The Kulisusu of Indonesia
Indonesia is a Southeast Asian archipelago of over 13,000 islands, stretching 3000 miles along the equator. With more Muslims than any other country and with the fourth largest population in the world, Indonesia contains over 600 distinct ethnic groups. The Kulisusu of Indonesia are located in northeastern Butung Island, just southeast of the major island of Sulawesi.
Although the history of the Kulisusu remains largely unknown, it is known that they have lived in their present location for at least 400 years. Although always a small people group, they enjoyed a period of independence in the early seventeenth century until their capital town was sacked by forces from Ternate, in the Molucca Islands. It was probably around that time that Islam was introduced. Because of the continuing threat from Ternate, the Kulisusu found it best to ally themselves as a servant state under Butung, whose sultans ruled from the southern part of the island.
What Are Their Lives Like
Most Kulisusu families own small garden plots, raising crops to supply household needs. Cassava is the chief staple; corn and rice are important crops as well. Gardens and groves also produce a variety of vegetables and fruits. Surplus items are sold in local markets, although profits are usually low.
The Kulisusu are predominantly farmers; but because of their coastal location, fishing is also a daily activity for many households. Some men sail their own small vessels to trade in places as far west as Singapore, while others hire on as crew members on ocean-going cargo ships.
Government jobs are prized for their prestige, higher salaries, and employee benefits. Such jobs allow workers to attain a higher standard of living and to purchase the choicest garden plots. These earnings, plus the new money brought in by harvesting and exporting rattan (a type of palm), have created a wealthy minority, to which the agricultural majority of the Kulisusu have little hope of attaining.
The majority of the Kulisusu live on a narrow, hilly peninsula about five kilometers wide and twenty kilometers long. The population is growing rapidly. As a result, some of the Kulisusu have moved off the peninsula, to the north. This land is also valued by the Indonesian government as a site for locating migrants from the overcrowded islands of Indonesia.
The Kulisusu are an honest, hard-working people. Family ties are strong; wage labor is rare; honesty is valued; and crime is minimal or non-existent.
What Are Their Belief?
The Kulisusu are 95% Muslim. This is exhibited outwardly in various practices such as circumcision, attending mosque, and fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year. However, their beliefs in Allah and the Koran do not keep them from various shamanistic practices. (Shamanism is the belief that there is an unseen world of gods, demons, and spirits.) They depend on shamans (priests or priestesses) to cure the sick by magic, communicate with the gods, and control events. The Kulisusu hold various feasts to appease the spirits.
What Are Their Needs?
The Kulisusu are searching for economic advancement. Most families are unable to earn much money, however, because the rocky, uplifted coral land is generally not suitable for raising cash crops that are popular in other areas. Local markets are usually oversupplied with crops that can be raised, and other markets are relatively inaccessible.
In the villages, there is also a need for inexpensive medical treatment and preventive medicine. Because of travel difficulties and the high cost of medical care, the Kulisusu only make trips to seek medical attention under the direst circumstances. Transportation is primitive, and their region can only be accessed by boat; as a result, they remain very isolated.
Although they have many physical needs, the Kulisusu have even greater spiritual needs. They are bound by Islam and superstition. They are still awaiting a translation of the Bible in their own language.
- Ask God to send forth many Christian laborers to the Kulisusu.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Kulisusu through dreams and visions.
- Pray for open hearts among the Kulisusu so that they might receive the Good News of reconciliation through the cross of Jesus.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Kulisusu bound for many generations.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray for a full-time team of translators and writers to begin working on Bible translation for the Kulisusu.
- Ask God to give the Indonesian church a vision for reaching the Kulisusu.
- Pray that God will raise up a strong local church among the Kulisusu by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kulisusu
- Country: Indonesia
- Their language: Kulisusu
- Largest religion:
- Christian: <1%
- Church members: 240
- 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: 5,100 (23%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 17,000 (77%)
- Country: Indonesia
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 113
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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