Timor appears caught in a downward spiral of poverty, poor health, and illiteracy. The poor suffer most from the violence and destruction brought by various groups. Every aspect of life needs transformation. Education, job creation, healthcare, and leadership training all need major investments. The Indonesian military and the Timorese militia left a legacy of hatred and trauma that will take decades to heal. Many children and young people especially have lost everything, including parents. Large numbers roam the streets, or join dangerous gangs. Pray for peace for Timor, and for reconciliation among the many divided factions.
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.