Bisaya, Sabah in United States

Bisaya, Sabah
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
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People Name: Bisaya, Sabah
Country: United States
10/40 Window: No
Population: 15,000
World Population: 92,000
Primary Language: Bisaya, Sabah
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Borneo-Kalimantan
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Bisaya of Malaysia are located in western Sabah along the northern coast of Brunei Bay. They also live in northern Sarawak along the rivers which flow into Brunei Bay. They are often called "people of the middle" or "people of the river." Thousands of Bisaya have come to the USA seeking better lives and opportunities for their children. The Bisaya language is closely related to Cebuano, one of the major languages of the Philippines.

What Are Their Lives Like?

First marriages among the Bisaya are usually arranged by the parents when the children are very young. This practice is changing for the Bisaya in the USA where young people make their own choices as to whom to marry. Upon marrying, a couple moves either to the same apartment as one of their parents or to an apartment of a close kinsman in the same house as the parents. The Bisaya who have moved to the USA experience huge changes. They first must secure housing and food that are quite different to what they are used to. They must learn English and new job skills. Their children must enroll in American schools. It may take months and even years for the Bisaya to adjust and flourish in their new home. Bisaya men will often take any job they can get to support their families. In their homeland the Bisaya live with their extended families. In the USA nuclear families live in housing units often separated from their families.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bisaya people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. Their Islam is mixed with a belief in natural spirits that must be appeased by offerings, rituals and charms. The Bisaya try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. They 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 prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, deceiving, and slandering. 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.

What Are Their Needs?

The newly arrived Bisaya have physical needs like housing and food that can be met with the help of believers. Christians can aid the Bisaya in learning English and obtaining jobs. Most of all the Bisaya must come to understand that Isa or Jesus is much more than a prophet. Jesus is their Savior and Lord.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to send workers to help the Bisaya in their new home. Pray that Bisaya elders and leaders come to know the Savior and lead then their families to the Lord. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Bisaya living in the USA in this decade. Pray that American Bisaya believers would go back to Malaysia to share the gospel with their brother and sisters.

Text Source:   Joshua Project