Brunei
State of Brunei Darussalam
March 12
Asia


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 5,765 sq.km. Two small enclaves in Sarawak, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Tropical, 70% forest, with heavy rainfall.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 328,080 +2.19% 57 per sq. km.
2010 384,439 +1.45% 67 per sq. km.
2025 458,972 +1.05% 80 per sq. km.

Capital Bandar Seri Begawan 99,854. Urbanites 58%.

PEOPLES

Malay 63.9%. Dominant in government and civil service. Many of the tribal peoples have been absorbed into the Malay population.

Chinese 15.6%. Of these, 80% are non-citizen residents. Gradual decline through emigration. Dominant in commerce.

Tribal 6%. Predominantly Iban. Also Kedayan, Kayan, Kenyah, Kiput, Murut and Tutung.

Other 14.5%. Considerable immigration of work seekers, largest: Filipino 10,600; Thai 8,600; Nepali 4,000; Anglo-Saxon 3,300; Indian 3,000; Bangladeshi 1,000.

Literacy 88%. Official languages Malay, English. All languages 16. Languages with Scriptures 8Bi 1NT

ECONOMY

One of the richest states in Asia. Oil is the sole source of wealth and reserves may be used up by 2020. The need for diversification is urgent. HDI 0.878; 25th/174. Income/person $25,160 (80% of USA).

POLITICS

Refused to join the Malaysian Federation in 1963. A Protectorate of Britain until full independence in 1983. The Sultan rules as an absolute monarch. No criticism of the government is allowed; all democratic structures were suspended in 1962.

RELIGION

Islam is the state religion. Constitutional guarantees for the free practice of other religions are being eroded and limitations on Christian activity are increasing.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Muslim 64.39 211,185 +2.0%
Christian 11.25 36,909 +4.5%
Buddhist 9.09 29,822 +1.3%
Traditional Ethnic 7.60 24,934 +3.4%
Chinese 5.31 17,421 -0.3%
non-Religious/other 1.22 4,070 +4.3%
Hindu 0.84 2,756 +2.0%
Baha'i 0.30 984 +0.9%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 6 1.80 6 +3.0%
Independent 10 2.53 8 +7.3%
Anglican 1 1.40 5 +0.4%
Catholic 1 1.71 6 +0.5%
Marginal 1 0.03 0 +9.0%
Unaffiliated   3.78 12 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 3 3,128 5,600
Anglican A 3 700 4,600
Tribal churches [4] I 12 1,500 3,000
Brunei Christian Fell I 2 850 1,700
Christian Brethren P 2 450 810
Other denoms [11]   21 2,382 8,790
Total Christians [19]   43 9,010 24,500

Trans-bloc Groupings pop.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 4.6 15 +5.1%
Pentecostal & Charismatic 2.7 9 +5.0%

Missionaries from Brunei
P,I,A 1.



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Challenges for Prayer

1 Muslims aim for a 'pure' Islamic state by 2020. Islamization by offers of houses, jobs and favours and by intimidation of Christians has yielded a slow but steady trickle of converts from among the tribal and Chinese minorities. Pray for both the thwarting of these designs and the re-instatement of constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom.

2 The king is reputed to be the world's wealthiest man. Pray for conversions to Christ in the large royal family. Pray also for political liberalization in the country.

3 The Christian Church is under much pressure. No foreign Christian workers are permitted – even to visit, and all Catholic priests and nuns were expelled in 1991. No Bibles or Christian literature may be imported legally. All schools, including the 6 Christian schools must give instruction on Islam alone. There are three registered churches but many others' applications for registration are ignored, and they must meet clandestinely. Pray for:

a) Unity, courage and a wise boldness. The pressure has increased the earnestness of many and a moving of the Holy Spirit among locals and Filipinos is reported.

b) Provision of mature Christian leaders and teachers of the Word.

c) Further growth despite the restrictions. Most of those converted are local tribals and Chinese.

4 The Unreached

a) The Malay majority is Muslim with no known Christians. Witchcraft and materialism are strong.

b) The Chinese feel insecure and are still treated as foreigners even if born in Brunei. Most still follow the traditional religions of China or are secular. Only 15% are Christian, but fewer are committed to Christ.

c) Tribal peoples have either been converted to Islam and absorbed into the mainstream of national life, or have remained isolated in jungle villages. Among the latter, many Iban, Kelabit, Murut and others have come to Christ through the witness of the Anglicans, Brunei Christian Fellowship and Bethel Chapel. Pray for the evangelization of each of these communities.

d) The expatriate workforce continues to grow fast. The Muslim Bangladeshis, the Hindu Indians and Nepalis (the latter making up much of the Brunei army) and the Buddhist Thai are the largest and most needy spiritually.

5 Brunei students usually complete university education in Malaysia, Britain, Australia or other lands. Pray that they may come into contact with a vibrant Christian witness, be won for Christ, and ultimately return home as witnesses to their Saviour.

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