Focus UPG: Asilulu of Indonesia

Who they are:

The Asilulu live on the island of Ambon in the villages of Asilulu and Ureng, in the district of Leihitu, Central Maluku Regency, in the province of Maluku. The provinces of North Maluku and Maluku were created from the province of Maluku in 1999. Transportation to the Asilulu area is available both by land and by sea. General transportation is available several times a day to the city of Ambon. The Maluku Islands, historically called the Spice Islands, are a string of over one thousand islands scattered over the eastern portion of Indonesia. They include most of the islands between Sulawesi and New Guinea and between Timor and the Philippines. The Asilulu language is one of the original languages of the island of Ambon and is spoken by people who reside on the west coast. The people in the village of Negri Lima speak a very similar, but different, language sometimes known as Henalima. Historically, the Asilulu language was a trade language for this region, and even now it is not unusual to meet a person from a neighboring island, such as Seram, who can speak the Asilulu language.

The Asilulu are Muslims. As such, they believe they will be judged based on their knowledge of the Qur’an, as well as what they did with their lives. The Asilulu have syncretized Islam with their traditional beliefs. They mix traditional cultural practices and Islamic teachings in many of their events, such as weddings, circumcisions, royal inaugurations, and building of mosques (mesjid).

How we can pray for them today:

  • Ask God to give the workers the wisdom of God to navigate cultural, political and religious issues for gaining access and favor among an unreached people group can be very tricky. 
  • In every people group there are fathers who love and provide for their children. They each have something in them that connects with our Father in Heaven. Our prayers can focus the attention of the Holy Spirit on one of these fathers.
  • Ask God to make a way for these people to have their Bible in the language they understand best in their heart. 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.

(source: Joshua Project and Prayer Guard)

Focus UPG: Wolio People

Map source: Copyright © IPN – Indonesian People Network. Used with permission.

Who are they?

  • The Wolio (also known as the Baubau, Buton or Butung) primarily live on the island of Buton, around the city of Baubau, but can also be found on Muna, located in the SE Sulawesi province. Their ancestors were immigrants from Johor, Malaysia at the beginning of the 15th century, who also founded the Buton dynasty. In 1540, the sixth king became a follower of Islam. He reshaped the kingdom to become a sultanate and set himself up as the first sultan. The sultanate of Buton lasted until the death of the last sultan in 1960. With his death, the Buton sultanate ended its formal reign, though the influence of Buton is still felt throughout all of the islands in the region. The Wolio are at the heart of the culture of Buton. Buton today is known for its production of asphalt and is currently being explored for oil and other minerals. Many people have moved to other islands to find work. At present, some Wolio people live in the areas of Maluku and Papua.

What language do they speak?

  • They speak the Wolio language, which is from the Wotu-Wolio language cluster that includes the following languages: Kalao, Laiyolo, Kamaru, Wotu. Arabic is also understood by some and its script is used in religious writings and older written materials in the Wolio language.

What do they believe?

  • Almost all Wolio have beliefs centered in Sufi Islam. According to their teachings, they practice mediation in order to receive visions from God, or to find hidden truths far beyond their own reasoning. Belief in reincarnation is also adhered to as a result of Hindu influence. They also believe that evil spirits cause illnesses to occur while helpful spirits give guidance.

Do they have Bible or partial of the Bible, or other materials?

  • No.

How can we pray for them?

  • Ask God to give wisdom and strategies to the workers to gain access and favor among the people group. Workers need the wisdom of God to navigate cultural, political and religious issues.
  • Ask God to touch the people’s hearts and give them hunger for Him and His word.
  • Ask God to reveal the culture keys.

(Resources: Prayerguard and Joshua Project.)

Focus UPG: the People of Dondo

My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. (Mal 1:11)

Map source: Copyright © IPN – Indonesian People Network. Used with permission.

Who are they?

The Dondo live in the districts of Baolan, Dondo, Galang and North Dampal in the Toli-Toli regency of Central Sulawesi. They tend to live in groups which are scattered over this entire area. Generally, they prefer to live by the riverbank in the jungle. The population of Dondo is about 16,000 people. They are one the Least and Unreached People Groups in Indonesia.

What language do they speak?

The Dondo speak the language of Dondo. According to the Dondo people themselves, this language is different from the Toli-Toli language. The Dondo language is part of a larger linguistic grouping called the Nothern Tomini subgroup which also includes the Lauje and Tomini languages.

What do they do for living?

Farming, fishing and hunting.

How their lives look like?

The traditional house of the Dondo is built on a raised platform and made from wood, bamboo and rattan. Houses are raised off the ground as high as two meters. The houses are rectangular, roughly five by seven meters. Usually they have only one door and a ladder at the front of the house. Roofing is made from the leaf of the sago palm. In the past, Dondo was a sultanate. The Dondo sultan and his nobles and aides were chosen through their ancestral lines. During those times, there were four classes among the people: royalty, nobility, commoners and slaves. At 16 years old, a Dondo person is considered an adult. This status is symbolized by the young person having his or her teeth filed in a community ceremony. After marriage, the new bride and groom may choose to live with either the husband’s or the wife’s family. According to the Dondo custom, a man may have more than one wife. Divorce is permitted if the couple is no longer compatible. However, the divorce has to be witnessed by a traditional leader (Kapitalau).

What do they believe?

The Dondo have embraced Islam for many generations. However, many Dondo continue to practice animism, especially those who live in the highlands. Historically, the Dondo kept the body of a deceased family member inside a sago palm trunk that had been scraped out. The burial took place in the yard of the family residence and the family members bid farewell to the spirit of the deceased by sleeping around the grave for several days.

Do they have God’s word and resources?


(source and for more detail: Joshua Project)

How can we pray for them?

  • Ask God to send His workers to reach out and share the Good News with the Dondo people.
  • Ask God to prepare their hearts, open their ears and show to them Himself.
  • Ask God to rise up His churches to go and reach out to them.
  • Ask God to open the way and make the way for His workers to go.
  • Ask God to make the way that the people of Dondo will have His word in the language they understand best.
  • Ask God how He wants you and your church can be part of His work to reach out these people.

(More prayer ideas you can visit: Prayerguard)

Thank You for praying for them today!

Alune People Have God’s Word! And More Are Still Waiting…

Alune New Testament Dedication

It has been a long journey for the Alune people to receive the Word of God in their heart language. The Alune people live in Indonesia on an island that is part of the Maluku archipelago. There are around twenty thousand people in this language group. Once known as fierce warriors, a powerful Alune leader came to know Christ in 1920 and influenced many of his people to do the same. However, it wasn’t until 1986, when two Alune men sought help from foreign linguists, that the translation work of the New Testament was started.

During those twenty-six years, the translators faced many hardships. And in 1999, they had to evacuate to Australia due to civil unrest. Two full-time mother-tongue translators continued to receive further training and carry on the work, despite many hardships that they encountered along the way—bombs, life threatening experiences, illness within their families, helping others to deal with trauma, and countless more.

After twenty-six years of trials and perseverance, the Alune people are finally able to hold the finished work of their perseverance—God’s Word in the language of their heart.

(source: Wycliffe USA Blog)

There are more than 190 millions people in Indonesia who speak about 450 languages are waiting for God’s word available in their heart language, just like the people of Alune.

Would you be praying for them today?

Would you ask God to send His workers to go and bring the His word to those people who have been waiting for so long to hear His Kingdom News?

Would you ask God how He can use you bringing the Word to over 190 millions people of Indonesia?

Thank you for lifting them up today in your prayers! God is glorified in all the answers to your prayers!