This is an article from the January-March 1985 issue: Student Missions Urbana ‘84

Around the World

Around the World


Indonesia is officially a Muslim country  over 80% Muslim. In 965, only 10% of the population, 12 million people, claimed to be Christian.

In 1965, the Indonesian Communist Party claimed 20 million card carrying members (That would make them second only in size to the Communist Party in China') On the basis of their perceived strength, the Communists attempted a coop d'etat in 1965. In one night, they murdered 6 of the 8 (military) generals who," they believed would oppose their rule.

The two generals who escaped, understanding the situation, met at a government controlled radio station and declared "open season" on Communists. Anyone could kill a Communist with no fear of government reprisal.

Mob violence erupted. It is estimated that 500,000 people were killed in the months immediately following the radio broadcast. Not only Communists were killed; many businessmen pointed their fingers at rivals seeking to have them destroyed. Soon, people were seeking to "do unto their rivals before their rivals had it done unto them "

But it was quickly obvious to both Communists and Muslims that one group Chrisitans refused to participate in the violence.

Whereas only months earlier the Communists were clearly indicating that they intended to destroy the Christian community the first chance they got, now, in the midst of anarchy. Communist Party members actually sought (and found!) refuge in the homes of Christians.

The conduct of the Christians so impressed those who were watching that by 1954, though the government of Indonesia continued to claim only 10 percent of its population as Christian, some experts were convinced that the percentage of Christians in Indonesia was at least two and a half times that figure.

The bulk of church growth since 1965 has come from Muslims converting to Christ. In fact, if you added up all the Muslim converts to Christianity since the time Muhamtsted founded the Islamic faith, they would not equal the number of Indsimiestan Muslim converts during the past 20 years!

Irian Jaya

Irian Jaya forms Indonesia's eastern frontier. With a population of about one million, Irian Jaya has a relatively low population density. Ninety percent of its people claim to be Christian, and a high percentage of these are evangelicals.

Java, on the other hand, Indonesia's "main" island and home of its capital, Jakarta, is one of the world's most densely populated areas. Its population is almost all Muslim.

In seeking to relieve some of the crowding on Java, the Indonesian government is seeking to entice tO million Javanese families SO million people' to move to trian Jaya in he nest (???) years, Part of the enticement includes I hectare (almost two and a half acres) of cleared land, a 2' to 3 bedroom house, and enough teed for the first year's crops.

The Irianese have not been happy with the inirusion ofiavanese Muslims into their territory. Many have responded in one of two wa's. Some have joined guerrilla type anti-Javanese forces, making sporadic attacks on government workers or on the Javanese settlers then,selves.

Others have complained to the Indonesian government about the unfairness of the government's incentive program. "You don't provide us with cleared land and free houses and seed!" they complain.

The government has responded in a restrained manner to the guerrilla attacks. There have been few if any, major military reprisals.

But to the Irianese' complaints of unfairness, the government has made a cosioter'offer. "For every three Javanese families who receive land, house, and seed, we will give one Irianese family the same benefits."

The Iriatsese have not been welt pleased with this offer "What upstanding Christian wants to live in the midst of Muslim Javanese?"

Don Richardson, when he visited Irian Jaya this past summer, was confronted by Irianese church leaders with this question: "How should we lead our people in response to the government's policy'?" Don had them turn to Acts 17:26 27, He asked them a couple of questions.

First: "Who is moving these Javanese Muslims into your area? Is it the Indonesian government, or the immigrants themselves, or God"

The church leaders hesitated to answer. But finally they said, "God" 

"And why is God bringing these Javanese Muslims into your area? Is it so they can grow rich at your expense, or so they can destroy your culture and make you Muslims, or so they can hear the Gospel and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?"

Again they hesitated. But the answer was clear: "So they can hear the Gospel and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Then I recommend," said Don, "that you prepare your people to take up the government's offer, and move in among these Muslims, and seek to fulfill God's purposes in bringing them here!"

"Who knows: if you're as successful in your task of evangelizing these Muslims as you have been in evangelizing hidden tribes already here in Irian Jaya, pretty soon you're going to have the Muslim leaders back in Java pleading with the government to halt its migration program. Ion many of their people will be turning to Christ!"

The church leaders weighed Don's counsel. They have begun to plan massive new efforts to train their people to reach Muslims.


With a population of 16 million, Nepal had no indigenous (national) Christians until 1956. In 956, two people professed faith in Christ.

By 1978. those two had become 2,000. In 1979, those 2,tX became 4.000, In 1980, the church doubled again.

Today, the Nepalese church has over 600 congregations and 26,000 members!


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