Republic of Indonesia
June 17-26

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Area 1,919,317 The Republic's 17,000 islands (4,000 inhabited) stretch 6,400 km of land over 9.5 million of the Indian/Pacific Oceans, with 23 provinces, 2 special regions and the capital district.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 212,991,926 +1.44% 111 per sq. km.
2010 239,026,778 +1.09% 125 per sq. km.
2025 274,627,097 +0.84% 143 per sq. km.

The world's 4th most populous nation. Population density varies from Java's 951 people/ to West Papua's (formerly lrian Jaya) 5/

Capital Jakarta 12.2 mill. Other major cities: Surabaya 2.85m; Bandung 2.8m; Medan 2.05m; Palembang 1.5m; Semarang 1.48m; Makassar (Ujung Pandang) 1.23m; Tanjungkarang 1,025,000. Urbanites 39%.


Major peoples – using preferred Indonesian spelling. See under regions below for more detail.

Indo-Malay 94%. Jawa 90 mill.; Sunda 35m; Madura 3.5m; Minangkabau 7.5m; Batak 6.5m; Banjar 5m; Bali 3.9m; Bugi 3.8m; Aceh 3m; Dayak 2.9m; Makassar 2.2m; Deli 2m; Riau 2m; Sasak 2m; Toraja 1.3m.

Chinese 4%. Many are becoming integrated into the Indonesian majority. Only 20% still consistently use Chinese dialects. Scattered throughout the nation. Mainly urban.

Papua peoples 1.2%. In West Timor, Alor, Halmahera and Papua.

Other 0.8%. Arab, Indian, European, mixed race.

Literacy 83.8%; rising steadily. Official language Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). Its increasing use is both unifying the nation and lessening the importance of smaller languages to the younger generation. All languages 726; 18 spoken by more than one million speakers; 247 spoken in Papua. Languages with Scriptures 20Bi 38NT 77por.


Increasingly diversified economy based on oil, gas, forest products, agriculture and textiles, with large reserves of many minerals. Steady economic improvement of 30 years came to a stunning halt in the Asian economic crisis which began in 1997. The large devaluation of the local currency led to inflation and a reduction in living standards. In 1996 11% of the population lived below the poverty line, but by 2000 it was 48%. Economic recovery is hampered by endemic corruption, the continuing strength of anti-democratic forces, the spread of sectarian (largely Islamist) violence and lack of bank and debt restructuring. These hold back the inflow of international aid and finance. Environmental damage has been immense with widespread deforestation in Sumatra, Kalimantan and elsewhere. Inflation was reduced to 5% by 2000. HDI 0.681; 105th/174. Public debt (2000) 99% of GNP. Income/person $450 (1.4% of USA).


Colonial rule by Portuguese (1511-1605), Dutch (1605-1942, 1945-9), British (1807-1815) and Japanese (1942-45). The populist President Sukarno ruled for 22 years until deposed by General Suharto after the abortive Communist coup in 1965. President Suharto sought to bring economic growth while crushing political dissent. The economic crisis in 1997 was the spark that led to Suharto's downfall, following large demonstrations against the corruption and nepotism of the regime. The transition to a popularly elected government in 1999 has been traumatic. The government has been strongly opposed by an alliance of powerful extremists in both the military and Islamic parties. Both groups manipulate ethnic and religious differences to protect or strengthen their economic and political power base and discredit the democratic movement. The appalling human rights record of the government and army threatens Indonesia with possible disintegration. There are strong secessionist movements; the most serious being in Aceh (Sumatra) where thousands have perished in 10 years of bitter fighting; and East Timor (Timor Lorosae) where independence and then devastation resulted in 1999.


Monotheism and communal peace are the basis for the stated government ideology of Pancasila. All citizens must choose one of five religions: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or Christianity (Protestant or Catholic). The numerical and political strength of Islam has been increasingly exercised since 1990 to give it preferential treatment, limit Christian expansion, and reduce Christian influence in public life. There are, therefore, some restrictions imposed on evangelism and many Christians seek to avoid antagonizing the Muslim majority. Persecution index 28th in the world.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Muslim 80.30 171,032,517 +1.3%
Christian 16.00 34,078,708 +2.0%
Hindu 1.90 4,046,847 +1.4%
Traditional ethnic 1.00 2,129,919 +1.4%
Chinese 0.50 1,064,960 -0.5%
Buddhist 0.30 638,976 +1.4%

Religious statistics are a sensitive political issue. Official and unofficial figures often differ widely. Muslims are officially 87%, but actually far less. Approximately 30% of Indonesian Muslims are 'high identity and high practice' Muslims. Another 35% are considered 'high identity but low practice' with the remaining 35% considered 'low identity and low practice' Muslims. Many in this latter group, though enumerated as Muslims in census figures, would either be followers of the Jawa mystical religion, Kebatinan, which predates Islam, or animists who have (to a greater or lesser extent) accepted some of the outward aspects of Islam. Islam is strongest in Sumatra, West and East Java, and in many coastal areas in the east of the country.

Animism is not officially recognized by the government but is strong among some peoples in Papua, Sumba and inland Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, etc. The folk Islam followed by many Indonesian Muslims is strongly influenced by animism. Nation-wide it is a dominant spiritual force.

