Papua (MNN) — Three years ago, The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) established the Marauke Community Center to reach trans-migrants on the island of Papua. Through this community center, TEAM meets the physical needs of Javanese workers and establishes relationships, opening doors for team members to share the Gospel.
TEAM's senior director of East Asia and Asia, Brent Preston, says the ministry is expanding and they need people who can help them bring unbelievers to Christ.
"We could use people who have a love for the lost, who work well with others and have a desire to bring the Gospel to those who don't have it," says Preston. "Right now that's our greatest need."
At the Marauke Community Center, students receive HIV/AIDS prevention training and computer and business skills training; they also have the opportunity to learn English. These activities allow transplanted Muslims to walk in a daily relationship with followers of Christ.
"We don't minister to people physically to manipulate them," explains Preston, "We minister to them because we actually love them. And that love carries a lot of weight among a people that the Papuans basically don't like."
Indonesia is comprised of over 13,000 islands, and Java is the most densely-populated isle, with about 700 people per square kilometer. In an effort to evenly distribute the country's population, Indonesia's government began trans-migrating the Javanese people–a largely Muslim demographic–to Papua. Twenty years later, the Javanese now outnumber native Papuans; this shift has caused great hostility between the two groups.
"There's a disdain coming from both sides," Preston says. "[The Javanese] are treated by the Papuans with hostility, but part of that comes from the fact that the Javanese look down on the Papuans as Jungle People."
By establishing relationships through the community center and showing the kindness of Christ, TEAM hopes to share the Truth with Javanese Muslims.
"Our purpose is to establish communities of Christ-followers among the Muslim people," says Preston. "We hope to see Christ's Kingdom established all through the trans-migrant camps in Papua."
Do you feel called to share Christ with unreached Muslims? Learn more about serving with TEAM International in Merauke, Papua.