Learning about the 10/40 Window

 By Paola Mora Zepeda

The 10/40 window refers to the countries located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator.  Within this region are 61 countries that have the least access to Christianity in the entire world. Most countries are predominantly  Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu, though some are dominated by other religions.

When I first heard of this term, I was intrigued. Throughout my whole life, I have lived in an Adventist environment. So, it was hard for me to imagine a place where Christianity is almost non-existent. Hence, I saw this interactive map as an opportunity to learn more about these countries and the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) presence within their borders.

The map contains four variables: Population of the country, main religion, SDA church membership and percentage of Adventists according to the population. All of this information comes from data collected in 2016, as I was unable to get more updated results for all four categories.

What I discovered, left me in shock. I was not expecting a large SDA church membership, but I never imagined how ignorant my guesses were. My jaw dropped as I found out that some countries had less than 100 Adventists — some as low five or zero. 

I know that there are cases where not all church members are reported due to the political strife and/or lack of religious freedom. But as I analyzed the numbers, I found it bizarre that the building I was in, my school’s library, had a bigger SDA presence than an entire country.

Then, when I came across countries with 2,000 members or more I found myself saying “Hey, that’s not too bad,” while ignoring the fact that these countries have millions of inhabitants. Yes, 2,000 is better than 20, but the percentage of SDA always remained under 0.2 percent and most did not even reach 0.1 percent.

The Seventh-day Adventist church has grown significantly in both terms of numbers and diversity, but this map is proof that there are still hundreds of millions of people that have not yet been reached.

What do the colors represent? 

The colors represent the SDA divisions to which these countries belong:

Light Blue: Northern Asia Pacific Division (NSD)
Purple: Southern Asia Pacific Division (SSD)
Yellow: Southern Asia Division (SUD)
Pink: Euro Asian Pacific Division (ESD)
Light Green: West Central Africa Division (WAD)
Teal: East-Central Africa Division (ECD)
Orange: Attached to the General Conference (MENA)
Dark Green: Israel Field
Red: Does not belong to any conference