Outside of the Philippines which is majority Catholic, the countries of Southeast Asia-Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia- are dominated by Islam. In total, nearly 250 million Muslims inhabit this region. In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, the number of evangelical believers is growing. Yet, Islam is going through a revival of its own. Muslims are gaining political power and advocating for the institution of Islamic law.
Second only to India, Indonesia has more unreached people groups (those that have never heard the Gospel) than any other country in the world. Several of Indonesia's 127 unreached people groups, including the Sundanese (34 million) and Jawa Pesisir Lor (23 million), are among the largest remaining unreached people groups in the world.
In addition to political and religious challenges, a string of natural disasters have devastated the population over the last ten years. The most significant, of course, being the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
The next ten years will be a key time in the history of Indonesia. The Church is breaking through long-held barriers, as witnessed in Aceh after the Tsunami when the door opened to church planters.
As these breakthroughs happen, we will see our ministry partners' role mature into working through the indigenous churches they have planted rather than planting churches themselves-bringing our goal of church multiplication full circle.
Our primary strategy in Southeast Asia is to train and send church planters to unreached people groups. We do this though a holistic approach. Our ministry partners gain trust by living "incarnationally" in unreached communities, initiating holistic projects that help meet pressing community needs such as clean water, medical care, literacy, and education.
Typically Muslims must be exposed to a Christian witness 50 times before they will believe in Christ. Our vision is to see believers join together in house churches that are impacting their communities with the love of Christ.
Our efforts in Southeast Asia are led by our Area Director, Matt Kirkas. Matt has lived and ministered in the region for nearly 20 years, first as a tentmaker and later as a consultant to indigenous ministry organizations. Matt's role as Area Director is to identify opportunities for Partners to serve the indigenous Church and to provide pastoral care and strategic planning consulting to our partners.
We invite you to partner with us in building the Church in Southeast Asia. Develop relationships with Partners International staff doing ministry in the region and with the leaders of our indigenous partners there. Pray for the region. Sponsor A Child. Join our initiative that focuses on the needs of women. Use your professional skills. Join a short-term ministry team from your church. Financially sponsor a ministry outreach. Working together, we’ll see God build His Church in the least Christian regions of the world.