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 230 7.05 15,021 +3.0%
Independent 21 1.58 3,358 +1.9%
Anglican 1 0.00 3 +0.6%
Catholic 1 2.72 5,800 +1.4%
Marginal 10 0.11 236 +1.8%
Unaffiliated   4.54 9,661 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 8,000 3,200,000 5,800,000
HKPB – Batak (Luth) P 2,400 1,350,000 2,700,000
GPdI (Pentecostal) I 1,700 850,000 1,420,000
GMIT – W Timor (Ref) P 1,500 700,000 850,000
GBI – Bethel (CoG) P 1,320 380,000 700,000
GMIM – Minahasa (Ref) P 700 256,000 640,000
GBI – Jakarta (Ref) P 2,800 280,000 630,000
GKI – I-J (Ref) P 1,100 300,000 600,000
GKII – (CMA) P 2,206 193,010 560,689
Assoc of Chr Foundations I 1,588 270,000 550,000
GPIB – W Indon (Ref) P 223 190,000 500,000
GPM – Maluku (Ref) P 796 317,467 453,978
Toraja Church (Ref) P 710 200,000 400,000
BNKP – Nias (Luth) P 578 160,000 360,000
HKI – Sumatra (Luth) I 630 133,000 350,000
GIdI (Evangelical) P 675 180,000 350,000
Pentecostal Ch of God I 187 140,000 310,800
Seventh-day Adventist P 1,089 173,128 289,124
GKE – Kalimantan (Ref) P 960 104,000 260,000
GKPI – N.Sumatra (Luth) P 940 171,544 255,601
GB – Tabernacle I 667 100,000 250,000
GBKP – Karo Batak (Ref) P 646 100,000 250,000
GKJ – Java (Ref) P 250 132,000 220,000
GKPS – Simalungun (Luth) P 500 86,000 190,417
S.A.GKI – Jakarta (Ref) [4] P 170 80,000 190,000
GKST – Sulawesi (Ref) P 360 60,000 180,000
GKS – Sumba (Ref) P 75 68,000 180,000
Baptist Chs of I P 832 82,229 160,000
GUP (Pentecostal) P 327 72,000 160,000
GKJW – East Java (Ref) P 118 97,442 153,000
Assemblies of God P 1,200 60,000 150,000
GMIH – Halmahera (Ref) P 328 57,342 150,000
PGGB – I J (Baptist) P 206 74,581 150,000
GMIST – Sanghir-T (Ref) P 355 80,000 130,000
GBIS – Full Gospel I 440 63,000 105,000
Ev Alliance – Ir. Jaya [2] P 350 45,000 85,000
GTdI CoG Prophecy P 200 12,190 82,000
GMI – (Methodist) P 235 39,500 79,000
GITJ – Java (Ref) P 74 47,000 69,000
Gereja Kristen Rahmani P 278 25,000 50,000
Other denoms [220]   10,051 1,641,23 3,454,099
Total Christians [264]   47,764 12,570,663 24,417,708

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.


8,583 +4.0%


5,835 +1.9%


5,043 +1.6%

Missionaries from Indonesia
P,I,A an est. 3,000 of which over 70 are in 22 foreign countries.

Expatriates in Indonesia
P,I,A an est. 1,000+ in over 100 agencies.

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Answers to Prayer

Praise God for the thrilling growth of the Church over the past 40 years. During this period, Evangelicals have grown from 1.3 mill. (1.3% of the population) to 11.5m (5.4%). Specific details:

1 The Communist coup of 1965 and its bloody aftermath, in which maybe 500,000 Communist sympathizers perished, also led other sympathizers to become Christians.

2 Fierce Muslim reprisals on the Communists offended many – especially in Java. Many nominal Muslims turned to Christ.

3 The harsh extremism of Islamists has repelled many moderate Muslims and the legalisms of Islam, such as forbidding the eating of pork, has made Christianity more attractive to animists.

4 The government mandate that each citizen adhere to one of five recognized religions impelled many animists to consider the claims of the gospel.

5 The lives of committed Christians and their vibrant witness has made an impact on a society influenced by the power of the occult.

6 Outpourings of the Holy Spirit brought revival in the 1960s in West Timor, in the '70s in East and Central Java, and in the '80s and '90s in some major cities.

7 Great people movements to Christ have occurred in many animistic peoples, among three of the 8 Jawa sub-groups and also among Indonesians of Chinese descent. Over 50% of the latter are now Christian.

8 The multiplication of evangelistic prayer meetings has been accompanied by the rapid growth of Pentecostal and charismatic denominations and fellowships.

9 Rising levels of persecution in the 1990s has fuelled greater unity among Christians, the growth of a National Prayer Movement and commitment to cross-cultural outreach in Indonesia and beyond.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The democratic government elected in 1999 faces a daunting task .Its first years were characterized by vacillation and powerlessness in the face of extremist demands from the minority Islamists and manipulation by the powerful old guard of the former regime. Pray that the President, Vice President and the government may be courageous, decisive and fair in bringing betterment to the whole nation. The old culture of corruption, cronyism and nepotism must be rooted out and the serious economic and regional issues addressed.

2 A spiritual conflict rages for Indonesia. Ancient and powerful occult powers seek to deny the power of the gospel, while modern Muslim stratagems to eliminate the influence of Christians have the ultimate goal of removing the presence of the gospel. Pray specifically for the binding of these powers and for continued growth of the Church in the midst of intense opposition and growing persecution.

3 The creeping Islamization of Indonesia is eroding the long-prevailing communal tolerance and religious freedom. The former regime began to actively promote this process during the 1990s. Muslims were favoured in appointments in government, military and academic institutions. A massive mosque-building programme, together with transmigration of Muslims to Christian-majority areas was undertaken. Christians have become marginalized, increasingly persecuted and restricted in church meetings and evangelism. The Islamists' stated aim is the complete elimination of Christianity in the country. There has been an orchestrated Islamic jihad against Christians – with over 600 churches destroyed by mobs. Some Christian-majority areas, such as Timor Lorosae (East Timor) and Ambon, have been subjected to outright military attacks and killings. Pray for:

a) The frustration of these plans discrediting of Muslim extremism and a re-examination by many Muslims of their own religion in the light of Scripture. Pray that Muslims may seek true relationship with God through Christ.

b) The nation's leaders, that they not bow to Muslim extremist pressure, which could polarize the nation with disastrous results.

c) Christians to respond with tact, love and also firmness, and in all ways commend the gospel. Pray that fear of witnessing might be replaced by courage to share about Jesus.

d) Heartfelt repentance among all Christians for the ways they have damaged their witness by attitudes and actions of enmity and reprisals towards Muslims.

e) The 65+ million nominal and syncretistic Muslims, that their eyes be opened to the truth in Jesus, and come to Him.

