Population: 272+ million
Literacy Rate: 96%
Largest religion: Islam 87%
“Everywhere you look in Indonesia, we see people thirsty for God and they’re serving gods that they don’t know and gods that cannot change their lives or cannot help them. Everywhere we see people trying really hard, doing their best, being very religious to please God, and they cannot find that satisfaction. They cannot find, they cannot fill that gap in their hearts so that there is so much need to have people coming and helping them to find the way to find Jesus.”
LS, Translation Facilitator
Indonesia, the fourth most populous nation in the world, is home to around 1300 ethnic groups. Geographically, Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and consists of more than 17,000 islands. There are six official religions that are recognised in Indonesia – Islam, Protestant Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. In addition there are many unofficial belief systems that can broadly be classified as animist beliefs, a belief in the spirit world and the interaction of the spiritual world with the physical world. Many Indonesians have an official religion that is mixed in with indigenous cultural belief systems.
Indonesia is a linguistically very rich part of the world with over 700 spoken languages. The national language, Bahasa Indonesia, is spoken throughout Indonesia. Some regional languages have tens of millions of speakers, some have only a few hundred speakers and others are on the brink of extinction. Bahasa Indonesia is the language most commonly used in formal settings, including church. This creates challenges for understanding and connecting with God’s Word.
“It’s just so important that you have understanding of what the Bible says so you can actually do the right thing. People sin for not knowing the truth. And so, that’s only through the Word of God.” LS, Translation Facilitator
As understanding about the importance of using local languages increases, churches are beginning to embrace the use of local languages in things like worship, prayer, Bible reading and liturgy. It isn’t easy for some to make the shift from using the national language to the local language, particularly within the church context, but more and more it is becoming not only acceptable but greatly beneficial. We are seeing more and more national organisations and churches participating in the work of Bible translation in Indonesia.
Opportunities to Serve
Wycliffe Australia partners with national Bible translation organisations and churches. There are many opportunities to serve in Indonesia for all sorts of people with all sorts of skills. Some of the opportunities include:
- Translation consultancy
- Translation facilitation
- Language surveying
- Scripture Engagement
- Curriculum development
- Sunday school material development
- Trainers in Theology, Pastoral Care, Ministry