives:  Located in the Indian Ocean southwest of the Indian subcontinent the islands and atolls of the Maldives are spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 sq mi), or ocean, making the Maldives one of the world's most geographically dispersed countries.  The population of 313,920 (2010) lives on 200 of its 1,192 islands. 

About a third of the Maldive population lives in the 100% urbanized capital and largest city Male (pictured)

The Maldives are the lowest country in the world on average at just 1.5 m above sea level and they have the lowest highest point (2.3 m) making them susceptible to literally drowning if sea levels rise. 

Islam is the official religion of The Maldives and the practice of any other religion is extremely restricted.  Maldives is a 99.41% Muslim country and in mid-1991 Maldives counted a total of 725 mosques and 266 women's mosques.

The country's constitution enshrines Islam as the state religion including:

Article 2 of the revised constitution says that the republic "is based on the principles of Islam." Article 9 states that "a non-Muslim may not become a citizen"

Article 10 says that "no law contrary to any principle of Islam can be applied"

Article 19 states that "citizens are free to participate in or carry out any activity that is not expressly prohibited by sharia or by the law."

Mosque in Hulhumalé

While Maldives has recently signed on to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it expressed reservations  claiming that "The application of the principles set out in Article 18 of the Covenant shall be without prejudice to the Constitution of the Republic of the Maldives." 

Direct Christian missionary activity is essentially impossible in the Maldives. Even casual interaction between the locals and outsiders is restricted. Although nearly the entire economy relies on tourism, outside the service industry, Male is the only location where the foreign and domestic populations are likely to interact. The tourist resorts are not on islands where the natives live.

A recent case reported by the US State Department and Maldive media illustrates the difficulties faced by a citizen thinking about leaving Islam:

On 29 May 2010 Mohamed Nazim was at a public meeting in the Maldives discussing the subject of religion. Although from a devout Muslim family he declared that his own comparative studies on philosophy had meant he could not accept Islam and declared himself an atheist. He was arrested apparently to save him from being attacked by others at the meeting.

After 3 days of intense counseling and the threat of a state impose death sentence he publicly reverted back to Islam.  Maldivian Police still submitted Nazim's case to their public prosecutors office as of 29 August 2010 for prosecution. 

Tokelau:  A tiny territory of New Zealand (formerly British Empire) in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls.  The combined land area is just 10 km2 and the total population of approximately 1,400 is stable or slightly declining. The atolls lie north of the Samoan Islands, east of Tuvalu, south of the Phoenix Islands, southwest of the more distant Line Islands (both island groups belonging to Kiribati) and northwest of the Cook Islands. Until 1976 the official name was Tokelau Islands. Tokelau is sometimes referred to by the older, colonial name of The Union Islands.

The nationals of Tokelau are called Tokelauans, and the major ethnic group is Polynesian. The country has no minorities. They have a distinct language shared with natives on Swain's Island (an American possession).  English is the second language.  Many Tokelaunans have moved abroad to New Zealand and the two Samoas for economic opportunities or education.

The United Nations General Assembly designated Tokelau a Non-Self-Governing Territory and outsiders have been pushing for independence for ideological reasons. but the locals show little interest. 

Religion in such a small remote place is pretty simple. On the island of Atafu almost all inhabitants are members of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa. On Nukunonu almost all are Roman Catholic. On Fakaofo both denominations are present with the Congregational Christian Church predominant. In total the Congregational Christian Church is followed by 62% of the population, Roman Catholic make up 34%, and others 5% (about 70 people).

There are no freedom of religion issues in Tokelau as it is covered by New Zealand law.  There is simply the practical issue of strong family ties and the issue of introducing a different belief system on two islands where 100% of the residents belong to a single church and a third island where there are only two churches. 


Here are the only other places where Seventh-day Adventists can not be found yet:

Countries without Adventists in Europe

Countries without Adventists in Asia

Countries without Adventists in Africa (North Africa)

Countries without Adventists:  Middle East



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