4 The enemy's counter-attack within the Church is no less severe. While praising God for Christian growth, pray also for the overcoming of these weaknesses:

a) Too much sensational publicity which exalts man or the miraculous (as with the revival in West Timor) or which provokes the attention of those who would oppose the ongoing work of the Spirit.

b) Too few teachers and disciplers for those seeking the Lord. Many traditional churches cannot adequately disciple new believers, and new seekers often do no more than increase the population of nominal Christians.

c) The growth of error. Inadequate teaching has led to a multiplicity of errors, growth of liberal theologies, syncretistic Christianity loaded with occultism and animistic thought patterns and the controversy over 'prosperity' theology in some charismatic city churches.

d) Nominalism which has blighted the Church in areas that have been Christian for centuries: Manado in North Sulawesi, North Sumatra, West Timor and Maluku. Many denominations are spiritually lifeless and riddled with carnality, internal politics, divisions and active practice of indigenous occultism. These bodies need renewal and revival with many having a true conversion experience.

5 The need for spiritual leaders of maturity in the churches has never been greater. The pastor has heightened importance in Indonesian church life because the majority of Christians follow the Reformed and Lutheran traditions from the Netherlands and Germany. These strongly differentiate between clergy and laity. Yet rapid growth of the Church has far outstripped the supply of full-time workers. Pray for:

a) The development of effective lay leadership. Only a third of Reformed/Lutheran congregations have a pastor. Trained lay leadership is therefore essential.

b) Continuing training and discipleship for church leaders in general and pastors in particular. Many pastors have had inadequate training and need to be retrained and fired with new zeal. Some even need to be born of the Spirit.

c) Effective teaching and discipling in primary and secondary level Bible schools in many parts of the country. Many of these are evangelical and often provide pastors for rural congregations.

d) The 40 degree-level seminaries, about half being influenced by liberal theology. Pray for evangelical faculty members. Pray also for the writing and publishing of more evangelical theological works in Indonesian. Pray for an increase in the number of evangelical pastors in the large and influential regional Lutheran and Reformed churches.

e) The 18 evangelical seminaries relating to the Asian Theological Association. All are bulging with students and potential. Pray for an outflow of life through graduates from these institutions to old and new churches and to the mission fields of Indonesia and beyond.

f) The spiritual quality and commitment of current pastors and spiritual leaders to be high. This is even more vital than discipling and recruiting new pastors and spiritual leaders. Pray especially that current developing leaders might have a willingness to go to the harder areas of the country for Jesus' sake.

6 A vision for the evangelization of Indonesia has grown as the opposition has increased. A conference in Jakarta in 1988 united ecumenical, Pentecostal and evangelical Protestants in a common vision. From 1996 onwards national and regional consultations have focused on unreached Indonesian peoples. About 130 million individuals in over 300 peoples are in this category. Excellent research was done by the National Research Network and there has been a significant increase in Indonesian agencies placing workers among these peoples. Pray that Christians may fully use present freedoms to tactfully but boldly reach out to them. Pray for the attainment of these visions:

a) A viable witnessing church for every people group in the country. Indonesia contains 130 people groups larger than 10,000 people which have a Christian population of under 1%. There are another 200+ unreached people groups of less than 10,000 people. Pray that the Indonesian Church may take the lead as expatriate workers partner with them.

b) A church in every village. Of the 76,000 villages in the country, 50,000 are without a church.

c) A unified Indonesian prayer movement, with a prayer group in every neighbourhood linked into prayer networks in every city and province.

7 Development of a missionary vision. The history and background of Indonesian Christianity is unique. Indonesians are able to make a significant contribution to world evangelization. Pray for:

a) Churches to be gripped by the challenge of hundreds of unreached peoples in their own country and in other lands of Asia and Africa. The financial and manpower resources are there.

b) The sending out of Christians – individuals, teams and communities – as migrants to unevangelized areas; going out with a vision for church planting. Christians will need to be set free from tribalism, denominationalism and local loyalties.

c) Indonesian missionary agencies are increasing in number. Many are denominationally based. Most are involved in evangelistic and church-planting ministries within Indonesia, and a few have workers outside the country. Some Indonesians are also serving with international missions (YWAM, OM, OMF/CCM, CLC, WEC and others).

8 The Transmigration Scheme is one of the world's largest planned resettlements of people ever organized. Vast areas of virgin territory in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua have been opened up for migrants from overpopulated Java and Bali. Over 8 million were relocated between 1969 and 1998. These new settlements have been hard on the newcomers; with harsh conditions, poor soils and inefficient financing and communications. Yet among these migrants there is an openness to the gospel, and Christian groups have thrived despite the preferential selection of Muslims. Pray that these Christians may be lights for the Lord in areas never before evangelized – especially Sumatra and Sulawesi. There are also large numbers of migrants to the cities. Urban areas are rapidly becoming multi-cultural centres where people are more open to the gospel.

9 Young people are a vital mission field. Present ministry in churches and by interdenominational agencies are inadequate. Pray for:

a) Students in universities. They number 1.5 million in over 800 universities and colleges. There are a further 1.8 million in tertiary and teacher training colleges. It is estimated that 30% of faculty and students are Christian. A number of specialized agencies have extensive ministry on campuses (Navigators, IFES, CCCI and others). Yet many campuses still lack an organized Christian witness. A new feature is a growing number of Islamic universities. A significant minority of Indonesians study overseas – pray that they may be reached in other lands.

b) School children. In primary education there are 26 million and in secondary over l0 million students. CEF has 28 full-time workers among children and teaching others in ministry to them.

