Overpopulation, relocation affecting Indonesia’s rural Christians

By August 30, 2019

Indonesia (MNN/WAS) — If you think packing up and moving your home is hard, try moving a national capital.

We talked yesterday about Indonesia’s plan to move the capital from Jakarta to Borneo. The decision wasn’t just based on geography and the economy. Overpopulation was also a major factor.

indonesiaIn the Muslim-majority nation, Islamic authorities have been paying people to relocate to less-populated areas of Papua, Indonesia. Some people even move over 2,000 miles. However, this is impacting rural Christians.

Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates says, “When you take the majority population and you move them into areas like Papua, which is in the far eastern part of the Indonesian region, you then start changing the demographics of that area. Where Christians had been the majority in Papua, now they’re being overtaken by Muslims that are being migrated into that arena.

“The believers in these areas are standing as strong as they can, but many have no Bibles in their own heart languages. As you can imagine, they need the encouragement and the wisdom of the Scriptures in a language they can fully understand.”

Wycliffe Associates is working to accelerate Bible translation in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world. Christians there face daily persecution, and many are still without the Bible in their language.

indonesia, tablets, bible translation

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

Wycliffe Associates provides computer tablets and training to mother-tongue translators around the world, so they can translate the Bible quickly and safely.

“These Bible translators are determined to do everything necessary to share the Scriptures with the people of their language groups,” Smith says. “They have waited for generations to experience God’s Word in the language of their hearts. All they need are the tools and the training.”

Wycliffe Associates’ Tablets for National Translators (TNT) initiative provides the national translators with computer tablets loaded with translation software. The translators also have the option of working offline for privacy and security.

“If paper copies of Scripture translations are discovered, they could easily be destroyed. Tablets are absolutely essential,” says Smith. “Whole language groups are still waiting. Our response to their requests will mean committed Christians can translate God’s Word quickly and safely.”

One language group in Indonesia has had Scripture in their language for more than 25 years. When Muslims tried to establish a presence there, Christians were unfazed, because knowledge of the Bible is now deeply rooted in their community.

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

The cost of providing a mother-tongue translator with one tablet and training is $300. Wycliffe Associates has received requests for 1,525 Tablets from Papua New Guinea, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.

If you would like to support Indonesian Bible translators through Wycliffe Associates, click here to donate!

“They will make any sacrifice, take any risk, to make Bibles available to their people.”

To date, Wycliffe Associates has distributed 6,008 TNTs in 67 countries.

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