Dayak, Lawangan in Indonesia

Dayak, Lawangan
Photo Source:  Greg n Trees 
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Dayak, Lawangan
Country: Indonesia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 133,000
World Population: 133,000
Primary Language: Lawangan
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 5.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.03 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Banjar of Kalimantan
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The indigenous Lawangan people live in the southeastern section of the island of Borneo in the Kalimantan Province of Indonesia. They have their own language of Lawangan. Only Bible portions and Gospel Recordings are available in the Lawangan language.

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 Lawangan does not benefit from the nation’s wealth.

What Are Their Lives Like?

They make their living through hunting, fishing, farming, raising livestock, and making handicrafts. Life among the Lawangan revolves around the village. Their farmland surrounds the village. Extended families live together. Each family often has a few goats, chickens, and a water buffalo. Village elders make judicial decisions and deal with outsiders. Some men have a working knowledge of Bahasa Indonesian, the national language of Indonesia.

The Lawangan marry within their group. Families arrange marriages. Men can have up to four wives if he can afford them. Most men have one wife. Families tend to be large as children, especially boys, are seen as blessings of Allah. Some villages have schools for the children. Remote villages frequently do not have schools. The children work with their parents in the fields.

The stable crop of the Lawangan is rice. They also cultivate coconuts, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruits and palm trees. If they have a surplus, they trade and buy things they cannot make for themselves like cell phones and appliances. Men also make their living fishing and hunting animals like wild boars.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The official religion of the Lawangan is Sunni Islam. The worldview of the Lawangan people is connected with a belief in spirits. In the same way, their arts and culture are related to these spirit beliefs. They are typically followers of traditional Dayak beliefs, called Kaharingan. In addition, some follow Nyuli beliefs. Nyuli teaching is that there is a resurrection after death. In addition, the Lawangan worship the spirits of their ancestors, which are called duwata. Every family worships its own duwata that acts as their household gods. The Lawangan live in fear of the spirits and their ancestors. They must be appeased or they can bring disaster upon the people. Each village has a shaman who provides the Lawangan with charms and amulets to ward off the influence of the evil spirits.

A small fraction of the Lawangan claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.

What Are Their Needs?

Teams of workers can bring the benefits of modern medicine to the Lawangan. Solar panels can bring them electricity. Teachers can bring education to Lawangan children. Most of all the Lawangan must understand that Isa or Jesus is more than a human prophet. He alone can forgive their sins and free them from their fear of evil spirits.

Prayer Focus

Pray that the few believers among the Lawangan would find each other and grow in the faith.

Ask the Lord to send workers to the Lawangan.

Pray the Bible and other resources would be translated into Lawangan.

Ask the Lord to provide pastors and Bible teachers for the Lawangan.

Pray the Lord raises up a growing church among the Lawangan in this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project