10 The work of missions has been blessed of God despite the obstacles of geography, bureaucracy and the spirit world. Praise God for the fruitful ministry of Dutch and German missions before World War II and many other international missions since then. Stand with these brothers and sisters in the battle for:

a) Visas. Tightening of restrictions on the entry, residence and ministry of missionaries is making entry more difficult. Pray that those the Lord wants in the country may obtain visas.

b) Innovative ministry alternatives for those seeking to live out a committed Christian life and witness in Indonesia – as business professionals, teachers, students, etc. Pray for effective cooperation among those focused on incarnating the gospel among unreached peoples. Pray also for the calling of new workers from within and outside Indonesia.

c) Missionaries who are serving in animistic areas of West Kalimantan and Papua, where the young churches are developing to maturity. Church/mission relationships are an area that must be covered in prayer.

d) The great lack of missionaries in Sumatra, Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi to be filled. Pray that no island may remain unserved by national or international gospel workers.

e) The wide variety of international mission organizations working in Indonesia. Major ministries include teaching, theological training, assisting in the training of Indonesian missionaries, development work and supporting Indonesian media ministries such as literature and radio. Pray for more Asian missionaries to come to Indonesia.

11 Supportive ministries:

a) Bible translation. The Bible Society and other groups are involved in over 100 translation projects across the country. The rapid reduction in expatriate visas has severely hampered the progress on many translations. Pray for their speedy completion. Pray also for the Indonesian Bible translation agency, Kartidaya, and for the calling of many Indonesian translators. NTM have a number of translator teams in the country. Indonesia is one of the major unmet Bible translation challenges in the world today, despite the increasing use of Indonesian, having 155 languages with a definite need and a further 360 with a possible need.

b) Literature. There is an insatiable appetite for good Christian literature, but too little is widely available at a price people can afford. Transportation costs can equal the cost of production. Numerous Indonesian organizations and international missions have extensive printing and publishing ministries. Most are primarily focused on providing books and other resources for Christians and churches. Some are focused on outreach and evangelistic follow-up. The economic crisis since 1997 has severely affected these ministries. Pray for the provision of literature to meet the need, especially that which is locally written – indigenous authors are few. Too often the materials are merely translations of English books which are less appropriate to the Indonesian situation.

c) Missionary flying. This is a boon to Christian workers in this huge, rugged island nation, but it is costly and dangerous. Indonesia is MAF-US's greatest global effort with 28 aircraft (including 4 float planes and one helicopter) operating from 11 bases throughout the islands. In some areas of Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua missionary work would be impossible without it. NTM, WT and SdAs also have flying programmes. Pray for the staff and for safety of the planes. Pray also for efforts made to fulfil government requirements in training Indonesian pilots.

d) The use of traditional art forms, such as Wayang shadow puppets. This is a powerful but little-used means of communicating the gospel.

e) The JESUS film was completed in Indonesian and a further 20 languages by 2000. Another 90 language versions are in preparation. Pray for the liberty to show the film all over the country, and pray for film teams – their safety, travel, effective links with local churches and good follow-through.

f) Practical ministries. Development programmes, preventative medical programmes and literacy all provide opportunities for sharing the gospel (WVI and World Relief Commission).

g) Christian radio. There is continuing development of local language broadcasting in Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi. Pray especially for programmes that are being produced for less-reached peoples on these islands. There are Christian programmes in Indonesian that are broadcast on the national network. International broadcasters transmit 75 hrs/wk in Indonesian (TWR, FEBC), and 4 hrs/wk in 15 other languages, most with few Christians. At least 10 languages with over 1 million speakers have no broadcasts. Funding and personnel for appropriate follow-up with listeners who respond is a crucial need.

h) Audio ministry. Over 440 languages and dialects are now recorded; the goal of GRN is 560. The widespread use of Indonesian has made many insensitive to the need for the gospel in the heart language of the people – pray for better use of this medium.

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The Islands of Indonesia

Each major island or island archipelago is so unique and complex that some of the more significant are handled separately – from west to east. The map on the previous page will help locate them.



Area 473,000 The world's 5th largest island. A vast potential storehouse of minerals and agricultural produce; but much is untamed jungle, swamp and volcanic mountains, with poor surface communications.

Population 40,477,000 in seven provinces: Bengkulu; Jambi; Lampung; Riau; Bangka-Belitung; North, South and West Sumatra; and the special autonomous district of Aceh. People/ 85.


Major peoples: Aceh, Batak, Minangkabau, Deli, Riau, Lampung and many Melayu (Malay) sub-groups.


Official figures (1985): Muslim 85.9%; Christian 10.7% (Protestant 9.2%, Catholic 1.5%); Buddhist 2.2%; Hindu 0.5%; Other (including animist) 0.7%.

Challenges for Prayer

1 Sumatra is the largest unevangelized island on earth. Most of its peoples are staunchly Muslim. If it were a nation, only 9 other nations would have more unreached peoples. Sumatra is the home of 52 known unreached people groups consisting of 25 million people. Of the 52, 48 have no indigenous churches and 34 of them have no known gospel workers.

2 Christians are strong among formerly animist peoples – the only areas where the Dutch colonial administration allowed mission work. These are:

a) Bataks speaking seven languages and totalling 6.5 million. The Toba, Dairi, Karo and Simalungun are probably 75% Christian – Lutherans, Methodists, Reformed and Pentecostals, with some residual animism. Most of the Angkola and Mandailing are Muslim with only a small minority of Christians. The Batak are a dynamic people who have migrated all over Indonesia and who are prominent in the armed forces, police and in business, yet their ethnic pride and strong adherence to old customs combines with frequent enmity with Sumatran Muslim peoples to hinder Bataks' effectiveness as cross-cultural witnesses.

b) The Nias (530,000) and Mentawai (55,000) living on islands off Sumatra's west coast. Nearly all are Lutherans, but sadly nominalism and animistic practices are widespread. Some Muslim groups are actively involved in seeking to convert them. A new and more intelligible Bible translation is being prepared for publication in Nias. Pray for a new obedience to its contents.

c) The Chinese, mostly in the cities and industrial areas with large numbers of professing Christians; although many still follow traditional religions and Buddhism. There is much Christian activity and evangelism being done within these communities by younger and more vigorous denominations and agencies.

