The terrible violence and ethnic cleansing of 1999-2000 changed the Maluku Islands forever. Rioters destroyed many churches and mosques. Over 20,000 Christians died. Christians and Muslims now mostly live in separate villages. This helps peace, but hinders outreach. Pray for healing for the many who suffered. Pray for Christians to love their Muslim neighbours. The Maluku Protestant Church was founded in 1605. It is Asia’s oldest Protestant denomination.
On Sulawesi, Less-reached peoples are many, but there are small Christian minorities in most of the larger groups. Pray specifically for:
- The Bugis (5m) and related Makassar (2.1m) 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 a few thousand Christians among these groups, the Makassar being one of the few significant orthodox Muslim groups responding in any numbers to the gospel.
- The Muslim Gorontalo (more than 1m), a cluster of five Muslim-animist peoples scattered around the north, and the Bungku-Bajau cluster in the southeast. There are some small churches indigenous to these peoples, but response is slow and many areas remain untouched.
Bible translation is a challenge. The government has done much to encourage the use of the national language - a blessing for communication and evangelism. But 117 languages remain in active use in Maluku; only four have a NT, even though many of these peoples are "Christian". Translation teams are involved in 34 languages, and 64 more have definite translation needs. Pray for the continuation of translation work, which, along with other ministries, is disrupted by violence.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.