TEAM seeks to reach displaced people group in Papua

By June 19, 2009

Papua (MNN) — Among the native residents of Papua, the second largest island in the world, there are thousands of churches, and the Gospel is flourishing. However, the Indonesian government has begun to ship Javanese Muslims to the island, and they now outnumber the natives.

This people group, which is now trying to survive on an island they know nothing about, has been largely untouched by the Gospel.

The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) wants to change this.

“Our goal is to show the love of Christ to these Muslim people who are coming onto this island that they did not grow up on, and they really know nothing about,” said Brent Preston, senior director of East Asia and Asia with TEAM.

Thus, TEAM has a new mission field to reach.

However, the Papuan natives are not as quick to reach out to this new people group. Since the Papuans on the Indonesian side of Papua are from a different ethnicity than the rest of Indonesia, they do not want to be ethnically over run.

“Even in the church, there’s not a deep love for these Javanese Muslims coming in,” Preston said.

Therefore, TEAM has a two-fold goal as they minister in Papua. First, they want to change the attitude of the Papuan Christians.

“One of our goals is to help the national church develop a love and commitment to reach these people because they are without the Gospel,” Preston said.

Second, TEAM wants to build a community center in the town of Merauke along the southern coast of Papua. Preston said, “Through that community center our missionaries will hope to seek to build relationships with the Javanese Muslim, and then through that share the Gospel of Christ.”

Preston said the situation these Javanese Muslims find themselves in hopefully makes this a great time to show them a God who cares about their personal well-being.

Pray along with TEAM as they ask God to diffuse the aggression between the two people groups. Pray also for James and Harmony Jansen, full-term missionaries in Papua, as they look for teammates and help to build the community center.

If you are interested in full-term missions, TEAM needs individuals willing to serve in Papua for 10 to 15 years and assist James and Harmony. Go to the TEAM Web site for details. You can also send money for the building of the community center by clicking here.

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