Pray that these Christians may be revived and break out of their ethnic cocoons to become effective witnesses to the non-Christian peoples around them.

3 The Muslim majority has had little exposure to the gospel. There were never more than a few dozen foreign missionaries committed to reach them (WEC, IMF, Methodists, Baptists), but few remain. Some recent and encouraging progress has been made in the number of Indonesian and international Christians living among these groups, who have a heart to reach out in love and witness.

4 The unreached:

a) The 3 million Aceh people of northern Sumatra are strongly Muslim and have been influential in spreading Islam to other Indonesian peoples. There are less than 50 Aceh believers with most living outside the area. The New Testament was published in 1992. Unrest and violence associated with an independence movement has plagued the province for over 300 years.

b) The less strongly Muslim peoples of North Sumatra. There are very few, if any, Christians among the Tamiang (900,000), Gayo (200,000) and Simeulue (130,000), but more among the Angkola and Mandailing Batak. There is only a limited outreach to these peoples.

c) The Minangkabau of West Sumatra (7.5m) and related groups such as the Rejang (500,000) and Kerinci (400,000). The Minangkabau are one of the best educated and most successful groups in Indonesia. Their matrilineal inheritance pattern has led to many migrating throughout the country – especially the men. There may be only 200 Christians (mostly in Java). The NT was legally published with permission from the national government in 1997 but all known copies were promptly confiscated and burned by West Sumatran authorities.

d) The Malay-related peoples of Eastern and Southern Sumatra, including the Deli (2m), Melayu Riau (2m), and Jambi (800,000). There are few Christians, and though not many are reaching out to them, there has been a recent increase in outreach.

e) The Muslim peoples of Central and South Sumatra, all of whom are without a congregation of believers. There is an increasing outreach to the Batin (70,000), Bengkulu (50,000), Enim (70,000), Kaur (50,000), Lematang (150,000), Lembak (160,000), Ogan (300,000) and Semendo (105,000); but, as yet, there are no more than a handful of Christians.

f) The peoples of Lampung in the south. The indigenous peoples are increasingly marginalized and oppressed by newcomers from both Sumatra and Java. No churches are known among the indigenous Komering (800,000), Lampung Abung (500,000), Lampung Peminggir (500,000) or Lampung Pubian (410,000). There are churches among the many Java transmigrants in the area, and some ministry among the Komering.



Area 132,200 Fertile, volcanic soil. Several active volcanoes.

Population 125,414,000; 60% of Indonesia's population. People/ 948. Economically, culturally and politically dominant in Indonesia.


Major peoples: Jawa, Sunda, Madura.


Orthodox Sunni Muslim approximately 52%; statistical/animistic Muslim 40%; Christian 4% (Protestant 2.6%, Catholic 1.4%); Buddhist 0.8%; Hindu 0.2%.

Challenges for Prayer

1 Praise God for the receptivity to the gospel of the Jawa people and Indonesians of Chinese descent. In spite of economic woes, socio-political upheaval, military oppression, and religious persecution, the church on Java has continued to grow in excess of 5% a year since 1992. Approximately 45% of the Chinese descent Indonesians and 4% of the Jawa profess to be Christian. Pray that no effort of the enemy may hinder a continued harvest.

2 There is much spiritual and numerical growth in the churches among the urban Jawa and Indonesians of Chinese descent. In many non-urban areas, however, Christians worship and witness with increasing risk. Syncretism among the Jawa and materialism among the Indonesians of Chinese descent are perennial snares. Many persecuted Ambon Christians have fled to Java. They, together with Minahasa, Batak, Dayak, Toraja, Maluku and Timor Christians, find refuge in the megacities of Bandung, Jakarta, Semarang and Surabaya. Pray that the heightened pressures from Muslim extremists will create a greater commitment to the Lord and increase the spread of the gospel to unreached peoples throughout the islands.

3 As never before, traditional Protestant, Evangelical and Pentecostal churches have united in prayer, mutual support and information-sharing throughout the cities of Java. A spiritual, moral and missions awakening has occurred in numerous urban churches, many of which hold services in temporary facilities. The cell church movement is rapidly expanding in most urban areas. This is a time of harvest! Pray for greater momentum in reaching out to the largely unevangelized small towns and rural villages.

4 Jakarta and Surabaya are key cities for the evangelization of Indonesia. Almost every ethnic group has a presence there. The capital of Jakarta is now over 13% Christian, with over 1,000 registered churches and thousands of cell groups. A spiritual movement in Jakarta and Surabaya is having a spiritual impact on the whole country.

5 The major unreached people groups, however, have been tragically resistant and neglected:

a) The unreached Jawa ethnic sub-groups with less than 1% Christians include: Banten (500,000), concentrated in the northwestern part of the island; Banyumasan (6.6m), located along the south central coast; Osing (350,000), living on the extreme eastern tip; Pasisir Kulon (2.5m) and Pasisir Lor (19m) populating the north central coastline. All of these are staunchly Muslim, with very small numbers of believers, despite the significant response to the gospel and millions of Jawa believers in the other three Jawa sub-groups.

b)The 35 million Sunda live in West Java. They profess Islam, but are highly influenced by underlying animism and traditional Sunda beliefs. Christian Sunda number about 12,000, but some are nominal and culturally isolated from the Muslim majority. The largest Christian body of believers, the Pasundan Church, was began many years ago as primarily Sunda; but now is a mixture of ethnic groups, and historically has been focused on co-existence rather than outreach. There is a dearth of workers, suitable literature and adequate airing of radio programmes. Pray that the increasing interest in the gospel may result in an abundant harvest.

c) The Madura are concentrated in East Java, although Madura food peddlers are found throughout Indonesia. In the province of East Java, Madura peoples live both on Java and on two smaller adjacent islands just to the north: Madura and Bawean. They are a needy cluster of people which has rejected the few serious attempts to bring them the good news. They are comprised of the Bawean (60,000); the Madura (13.5m) and the Pendalunga (6.5m) – the latter being the offspring of Jawa-Madura intermarriages since 1671. The Madura peoples have a reputation for anger and violence. Pray that Christians may overcome their fear and hatred to embody Christ's love to them.

d) The Jawa Tengger people living on the slopes of Mt. Bromo in East Java continue to resist Islamic inroads. Instead they are experiencing a Hindu resurgence through cooperative efforts with Balinese Hindu religious workers. However, several Tengger Christian groups have emerged in the area. Over the last 15 years an embryonic Tengger church and leadership has developed. Pray for its long-term viability.



