Timor Leste

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Timor Leste

Timor Leste


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Area: 14,874 sq km

Eastern half of Timor and the Ocussi-Ambenu enclave in Indonesian West Timor and Atauro Island.

Population: 1,171,163    Annual Growth: 3.38%

Capital: Dili

Urbanites: 28.1%

HDI Rank: 162 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)


Official language: Portuguese (13.5% understand), Tetum (and its dialects) is understood by 91%. Bahasa Indonesia is also common, understood by 43%    Languages: 19 All languages


Largest Religion: Christian

Religion               Pop %Ann Gr

Challenges for Prayer

Protestant churches emerged only recently and their growth is modest. The AoG, working here since the 1960s, has grown on Atauro Island and in Dili. The Reformed IPTL (GKTT) was started by Indonesian immigrants, and many Timorese joined, but rarely with true conversion. Nominalism and lack of understanding of the gospel characterize the majority. There is great need for biblically trained and spiritually active pastors. Pray that evangelical churches may be planted among every people and in every area of Timor. Pray for true unity among national church leaders.

a) Timor’s peoples remain mostly ignorant of the gospel; none can be considered adequately evangelized. Specific outreach to each of the 19 indigenous peoples is needed. Pray for pioneer church planters who will risk all to see the Kingdom of God established here.

b) Children and young people – most are traumatized and many have lost everything, including parents. Droves roam the streets, often forming dangerous gangs. Pray for effective holistic and discipleship ministries to be established. WEC (The Esperanza Project), YWAM-Arms, the Nazarene Center, JMM (Projeto Vida Mais) and JAMI (Centro Shalom) focus on ministering in this capacity. JUVEPE has a Child at Risk Program that provides support for abused kids, especially for teenage girls.

c) Holistic ministry is the best option for Timor, since needs are both physical and emotional. Christians must share the whole gospel for Timorese to respond. Christian Vision (UK/Brazil) and Transformation Alliance (Singapore) are two ministries seeking to impact every village with practical and spiritual assistance.

d) Christian resources are almost non-existent. A Catholic translation of the NT is available in Tetum and a Wycliffe-coordinated NT project is underway, but 13 languages have no Scripture whatsoever. The JESUS film is now in Tetum as well as in Portuguese and Indonesian. Christian Vision’s radio station – Radio Voz FM 89.5 – broadcasts in Portuguese, Tetum, Indonesian and English.

     For an additional 3 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.

More Information

The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Timor Leste.