• Pray for spiritual apathy to be crushed by the truth of a living relationship with Christ.
• Pray for a spiritual transformation from hedonistic playground to a vibrant Christian community.
• Pray for unity among French and Dutch believers.
Covered with white sand beaches, limestone plateaus, and a scattering of volcanic peaks, the Caribbean nation of Sint Maarten encompasses a portion of the world's smallest land mass divided between two governments. The northern, French-governed portion - Saint Martin - occupies roughly half of the island, while the former Dutch colony lies in the south. The 1648 Treaty of Concordia formalized a cooperative relationship between the Dutch and French and included responsibilities such as capturing criminals that escape to the other part of the island and protecting each other during war. Territorial disputes, however, would continue into the 19th century.
While a number of European colonial powers would exert their influence over Sint Maarten due to its valuable salt deposits, the Dutch would eventually maintain control. The territory was combined with five other Caribbean islands in 1954 to form Netherlands Antilles, a constituent nation within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in 2010, making Sint Maarten - now a constituent nation itself - one of the newest nations on earth. Sint Maarten has a duty free port and is a tax haven as well. This encourages tourism, which accounts for 80% of the Gross Domestic Product. An active banking industry has drawn criticism, with purported connections to Hamas and the Taliban. While most of Sint Maarten speaks English, the island is home to the Papiamentu language, a combination of Dutch, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Over 85% of the population identify themselves as Christian, with roughly 40% Catholic and 45% Protestant. While a small evangelical population exists, it is growing slower than the overall population. The Bible and JESUS film are both available in Papiamentu as well as English and Dutch. Christian programming is broadcast on radio and television in different languages. While the island enjoys complete religious freedom, there is strong evidence of superstition, growing marginal sects, and nominalism, which reveal how few actually take the Gospel to heart.
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14
Source: Church St Maarten; Maurice Schouten
Continent: North America
Capital City: Philipsburg
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Major People Groups: 70% Mixed black/Creole, 13% Latin American, 8% Antiguan, 4% Dutch, 2% Surinamese
Religion: 84% Christian, 7% Non, 3% Jewish
GDP Per Capita: $15,400
Literacy Rate: Unknown