Area 5,632.86, volcanic soil. Several active volcanoes.

Population 3,165,000. People/ 561.


Major peoples: Bali.


Hindu 92.7%; Muslim 5.6%; Christian 0.9% (Protestant 0.5%, Catholic 0.4%); Buddhist 0.8%.

Challenges for Prayer

1 A unique blend of Hinduism dominates the spiritual landscape of Bali.One million Bali people live on the neighbouring islands of Sumatra, Sulawesi and Lombok. These Bali migrants tend to be more open to the gospel. There are 49,000 Hindu temples on Bali. Protestant churches number about 85, Catholic churches 33. City churches tend to have 50% Bali members. The Bali need the liberating power of the gospel.

2 Bali Christians are few. The cost of discipleship is high, and converts to Christ often face ostracism, persecution and financial loss when they break with their family's and community's way of life. Pray for the witness of Christians, which has great impact in leading others to make a decision.

3 Effective cooperation in ministry among Bali believers is a need.

4 The Bali Bible was published in 1990. Its use is limited because most do not understand its 'high caste' language. The JESUS film is also in this language. Pray for effective communication of God's Word to all Bali peoples. Both TWR and FEBC broadcast in Bali.



Area 20,177 The islands of Lombok and Sumbawa.

Population 3,086,000. People/ 197.


Major peoples: Sasak, Sumbawa, Bima.


Muslim 96%; Hindu 3.3%; Buddhist 0.5%; Christian 0.2% (Protestant 0.1%, Catholic 0.1%).

Challenges for Prayer

1 These staunchly Muslim islands are some of the least evangelized in Indonesia. The 20,000 Protestants are mainly immigrant peoples in the towns (Jawa, Timor, Chinese Indonesians). Riots in Lombok in January 2000 drove most of these few Christians off the island. Most of the church buildings were totally destroyed, as were many homes of believers.

2 Unreached peoples:

a) Despite ongoing efforts for the past 10+ years to reach them, the three major indigenous people groups remain unreached. They are: the Muslim Sasak (2m) on Lombok; the Sumbawa (400,000) and Bima (600,000) on Sumbawa Island. There are only 20 known believers among the Sasak, 100 among the Bima and 20 among the Sumbawa. All three groups are strongly Muslim, but still adhere to animistic beliefs.

b) The Hindu Bali people – 100,000 on Lombok.

3 Two small churches, founded by CMA in the 1940s in the area of Bima, have approximately 100 believers but struggle to survive, as many young people convert to Islam in order to get married.

4 Scriptures are being translated into the Sasak and Bima languages.



Area 47,876 The islands of Sumba, Flores, Lomblin, Alor and West Timor.

Population 3,908,000. People/ 80.


Major peoples: Timor, Manggarai, Solar, Lio, Rote, Sikka, Sumba.


Christian 82.8% (Catholic 51.2%, Protestant 31.6%); Muslim 8.5%; Hindu 0.2%; Traditional ethnic 8.5%.

Challenges for Prayer

1 Flores is 90% Catholic but is steeped in pagan and idolatrous rituals sometimes involving snake worship. Born-again Christians are very few, and largely Timor people. No language of Flores has any Scriptures. The Manggarai (500,000), Lamaholot-Solar (300,000); Ende-Lio (230,000), Sikka (180,000); and Ngada (70,000) need to be evangelized in their own cultural settings and languages. Muslim minorities among the Solor (140,000) and Manggarai (30,000) are totally unreached.

2 Sumba, an island long known for its animism and resistance to the gospel, saw a movement of the Spirit in the late 1980s, with Protestants doubling from 75,000 to 160,000 in five years. Pray that this movement may impact all seven language groups on the island.

3 West Timor:

a) There was a great outpouring of the Spirit in 1965-8 which resulted in renewal within the Church and thousands of conversions from occultism and Islam. About 20% of the Timor were converted. Timor Christians serve the Lord as missionaries on four continents.

b) The wide-scale killing and destruction which followed East Timor's (Timor Lorosae) vote to become independent of Indonesia resulted in a number of refugee camps holding thousands of destitute people in West Timor. Several Christian groups, both from churches in Timor and from other parts of Indonesia, have attempted to minister physically and spiritually in the camps. Violence and intimidation continue at the hands of the militia who ruined East Timor in 1999. Pray for an end to the suffering, freedom to return home and salvation for these refugees.

c) Sawu people on Sawu Island and West Timor (100,000) are 80% animist in practice; the rest being nominally Christian, but few have a personal faith. Black magic is widespread.

d) The Ambenu Timor and Belu Tetun in West Timor are largely nominal Catholics and few are Evangelicals.

4 The lack of Scriptures for the languages of the two Lesser Sunda Provinces is a major reason for nominalism, unchallenged witchcraft, and lack of progress for the gospel. Only three of the 65 languages have a NT, though work is in progress in 10 of them. A major prayer request is for an adequate survey of translation needs and provision of translation teams for those languages requiring a New Testament.



Area 539,000 The Indonesian three-quarters of the island of Borneo; shared with Malaysia. An island of tropical rain forest and rivers, but few roads.

Population 11,473,000 in four provinces – West, Central, East and South Kalimantan. People/ 21.


Major peoples: Malay, Dayak, Banjar.


