Local Missionaries in Indonesia
Local Missionaries in Indonesia
Earning the honor of Southeast Asia’s largest economy, Indonesia is also the world’s largest country comprised only of islands. A vast archipelago between the Indian and Pacific oceans, Indonesia is made up of 13,466 islands—922 of which are permanently inhabited. The majority of the islands are coastal lowlands, though the largest islands—Java, Sumatra, Borneo, New Guinea, and Sulawesi—have some interior mountains. Indonesia is the most heavily forested region on earth after the Amazon.
Indonesia’s incredible diversity comes from its 300 distinct native ethnic groups. Though Indonesian is the country’s official language, most citizens speak other languages. More than 700 languages are used in Indonesia.
With the fourth largest population on earth, the country is the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world. More than 87 percent of the population is Muslim, with the majority being Sunni Muslim. An aggressive mosque-building program, fueled by petrol dollars, is part of the Islamic vision of an Indonesia free from Christians. Believers face high levels of persecution from radical Muslims, who are pushing Sharia-inspired laws in more and more communities.
Christianity has sustained continued growth throughout the past 50 years, especially among animist people, but nearly 100 million people remain unreached.
Indigenous missionaries face high levels of persecution and need assistance to help cover their living expenses as they persevere to share the gospel with unreached people groups. Bibles are needed for the 13 million believers in the 80-percent Muslim country, along with biblical training for Indonesian pastors. Among Indonesia’s Christian population is a strong need for biblical leadership and teaching. Many indigenous churches have no discipleship program. Biblical illiteracy is an enormous problem, which has allowed syncretism into the Church.
Motorbikes are needed for local translators, who create gospel recordings in native languages, and indigenous missionaries who follow up with villagers after they listen to the recordings. The availability of Scripture and gospel teaching in the heart languages of Indonesia’s tribal population will greatly benefit the growth and maturity of the Church.
Other needs include funding to help local missionaries and pastors start small businesses, which enable them to be self-sustaining and provide them with many opportunities to engage with people in their communities. More than 1,000 people have been reached with the gospel through these small businesses. Assistance is also needed for an indigenous ministry to continue its compassionate food distribution program, which feeds several hundred malnourished children in poor areas.
Sources: Joshua Project, CIA World Factbook, Operation World
How to Pray for
- Pray for the more than 200 people groups in Indonesia that are still unreached with the gospel; ask the Lord for open doors and divine connections, that witnesses for Christ would soon be established in each of these groups.
- Pray for wisdom and resources for indigenous missionaries as they share the gospel in strategic and creative ways.
- Pray that the Lord would break the stronghold of Islam in Indonesia and open people’s eyes to the truth of Jesus Christ.
More stories from Indonesia
People taught that Christians are wicked learned otherwise when they received clean water, food and health care from local missionaries, opening their hearts to hear the gospel. As workers testified to how faith in Christ transformed their lives, the Holy Spirit touched villagers’ hearts, and they wanted to know more. Personal sharing, Bible studies, audio Bibles for the illiterate, and meetings under large trees or in bamboo houses, among other means, helped lead people to put their faith in Christ. Workers need donations to undertake these outreaches of evangelism and discipleship. Pray new believers will find fellowship in spite of surges in the pandemic.
A high-caste villager visited a bamboo house church as often as possible, curious to know what Christians were doing. After several months he put his faith in Christ, leading to a heavy fine and the loss of his job, home and family relations. He told workers his eternal life with Christ was more valuable than all that he lost.
A shaman in Indonesia had quit his life as a robber and drug seller five years ago, but he still had no peace. Deeply troubled, he invited a worker and others from the ministry to his house to talk with him and his family about Christ. When the local missionaries showed up, they found 40 people at the house.
The head of a village in Indonesia spent a lot of time driving out people who had left Hinduism to become Christians.
For local missionaries in remote areas of Southeast Asia, use of social media and Zoom as solutions to COVID-19 restrictions is not always possible and can sometimes be dangerous.