The Kaur of Indonesia
The 54,600 Kaur live along the extreme southwestern shores and mountain slopes of the province of Bengkulu in Indonesia. Located on Sumatra, the fourth largest island in the world, Kaur villages face westward, looking across the Indian Ocean toward Madagascar. Their district capital is the city of Bintuhan, through which the trans-Sumatran highway passes on its way to Jakarta, 12 hours away.
The Kaur speak a language that is also called Kaur, and they are sometimes referred to as orang Mulak ("Mulak people"). The three southernmost districts of the province are named after them: North, Central, and South Kaur districts. Most of the inhabitants of North Kaur are the Pasemah from the other side of the Bukit Barisan Mountains. The Pasemah began migrating among the Kaur about 75 years ago. The southernmost Kaur have mixed with the Krui, who were included in a region once administrated by officials in Bengkulu City.
What are their lives like?
The Kaur are a very tightly knit ethnic group. They work, worship, and celebrate all aspects of life as an integrated cultural family. Most of the Kaur make their living as wet-rice farmers, but many of them also grow cloves, sugar-palm, and aloe-wood trees. Other major crops include timber, peanuts, coffee, coconut, pepper, rubber, resin, rattan, sweet potatoes, and fruits.
Both river and ocean fish are major sources of revenue for the Kaur. They also raise animals such as cows, buffalo, chickens, ducks, goats, and sheep. In addition, they make wood and rattan furniture and weave an assortment of fabric and rattan goods. They are also known to make farming tools and to repair electrically and manually driven machinery. For many years, Kaur products have been sold in Lampung and Jakarta.
What are their beliefs?
There is no indication that any of the Kaur have ever accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. One reason for this is their inaccessibility before recently built roads opened the area to the outside world. Another reason is the combined religious and government-enforced opposition to Christianity.
Since the 1600's, the Kaur have been Sunni Muslims, participating in all of the standard Muslim celebrations. Most attend weekly mosque and recite prayers five times daily. However, their animistic beliefs (belief that non-human objects have spirits) are so intertwined with Islam that they are considered to be "Islamized" animists.
One evidence of this mixture of religions can be seen in the sedekah, an important communal meal held for various reasons. Sometimes it celebrates a birth or commemorates a death. Other times the sedekah is held to request rainfall or give thanks for good crops. Still other times sedekahs are used to cleanse a village of moral evil or to repel the devil or imminent danger. On all these occasions, the Koran is quoted, and prayers are said in Arabic.
As animists, the Kaur still frequent the dukun ("medicine man") during times of loss and sickness. The Kaur also perform rice ritual ceremonies designed to ensure that the "rice spirit" is properly honored. Sometimes they visit old graves regarded as sacred. At these places, they may sacrifice a goat, hoping that the ancestral spirit will grant their wishes. They fear the ma'sumai, the fierce human-like tiger that transforms itself to entice unwitting victims.
What are their needs?
The physical needs of the Kaur are many. They lack opportunities necessary for expanding their job skills. In addition, they need practical guidance to help develop their communities and land. The lack of availability of electricity and water continues to inhibit development in some areas.
Spiritually, their needs are even greater. The Kaur desperately need an understanding of the Gospel in a culturally relevant context. They also need a translation of the Jesus Film and the New Testament in their own language. Above all, the Kaur need exposure to genuine, loving Christians who are willing to live and work among them.
- Ask the Lord to send loving Christians who can share practical skills with the Kaur of Indonesia.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to give creative ideas for evangelism to the missions agencies that are targeting the Kaur.
- Pray that the Bible and the Jesus film will be translated into the Kaur language.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Kaur through dreams and visions.
- Ask God to save key leaders among the Kaur who will openly declare Jesus as Lord.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Kaur bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray that strong local churches will be planted among the Kaur by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kaur
- Country: Indonesia
- Their language: Kaur
- Largest religion:
- Christian: 0%
- Church members: 0
- 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: 2
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 4,900 (9%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 49,700 (91%)
- Country: Indonesia
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 113
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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