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 VP(Neil)

 Neil

 2009-08-12 오후 2:12:00  3680
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Report of AMCF for the Pacific Region

 

Seoul Conference, Korea 2009

 

 

Introduction to Oceania

 

The Pacific Region (Oceania) covers millions of square kilometres, and yet large parts of it are almost entirely uninhabited.  Oceania contains the sixth largest country in the world (Australia) with a population less than one half that of Korea.  The other fully industrialised western nation is New Zealand, with a total population about the size of Sydney, Australia.  Papua New Guinea is a diverse country, with many tribal affiliations, each with its own language group. 

 

The Kingdom of Tonga is small in population, yet has a proportionally large MCF where the entire Navy meet weekly for prayer and Bible Study.  Fiji, divided racially and religiously into mainly Hindu and Christian groups, has resumed a military dictatorship in recent years.  Fiji has strained international relations with Australia and New Zealand.  This political impasse with its regional neighbours has mitigated against Fiji MCFs contact with other national MCFs in the region. 

 

Challenges

 

All but five nations in Oceania are in the lowest ten per cent of the world economies with correspondingly small populations.  Communication with these countries is difficult, not only due to their infrastructure, but also because oral tradition is preferred to written communication.  Fiscal restraint and geographic isolation are immense challenges to overcome to provide a comprehensive and cohesive AMCF presence in the region.  

 

Oceania and Christianity

 

As a whole, Oceania is influenced by and adheres to Christianity, with a large Protestant, Anglican and Roman Catholic representation.  The influence of Christianity on the lives of its adherents in Oceania appears to be in inverse proportion to the size of each nation.  Many of the smaller countries and territories are deeply religious.  Weekly church attendance can involve the majority of the population.  Evangelistic outreach is encouraged on an indigenous basis.  English is understood almost entirely through the Pacific region. 

 

Although France is represented in the region through its territories of French Polynesia and New Caledonia, these islands do not form part of the AMCF.  However, there is an alliance of evangelical military chaplains in New Caledonia, which have sought fellowship with New Zealand military chaplains. 

 

Growth of MCFs in the Pacific

 

At present there are eleven countries represented by Military or Civilian Police Christian Fellowships in Oceania or are in the process of formation.  These countries are Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Timor Leste and Fiji. 

 

Timor Leste is in the South East Asia Region.  However, it is included in here because in practice Australia has strong military and civil links with the new country, and its largely Roman Catholic population identifies with Australian Roman Catholic military chaplains who have encouraged the formation of a MCF in the Timor Leste Army and Police.  A significant contingent from Timor Leste attended the Pacific Regional Conference in Brisbane in 2007.  Palau, Tuvalu and Micronesia representatives also attended the conference and undertook an Interaction.

 

The development of fledging MCFs is particularly pleasing.  This is nearly double the number of countries with national MCFs than what it was five years ago, with five new MCFs.  However, there is a lot of work to do, including formation and assistance to the new MCFs.

 

Countries Devoid of MCFs and the Way Ahead

 

There are a number of countries not represented in AMCF.  These countries are the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, American Samoa and Western Samoa. 

 

The Cook Islands are almost exclusively Roman Catholic but balanced by a strong indigenous Congregational population.  Kiribati, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands have strong links to New Zealand and have as of right dual citizenship of their own countries as well as New Zealand.  This could well provide the New Zealand MCF with an opportunity for contact with the Police Forces of these countries.

 

Nauru has a strong Australian connection.  American Samoa and the Marshall Islands are American protectorates. 

 

Opportunities for Growth

 

The Navies of the South West Pacific are all funded by Australia.  They provide the Patrol Boats, funding for the crews, training, and routine maintenance.  The appointment of Chaplain Eric Burton, recent past Director General of Chaplaincy Services (Royal Australian Navy) is a strategic one to advance the contact with these navies.  Eric has high credibility, is innovative, creative and has good cultural awareness which will stand him in good stead in his new position.

 

 

Regional Conference September 2007

 

A Regional Conference was held in Brisbane in 2007.  This conference brought people from the Military and Police Forces from 11 Pacific nations together for only the second time ever.  ACCTS and MSO were also represented.  A large contingent of Korean Military Fellowship representatives attended for one day.  Their attendance was an inspiration. 

 

At a regional level, both ACCTS through Russell and Helen Bielenberg, and AMCF through Eric and Linda Burton, will continue to respond to opportunities for teaching and encouragement throughout Oceania. 

 

Prayer Support

 

Prayer support is critical in the on-going work of AMCF in the Pacific Region.  We are grateful to the Intercessors from Korea and London who have stood with us in serving in a small way the wonderful Pacific Islands in the AMCF family.  Thank you to AMCF VPs for your prayer during our illness.  We are both on the mend and have an excellent prognosis.

 

Farewell as Vice President Pacific

 

Although two deployments to the Middle East and then cancer precluded my wife Lynette and I from fuller involvement in the last two years, I count it a joy and a privilege to serve as AMCF Vice President for the Pacific Region. 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

I pay tribute to General Lee for his vision, encouragement, friendship and prayer.  The AMCF is fortunate to have such a servant leader.  I appreciate the Interactions that both my wife and I attended in the USA.  Finally, I acknowledge the marvellous work of the Military Support Organisation and their training programmes and generosity in funding candidates to conferences and providing missionaries to the Pacific. 

 

 

 

 

Allen Neil

VP - Pacific

Brisbane, Australia

September 2009

 

 

 
     

 


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11  VP(Ogilvie)     Ogilvie 2009-08-12 3395
12  VP(Weerasooriya)     Weerasooriya 2009-08-12 3539
13  - W(Bangladesh)     Admin 2009-08-12 3586
14  - W(India)     Admin 2009-08-12 3676
15  - W(Nepal)     Admin 2009-08-12 3850
16  - W(Sri Lanka)     Admin 2009-08-12 3872
17  - W(Pakistan)     Admin 2009-08-12 3834
18  VP(Maldonado)     Maldonado 2009-08-12 3720
 VP(Neil)     Neil 2009-08-12 3681
20  - Neil(1)     Admin 2009-08-12 3821
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