OVERVIEW: The Maldives is one of the most restricted nations in the world, with fewer than 10 known believers. Any Maldivian who follows Christ must remain secret or face arrest or expulsion from the country. After having the same leader for more than 30 years, the Maldives is considering democratic reforms. The elected president resigned in 2012 under heavy pressure. The Maldivian government seeks to eliminate or greatly minimize outside influences on their cultural identity. While tourism is a major source of income, tourists are confined to resorts in an attempt to protect the small population from outside influence.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: Islam is a defining characteristic, and all Maldivians are required to be Muslim.
PERSECUTOR: The government is the main persecutor, with some family persecution.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN MALDIVES: Christians must worship in secret. They gather in homes with pillows padding the doors and windows so no one can hear them. Some Maldivians and other Christians living outside the country share the gospel with those inside the country in various ways. The oppressive anti-Christian environment makes the Maldives one of the world’s most challenging regions for Christian work.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: It is illegal to import Bibles, but some Maldivians access the Scriptures through Bible apps or the internet. Translation of the Bible into Dhivehi, the main language of the Maldives, is ongoing, but the work has been difficult and slow because of the small number of Christian converts.
VOM WORK: VOM uses creative, secretive methods to share the gospel inside the Maldives. We also support outreach to Maldivians in India and are assisting in the recording of God’s Word in the national language.