Focus UPG: Bawean of Indonesia

 

Who are they?

  • The Bawean homeland is a 200 square kilometer island 120 kilometers north of Surabaya (East Java) in the middle of the Java Sea. Bawean has been known as the “island of women” because the majority of its inhabitants are women. This is because the men tend to look for employment in other lands. A man from Tanjung Ori village who worked for 20 years in Malaysia said, “A Bawean male is not considered an adult until he has stepped on foreign soil.” Merantau (going to distant lands to seek success) is a major aspect of Bawean culture and it influences almost every other facet of their society. A significant number of the Baweanese reside in Malaysia. In fact, the Baweanese population there far exceeds that found on the island itself, which numbers 60,000 inhabitants. Other areas of Baweanese migration include Perth, Australia and Singapore, where they are known as the Boyanese people.

What language do they speak?

  • Linguistically speaking, the Bawean dialect is part of Madura language which also includes the dialects of Bangkalan, Pamekasan, Sampang, Sapudi and Sumenep.

What are their beliefs?

  • Originally the Bawean embraced animistic beliefs. Then Hindu and Buddhist influences entered the island until the 1600’s when the Baweanese people converted to Islam. Their religious devotion is extremely strong and they pride themselves in the fact that 100% of the island’s inhabitants follow Islam. There are many mosques (mesjid), small Islamic prayer houses (musholla) and traditional Islamic schools (pesantren) in every village. Boys and girls from six or seven years of age receive religious instruction including lessons in reciting the Qur’an and sometimes live in the house of a kyai (Islamic teacher). The kyai is greatly respected by the Bawean people.

Do they have a Bible in their language?

Yes.

How can we pray for them?

  • Words have little meaning, especially in places where physical needs are great. It takes the miraculous to capture the hearts of the people. In places where embracing Christianity means abuse and persecution, believers need to be sure they have accepted the real God. ASK GOD to perform miracles to confirm the Word.
  • In every people group there are leaders who guide the activities of others. They each have something in them that connects with the God of the universe. Our prayers can focus the attention of the Holy Spirit on one of these leaders today. ASK GOD to give revelations of Him to the leaders.
  • Everyone on the planet has the right to hear the truth of God’s love for them, but many times, Gov. leaders restrict their people from having access to the Gospel. Through prayer we can see this change. ASK GOD to remove the oppositions.

(Resources: Joshua Project and PrayerGuard.net)

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