Muslim 72.8%; Christian 19.3% (Catholic 9.8%, Protestant 9.5%); Traditional ethnic 3.5%; Hindu 2.5; Buddhist 1.9%.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The indigenous Dayak peoples number 3.l million and speak a range of nearly 80 languages and numerous dialects. Church growth has been high, with large people movements into the churches; but often without a clear break from the spirit world.

a) The CMA work in East Kalimantan has resulted in a strong church among the Kenyah and Kayan peoples as well as outreach to other ethnic groups.

b) In Central Kalimantan, many of the 410,000 Ngaju, 105,000 M'anyan, and 100,000 Dohoi are linked with the Reformed Church, founded through the work of the Rhenish and Basel Missions. Sadly, few are evangelical in theology.

c) West Kalimantan has been a major field for CMA, CBI, WT, Go Ye Fellowship, WEC and NTM. Growing churches have emerged, and over 30% of the population is Christian. Some Dayak sub-groups, such as the Iban in the interior, have been more difficult to win; and many of the Dayak who profess Christianity need a personal encounter with Jesus.

2 Leadership training is a major need for the churches, but illiteracy, poverty, difficulties in travel and lack of indigenous Scriptures have all slowed development. There are a number of Bible schools. Pray for churches to mature and have a vision for outreach.

3 The unreached:

a) The large Banjar Malay population of 5 million along the eastern and southern coasts, and up the rivers, is strongly Muslim. In recent years, a few individuals, churches and groups have begun to pray for and reach out to them, but only a handful have believed. These believers have suffered such intense persecution, nearly all now live in hiding. Pray for whole families to come to Christ and also to remain as witnesses in their communities.

b) Transmigrants, who number over 1 million. These are Jawa (nominally Muslim), Bali (Hindu), Bugis and Madura (strongly Muslim). They live in transmigrant settlements and oil-boom towns in the east. Only among the Jawa are there growing churches, but they have little vision for outreach to other groups. In the late 1990s, Dayak resentment of the high-handedness of Madura transmigrants in West Kalimantan boiled over into violence with hundreds of massacres and thousands of Madura becoming refugees. Pray that local nominal Christians may overcome their anger, as well as the cultural and religious barriers, and reach out in love to transmigrant groups.

c) The animist peoples of the interior present a challenge. The complexities of reaching isolated tribal groups are immense – survey work is hard and living conditions difficult. Pray for more pioneers willing to reach out to these hard-to-access but receptive peoples.

d) The Chinese-descent Indonesians, >25% of the population in West Kalimantan, have proved less responsive to the gospel than elsewhere, though many are nominally Christian. Pray for the witness of Chinese Christians and churches on the coast, in Pontianak and up the Kapuas River.



Area 191,800 A large, orchid-shaped mountainous island, 1,300 km from north to south. Also many satellite islands. Formerly called Celebes.

Population 15,020,000 in four provinces – Central, North, South and Southeast Sulawesi. People/ 78.


Major peoples: Bugi, Makassar, Minahasa, Gorontalo, Toraja, Sanghir.


Muslim 75.3%; Christian 16.4% (Protestant 16%, Catholic 0.4%); Traditional ethnic 6%; Hindu 2%; Buddhist 0.3%.

Challenges for Prayer

1 Sulawesi is a patchwork of ethnic groups and of varied response to the missionary religions of Islam and Christianity. Generally, nearly all the coastal peoples are Muslim. Christians are a majority on the two north-eastern peninsulas and in the central highlands. The main Christian ethnic groups are:

a) The seven Minahasa peoples of Manado (850,000) who are located on the north-east tip of Sulawesi. They have been Protestant for over 300 years. They are among the wealthiest and best-educated peoples of Indonesia, but materialism, nominalism, poor church attendance and occultism are rife. There is little concern for the evangelization of the Muslim and animist majority of the island.

b) The Sanghir and Talaud islanders (210,000) to the north of Manado.

c) The Toraja (1.6 million with eight languages and 30 dialects) are mostly adherents of one of the four Reformed Churches. Few have a personal experience with the Lord. Tradition, especially a morbid preoccupation with death, still grips many.

All these peoples need revival.Pray also for lasting fruit through the ministry of younger evangelical, Pentecostal and charismatic denominations and agencies.

2 Less-reached peoples are numerous, but in most of the larger groups there are small Christian minorities. Pray specifically for:

a) The Bugis (3.8m) and Makassar (2.2m) of South Sulawesi with colonies all around the coast. Trading is their major occupation. By Indonesian standards Islam is more orthodox among them. There are about 3,000 Bugi and 500 Makassar Christians, the latter being one of the few significant orthodox Muslim groups responding in any numbers to the gospel at the current time.

b) The Muslim Gorontalo (1m), numerous smaller Muslim-animist peoples scattered around the north, and the Bungku-Mori Toraja of the southeast, where animistic practices are more prevalent. There are small churches indigenous to these peoples, but response is slow and many areas are untouched.

3 Bible translation is an enormous unfinished task .Researchers spent years surveying the complex linguistic situation and are participating in most of the ongoing 18 NT translation projects, together with Indonesian translators. Pray that nothing may hinder the publication of these NTs. There are only four indigenous languages with a Bible and 16 with a NT. There are 28 languages with a definite unmet need for translators and a further 83 which will possibly need their own translations.

4 Pray for peace and calm in Central Sulawesi following violent confrontations between religions. Pray that the translation and church planting projects there may continue.



Area 77,871 A medley of over 1,000 small islands scattered over Indonesia's eastern seas. Two provinces: Maluku, North Maluku.

Population 3,168,000. People/ 40. There are


128 1anguage groups.


Muslim 59%; Christian 40.5% (Protestant 35.3%, Catholic 5.2%); Hindu 0.14%; Buddhist 0.05%; Other 0.4%.

