Prayer Profile
The Pubian of Indonesia

[IMAGE] The Pubian (also known as the Lampung) inhabit Indonesia's Lampung province, which is located on the southern tip of the island of Sumatra. The name "Lampung" is a collective term used to describe all of the people groups of that area. However, there are actually a number of very different ethnic groups who live there.

The scattered Pubian settlements represent the former population of the eastern lowland region. For centuries, the Pubian lived in fear of the Abung, a nearby tribe of headhunters. Today, however, they are well adapted to the peoples and customs of the area. A small territory in the central Lampung region has become their permanent home.

Over the past twenty years, the Indonesian government has forcibly relocated three million Javanese into southern Sumatra. As large numbers of eastern Javanese have settled in the Lampung plains, the Pubian and their neighbors have experienced much bitterness and unrest.

What are their lives like?
Each permanent Pubian settlement consists of a genealogical adat (traditional law) community, in which each extended family (clan) has its own house. These villages may contain as many as 3,000 individuals, with up to 100 clan households. Usually only a few people, such as the elderly, live in the clan homes. A village may also have several "seasonal" settlements in which working adults and children live. They will live in the seasonal settlements until all the suitable virgin forest in the vicinity has been used.

The Pubian typically live in houses that are built on poles or stilts. These houses center around one municipal building called a sesat. The sesat is a one-room house that has been divided into small rooms. The village government holds its meetings in the sesat. The village council, which consists of the clan chiefs, oversees the village and settles any disputes that may occur. Each village also has a "festival house," where the whole community participates in initiation rites.

The Pubian in the Lampung region are primarily dry rice farmers. The rice is cultivated on clearings made by burning the vegetation. Usually after one harvest of rice, the land is planted with pepper. For centuries, this kind of pepper cultivation has served as a cash crop for the Pubian. It has also provided an economic base for the celebration of their "tribal feasts," which are often very expensive. Fishing is important in the swampy areas, where dry rice cannot be grown. Domestic animals include water buffalo, cattle, goats, poultry, and ducks.

Within the territory of a tribe, any member may clear the virgin land. All cultivated areas, pepper gardens, clan houses, and villages are the property of the clans. Rules of ownership are determined according to traditional law.

What are their beliefs?
As a result of the islanders trading with Muslims, Islam edged its way into Sumatra by the end of the thirteenth century. Islamic influence slowly weakened the Pubian culture, and local chiefs eventually lost their titles and power. Finally, Islamic laws began to be incorporated into their society.

By the nineteenth century, the Pubian were directly controlled by the Dutch colonial government. Today, virtually all of the Pubian are Shafi'ite Muslim.

What are their needs?
Because of the Indonesian government's unfavorable migration policy, many of the Pubian feel mistreated and have become very resentful. This bitterness has led to periods of civil unrest and conflicts with the Javanese newcomers. Tragically, the main source of an evangelical witness to the Pubian is the Javanese Christians.

At the present time, there are no Christian broadcasts available in the Pubian language and the Bible has not yet been translated into their dialect. Although one missions agency is currently targeting the 570,000 Pubian, there are still less than 60 known believers. A majority of the Pubian have not yet heard a clear presentation of the Gospel message. Additional laborers, Christian resources, and increased prayer efforts are necessary to see these people effectively reached for Christ.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that the Jesus film and Christian radio broadcasts will soon be available in the Pubian language.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up loving Javanese Christians to share the Gospel with the Pubian.
  • Ask God to use the small number of Pubian Christians to share the love of Jesus with their friends and families.
  • Pray that God will raise up qualified linguists to translate the Bible into the Pubian language.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Pubian bound.
  • Ask the Lord to call forth teams of intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for the Pubian.
  • Pray that the Lord Jesus will begin revealing Himself to the Pubian through dreams and visions.
  • Pray that God will raise up strong local churches among the Pubian by the year 2000.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Pubian
  • Country: Indonesia
  • Their language: Pubian
  • Population: (1990) 526,500
    (1995) 569,100
    (2000) 612,700
  • Largest religion: Muslim (Shafiite) 99%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 57
  • Scriptures in their own language: None
  • Jesus Film in their own language: None
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 0
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 79,700 (14%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 17,100 (3%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 62,600 (11%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 489,400 (86%)
  • Country: Indonesia
  • Population: (1990) 182,811,600
    (1995) 197,587,700
    (2000) 212,730,600
  • Major peoples in size order: Javanese 26.2%
    Javanese Indonesian 10.7%
    Sudanese 10.6%
    Madurese 10.7%
    Sudanese Indonesian 3.1%
    Han Chinese 2.6%
  • Major religions: Muslims 43.7%
    New-Religionists 35%
    Christians 13%
    Ethnic religionists 2.6%
    Hindus 1.9%
    Nonreligious 1.9%
    Buddists 1.0%
  • Number of denominations: 113

© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center

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