Republic of the Marshall Islands
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In the Northern Pacific, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator lies a group of 31 coral atolls, 5 islands and 1,152 islets known as the Marshall Islands. The Marshall Islands cover an area of 181 sq km (70 sq miles).
There is speculation that some of the Marshall Islands have been populated since 2000 B.C., original inhabitants having rowed to the Islands from Indonesia and the Philippines. The Spanish were the first Europeans to visit the islands, as early as 1529. Since 1874 the islands have successively been under the control of Spain, Germany, Japan and the United States. During the Second World War the Marshall Islands saw significant fighting between Japan and the US. The United Nations gave control to the US in the 1940s. From 1946 to 1958, as site of the Pacific Proving Grounds, the US carried out 66 nuclear tests on Bikini and Enewetak Atolls. In 1979 the Government of the Marshall Islands was officially established and the country became self-governing though they are still in Compact with the US. The islands are governed by two legislative bodies, the Parliament and the Council of Chiefs. Population of the islands is about 60,000. They speak English and Marshallese.
Subsistence farming is centered on small agriculture and fishing. Tourism from the US and Japan is the major source of revenue. The chief exports are tuna, copra and coconut. All fuel and most finished goods must be imported thus the Marshall Islands are still heavily dependent upon the US for aid. In recent years the government has declared state of emergencies due to droughts and lack of fuel/energy. Majuro is the capital city.
United Church of Christ 51.5 percent of the population; the Assemblies of God, 24.2 percent; the Roman Catholic Church, 8.4 percent; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 8.3 percent; Bukot Nan Jesus (also known as Assembly of God Part Two), 2.2 percent; Baptist, 1.0 percent; Seventh-day Adventists, 0.9 percent; Full Gospel, 0.7 percent; and the Baha’i Faith, 0.6 percent.
Churches of Christ have been present in the Marshall Islands since the early 1990s thanks to the efforts of Robert Martin and other workers from the Forest Park Church of Christ, Atlanta, Georgia who centered their early evangelistic efforts in Majuro. There, and also in Ebeye and Kwajalein, Martin conducted Bible classes beginning in 1991. The first full-time missionary of the Churches of Christ in the Marshall Islands was Johnny Robertson, who followed Martin in 1992. His work in Ebeye and Majuro included distributing religious material, Bible studies, radio broadcasts, newspaper advertisements, and tract racks in public places. Other Christian teaching outreaches have been conducted by short-term missionaries. In 2002 missionaries Randy English, a worker in American Samoa, Buzz Toland and Terry Frizzell made another evangelistic push on the Majuro Atoll. Frizzell was expected to take charge of the work at that time.
For further information on the work of the Churches of Christ in the Marshall Islands, contact Forest Park Church of Christ at: P.O. Box 1405, Forest Park, GA 30298. Robert and Mary Martin can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Johnny Robertson may be reached at email@example.com
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, December 2, 2016
For further historical reference: