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.)

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!