Introduction / History
In the beginning of the 20th century the economy of Kutai flourished as a result of the establishment of the Borneo-Sumatra Trade Co. This community lives in a remote region of Borneo.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Only portions of the Bible are available in the Kota Bangun language. A tiny fraction of the Kota claims to be followers of Christ.
Indonesia gained its freedom from the Netherlands in 1949. It is the largest Muslim majority country in the world as well as the fourth largest nation by population. Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands of which 10,000 are inhabited. Indonesia has oil, natural gas and mineral assets but the average Indonesian does not benefit from the nation's wealth.
Speakers of the Kota Bangun dialect of the Malay language reside in the central Mahakam River basin of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. The Kota Bangun live in the tropical rain forest. The first Roman Catholic mission was established in this locality in 1907.
The Kota Bangun make their living by farming, fishing and hunting. Water is abundant in the rain forest, but the soil often lacks nutrients. They cultivate rice, peanuts, vegetables, coconuts, and fruits. They trade their surplus of rice, peanuts, coconuts, and fish for things that they cannot make for themselves such as cell phones and appliances.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Kota live in villages near rivers or streams. The best form of travel in the forest is usually by canoe. Village elders make the important decisions.
The Kota tend to marry within their group. Families and young couples arrange marriages. Some young people move away from their homeland and choose to live in cities in Indonesia or Malaysia. They are looking for a better life for themselves and their children. The Kota often have large families. Children, especially boys, are seen as blessings from Allah. It is the responsibility of the adult sons to provide for their parents in old age.
The majority of the Kota claim to be Sunnis Muslims. Their brand of Islam is heavily influenced by folk religion and animism. Allah is frequently viewed as a remote Creator God. The Kota must deal with the evil spirits who inhabit the objects of nature. The perform prayers and rituals to get on the good side of these spirits. Each village has a shaman who serves as a healer and as someone who connects the Kota to the spirit world.
What Are Their Needs?
The Kota try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah
The Kota Bangun must understand that Isa or Jesus is much more than a human prophet. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life. Teams of believers can come and bring the benefits of modern medicine to the Kota.
Pray that the Lord will provide pastors and teachers for the small number of Kota believers.
Pray the Kota believers would tell their families and friend about the Savior.
Ask the Lord to send loving workers to the Kota Bangun.
Pray that the Lord raises up a growing church among the Kota Bangun in this decade.
Scripture Prayers for the Kota Bangun Kutai in Indonesia.