After we decided that mission work was the next step for our family, we met a wonderful Christian family that is working on the small islands of Palau. After much discussion and prayer, we decided that this was the right move for our family. Joey and Tammy Treat have been working hard in Palau for about 4 years. Right now, they currently have a congregation of roughly 20 members in Koror, the former capital of Palau. They have also brought many Filipinos to the Lord through their work in Palau. Filipinos often come to the main island for work or education. Several Filipinos are taught, brought into the church through baptism, then home to find a local congregation and spread the gospel to their own families and neighbors.
Palauans are easy to talk to and sit with, but it is important to become a part of the community to earn their respect and trust. It is stated in Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." We have many ideas for working with the children and teaching them starting at a young age. We plan to reach out to the families through our work with the children. The congregation in Koror does not currently have a VBS program, and we would like to get out there and start an annual VBS. We also have a goal of starting an after-school bible program.
The island has only had two television stations. One is owned by one of the senators (for political purposes). Recently, the church was able to purchase a tv station for $250 per month in which Christian programs, such as “In Search of the Lord's Way,” are broadcast daily. We are looking forward to utilizing the television station for family, adult, and children's Bible studies and devotionals led by Joey, Wayne, and the boys, as well as puppet and children's programs.
The Islands are filled with many religious beliefs, including their own native Modekngei religion (1,800 members), which joins together animist and Christian beliefs. Roman Catholic (usually non-practicing) is the dominant religion (7,000) with several others being in the Evangelical (2,000), Seventh-day Adventist (1,000), and Mormon (300) churches, as well as many Buddhists and Bengali Muslims (nearly 1000 between the 2). With it being a nation of nearly 22,000 people, we have a long way to go to grow our church of 20 members.
Palau is a strip of over 250 islands in the West Pacific. It is located about 500 miles south east of the Philippines.
Interesting Facts about Palau:
*** The major source of income for the nation is tourism. Most tourists are scuba divers & snorkelers who are drawn in to its beautiful underwater world, which was named the #1 Under Water Wonder of the World.
***After many shark huntings/killings, Palau was the first island to make its waters a shark sanctuary. This year, authorities have declared that Palau will soon become a sea sanctuary to protect all marine wildlife within Palau's exclusive economic zone.
*** Since it's a big tourist area and most foods and items are imported, the cost of living is 50% higher than here in southern US.
*** Palau is not actually one single island but consists of over 250 hundred islands out of which only 9 are are actually inhabited.
*** About 70% of Palauans live on the island of Koror (which is the former capital).