This small, young nation continues its struggles to break free of the poverty, division, and trauma of its tumultuous past. Close to half of the population is at or below the poverty line. Timor’s population is the most youthful in Asia (along with Afghanistan), and one of the youngest in the world. Despite its modest population, it has 23 people groups, 19 languages, and up to 30 dialects! National unity and development are uphill struggles, especially with high dependence on oil as a natural resource. Pray for wise, long-term policies that will raise the education, health, and living standards for Timorese, and for the formation of a harmonious national identity, all under Christ’s lordship.
The Catholic Church grew rapidly as a visible symbol of national resistance to Indonesians, but traditional Spiritism remains, permeating Christianity and rebounding as a religion in its own right. Catholic agencies serve at the forefront of the mercy ministries so desperately needed in Timor. Protestants are viewed with suspicion as originating from Indonesia. Pray for Christians to renounce all vestiges of animism; pray also for greater unity and cooperation between Catholics and Protestants.
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.
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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.