• Pray for more Christian resources to be available in the languages of the people
• Pray for peace and reconciliation for all the peoples after decades of bitter occupation
• Pray for servants who are willing to risk all to proclaim the Gospel of Christ
The Southeast Asian island nation of Timor-Leste is one of the world’s youngest, becoming an independent nation in 2002. Located just northwest of Australia, this nation’s road to freedom has been grueling and filled with sorrow. Colonized by the Portuguese during the mid 16th century and occupied for nearly 500 years, Timor-Leste declared itself free from Portugal in 1975, only to be invaded and conquered by Indonesia 9 days later. The people endured a harsh 25-year Indonesian reign, during which an estimated 100,000 Timorese died as a result of war, famine, and disease.
The population is 95% Timorese, and the official languages are Portuguese and Tetum, the latter spoken by most. In 1999, just 3 years before the Timorese gained full independence, the Indonesian military plundered and demolished 75% of the nation’s infrastructure and economy. Rebuilding the nation will likely take decades. Poor health and illiteracy are prevalent, and the average worker makes an estimated $1.20 per day.
With 87% of the population claiming Christianity as their faith practice, Timor-Leste is one of only two predominantly Catholic nations in Asia. Just 2% of the population are evangelical, and while the protestant church has seen slight growth, they are widely viewed with prejudice and suspicion. The streets are flooded with children and young people who have lost everything, and as a result they often form dangerous gangs. The physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the Timorese are great but the power of Jesus is greater, and He is able to heal, restore, and save. There is a call and great need for Gospel-equipped Christian leaders in Timor-Leste, as workers are few and Christian resources almost non-existent.
Capital City: Dili
Government: Semi-presidential republic
Major People Groups: 31% Eastern Tetum (Belu); 12% Mambai (Damata); 9% Makasai (Macassai); 7% Timorese (Vaikino); 6% Dili Tetum (Prasa)
Religion: Christian 89%, Ethnic religions 7%, Muslim 4%
Language: Tetun, Mambae, Makasae, Baikeno, Tetun Dili
GDP Per Capita: $5,600
Literacy Rate: 67.5%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 0%
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