Challenge for Prayer
The mass displacement of people within, and out from, Indonesia is massive and has many causes.
a) The Transmigration Scheme was one of the world’s largest planned resettlements of people ever organized. Vast areas of virgin territory in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua were opened for migrants from overpopulated Java and Bali. Over eight million were relocated. These new settlements have been difficult for the newcomers and have caused notable violent clashes between migrants and locals. Yet, among these migrants, there is an openness to the gospel.
b) Natural disasters – earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding – since 2001 have killed close to 200,000 and rendered millions homeless or displaced. Sumatra is the hardest hit. Indonesia lies in a geologically volatile region, which, combined with high populations and poor infrastructure, make future tragedies inevitable. Pray that Christians, both national and expatriate, may use these disasters as opportunities to demonstrate the compassion of Christ.
c) Victims of communal violence and religious persecution, most notably Christians from Maluku and central Sulawesi. They total more than 500,000 and must deal with profound personal loss, bitter trauma and the loss of their ancestral homelands.
d) Migrant workers from Indonesia to other nations, numbering 400,000 legal migrants and many more illegal ones. While there are highly educated and skilled migrants among them, many workers provide mostly unskilled domestic labour; they number over 80% female. Though their remittances garner for them the title of “foreign-exchange heroines”, they often are paid poorly and are subject to abuse. Their lonely and often difficult situations open them up to loving witness by Christians.