Challenges for Prayer

1 A terrible period of violence followed by 'ethnic cleansing' of Christians by Muslims has afflicted these islands. In the 1990s tension developed between the growing Muslim communities and indigenous Christians. Propaganda, lies and subterfuge from outside Maluku provoked an eruption of violence and warfare along religious and ethnic lines. A tragic cycle of revenge led to both Muslim and some Christian atrocities. Enormous destruction of property resulted, including over 400 churches and some mosques. Many thousands of Islamist jihad fighters were recruited and brought to Maluku. The powerlessness of the central government to control the situation and the superior arms of the Islamists (with much help from sections of the army) swayed the balance of the conflict against the Christians. The conflict displaced most of the Christian population of the islands of Ambon, Seram, Temate, Tidore, parts of Halmahera, etc. By the end of 2000 there were over 500,000 refugees and maybe 6,000 killed. Pray for an end to the conflict, communal harmony to be restored and the deep wounds to be healed. Without these, the effects of this period could reverberate for generations.

2 The Maluku Protestant Church, founded in 1605, is Asia's oldest Protestant denomination. Nominalism has crippled the witness of the Church, while the Muslim population has grown through both immigration from other areas and conversion of Maluku peoples. Other denominations have entered Maluku, but they have made little headway against the inertia of nominalism or the rise of Islam. Pray that the present severe suffering may bring nominal Christians to new life and revive the churches. Pray also that the Christian community might be able to see its own need for repentance rather than seeing only the wrongs done against them. Pray that they may reach out in forgiving love and have a zeal to evangelize.

3 The less evangelized for prayer:

a) Muslim peoples. These include the Ambon Melayu (50,000), the Temate (62,000), Tidore (46,000), the seafaring Bajau (90,000), the Makian of Halmahera Island, and numerous other smaller peoples.

b) Many island communities in South Maluku are nominally Christian, but little evidence of faith remains. Pray for effective means for reaching them.

4 Bible translation is a great challenge. There are 117 languages in active use but only one has a NT yet, in spite of the fact that many of these peoples are 'Christian'. Translation teams are involved in 23 languages, 38 more have a definite need for their own translation, and a further 92 will possibly need teams. Pray for the continuation of translation work which, along with other ministries, has been disrupted by violence.



Area 422,000 Formerly Irian Jaya. The western half of the world's second largest island, New Guinea (see Papua New Guinea for the eastern half). The island is known for having a wild beauty, as well as some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth.

Population 2,133,000. People/ 5.


Major peoples: Only the Dani of the central highlands have a population over 100,000. Over 247 languages are spoken.


In modern times, ruled by Netherlands until 1963, when annexed by Indonesia. Recently, there have been renewed demands for greater autonomy or independence.


Christian 73.4% (Protestant 54.1%, Catholic 19.3%); Muslim 16.4%; Traditional ethnic 10.1%; Buddhist 0.08%.

Answers to Prayer

1 Praise God for the people movements that have brought stone-age peoples to faith in Christ among most of the 275 tribes. These include peoples on the north coast in the 19th Century (Reformed Church), in the more densely populated highlands (Pioneers, CMA, WT, UFM, ABMS, NTM and others), in the Bird's Head (TEAM), and the southern swamps (TEAM, WT). Over 90% of the indigenous population is officially reckoned as Christian.

Challenges for Prayer

1 Strong, Bible-centred, maturely led Papuan churches are the great need as modernization, education and the outside world impact these isolated cultures. Christians must face up to the challenges of tribalism, syncretism and separatist politics which sap the spiritual energies of some churches. Sadly, inter-village fighting has once more become a problem in some Christianized areas.

2 The Dani peoples total 300,000. Many turned to the Lord in great people movements over the last few decades of the 20th Century. At one stage there were 280 Dani missionaries evangelizing other areas. That vision has dimmed. Pray for renewal of life and vision for the Dani churches. There is a strong independence movement among the Dani.

3 Missionary numbers are on the increase again – both expatriate and indigenous Indonesians and Papuans. Most work in the towns and coastal areas and serve in a wide range of ministries. More are needed who can pioneer unreached rural areas and transmigrant communities. NTM has opened up a number of pioneer areas in recent years.

4 Christian aviation is essential in this land with few roads. MAF-US has planes at five bases. WT-Tariku and JAARS also have extensive flying programmes in some of the most rigorous conditions in the world. Pray for safety; there have been some bad accidents. Pray for more to be called for this ministry and also for its funding. Indonesia's post-1997 economic crisis has raised flying costs and deeply affected inland economies dependent on it.

5 The less-reached. Only in the last few years have virtually all the ethnic groups been located and contacted. Indigenous peoples still requiring pioneer evangelism and church-planting are:

a) Small peoples east of Cenderawasih Bay on New Guinea's 'shoulder'.

b) Peoples in the northern foothills of the Eastern Highlands.

c) Peoples in the southern foothills of the main range of mountains bisecting the island.

d) The Baliem Dani of the Highlands who have not been as responsive as the rest of the Western Dani.

e) There are 14 known areas with a total population of around 20,000 where no Christians have penetrated. Pray that national churches and agencies may reach them.

6 The transmigrants number nearly one million. They often had gained land and privileges at the expense of the indigenous Papuans. The Papuan independence movement has brought uncertainty and threats of violence. Pray that this may open hearts to those who bring them news of Jesus. Major church planting challenges:

a) The Muslim Minangkabau and Makassar in the coastal urban areas.

b) Many ethnic enclaves scattered over Papua. Recent arrivals are Ambonese refugees.

7 Bible translation for the many small language groups is an immense task. There are 27 languages with a NT, 23 have Bible portions finished, and 39 with work in progress. There are 54 with a definite need and 130 others with a possible need for a NT translation. Pray for:

a) The completion, publication and effective use of the NTs in the process of being translated or printed.

b) Cooperation between churches and agencies to have portions of Scripture translated into every vernacular still used as a primary language.

c) Mother-tongue speakers with the skills, gifts, spiritual insight and motivation to tackle the arduous task of translation.

d) The use of audio cassettes for Scriptures and Christian messages on tape. GRN have made recordings in over 200 languages.

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