The country of Malta is located in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Sicily and is made up of five small islands; the largest of these islands is also named Malta. It was established as a Phoenician colony around 1000 B.C. Over the centuries, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and French have controlled the islands. The English Navy drove French forces out of Malta in 1814, and it became an official part of the British Empire. Malta was granted the right to form a constitution and was made an independent nation in September 1964. Malta has developed close political and economic ties to Libya, and visa requirements are nonexistent. Malta formally joined the European Union in 2004.
David Wulff, a Norwegian, was the first Pentecostal missionary to minister in Malta. Arriving in 1971, he began working immediately. By 1973, a Pentecostal assembly called Knisja Kristjana Evangelika (Christian Evangelical Church) was established. However, most of the Pentecostals in this church were not Maltese, and they eventually left for other countries. As a result, only six believers remained. Discouraged, they stopped meeting. In 1981 a missionary-evangelist named David Flanders arrived from England. He encouraged the Pentecostal nationals to begin meeting again. The Fellowship steadily grew and eventually joined the Assemblies of God.
The Movement Today
Ninety-eight percent of Malta claims to be Roman Catholic, and Pentecostal believers face much opposition. However, five Assemblies of God churches meet regularly in Malta. These congregations are actively involved in community evangelism. They distribute Christian literature in addition to organizing public outreaches and worship services. Global University has established a national office in Malta to disciple new converts and train national ministers and Christian workers. Global also works closely with the national church to distribute evangelism courses throughout the islands.
The Assemblies of God in Malta report the following statistics: 3 national ministers, 1 church and 200 members and adherents.
Additional Facts About Malta
Area: 122 square miles
Urbanization: 95 percent
Ethnic groups: Maltese (descendants of Carthaginians and Phoenicians, with strong Italian and other Mediterranean stock)
Languages: Maltese and English (both official)
Agriculture: potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs
Industry: tourism, electronics, ship building and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, tobacco, aviation services, financial services, information technology services