The Most Isolated People Groups in Indonesia (and how to pray for them)


Indonesia consists of 787 people groups ranging from a few hundred to millions of people. Some are close to large cities and popular tourist destinations. But others are more isolated and have little contact with outsiders. There are over 17,000 islands in Indonesia so there are many isolated groups! The following people groups are just a few of the most isolated people groups Indonesia. Learn about their culture, way of life, and beliefs and pray with us for them to have a relationship with our living God.

The most isolated people groups in Indonesia

Bajau – Sea Gypsies

The Bajau people are a unique people group that live right on the seas! Many Indonesians refer to them as sea gypsies, because they spend most of their life on the water. These highly mobile maritime people live, hunt and play in the ocean. They have no citizenship and therefore have no right to education. Most of them live on the islands of the coastal districts of Sulawesi. But they can also be found in other islands of Indonesia as well as Malaysia and the Philippines.

Some Bajau live in houses built on stilts above shallow water and others are boat dwellers. They are amazing fishermen and divers. They have developed capabilities to see better and hold their breath underwater for a long time.

The Bajau are Muslims and because of their nomadic way of life they lack mosques. They have to rely shore-based and stilt house communities for places of prayer. Shamans assemble once a year for a nightly trance dancing. When an epidemic illness hits, the shamans set a boat adrift in the open sea in order to remove the illness-causing spirits from the community.

Pray Colossians 1:15-16 over the Bajau People:

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

God, we pray the Bajau people would hear the gospel and believe that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Help them understand that He created all things. We pray they would hear the story of Jesus calming the storm and see that even the waves obey Him. Lead many of the Bajau to you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Momina of Papua

Momina – The Endangered People Group

The Momina are an extremely small people group of 300. They are at risk of disappearing. This small band live nomadic lives in the lowlands of West Papua. Once they move to a new area, they burn down a portion of the rainforest to farm. When they deplete the soil, they move to a new place.
Tree stumps form the foundation of their houses and extended families live together in one home. The Momina live with no electricity, indoor plumbing or modern medicine. Children do not go to school and most of them die before the age of 10.

The Momina do not have the Bible translated in their language or any Christian resources. These tribal people believe that spirits inhabit the trees, rivers, mountains, rocks and animals. They try to appease the spirits by offering sacrifices and prayers. Each village has a shaman or witch doctor who connects the Momina to the spirit world. The Indonesian government is trying to convert these tribal people groups to Islam.

Pray Isaiah 9:2 over the Momina:

The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.

Lord, we  pray for the Momina to see the light. Shine on them Lord. Send believers to this small unreached people group to share the Good News of Jesus. We pray for the audio Bible to be translated to their language. Give them access to education and modern medicine. We pray the Momina would believe in the One True God who loves them and died for them. In Jesus name, Amen.

Bawean, Indonesia

Bawean – Island of Women

The Bawean people are an isolated people group on a small island north of the large city Surabaya, Java. There are around 60,000 people living on this small island. The other 40,000 are scattered across Indonesia and in other countries.

The Bawean believe that a man is not considered an adult until his has stepped on foreign soil. Most of the men tend to look for employment in other lands. Because of this, Bawean has been known as the “island of women.”

Their island is isolated and cut off from modern Indonesian life. 24 hour electricity just came to the island and many homes do not have indoor bathrooms. But they are very exposed to the world through family members who have travelled and worked in other places.

Originally, the Bawean held animistic beliefs, then Hinduism and Buddhism entered the island. In the 1600s, the people converted to Islam. The Bawean pride themselves in the fact that 100% of their island is Muslim.

Pray Acts 26:18 over the Bawean:

“to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’”

God, we thank you for creating the Bawean people. Thank you for their unique culture. We ask you would bring them from the dominion of Satan and they would receive forgiveness of sins in your Son. We pray for the Bawean who work in other places, that they would meet believers and hear the gospel. May they bring the gospel back to their island and would every Bawean person have an opportunity to hear. We pray you would plant many churches among them and reach them in the coming years. In Jesus name, Amen.

Masama Andio

Masama Andio – Losing their Language

The Masama Andio people are one of the smallest people groups in Indonesia. They consist of 300 people and have a language that is endangered. Most likely no one will be speaking it in 100 years. They inhabit coastal land on one of the eastern peninsulas of Sulawesi.

They are constantly having to adjust to the languages and customs of the peoples around them. This is why most of the Masama Andio rarely speak their own language.

Islam is their primary religion but they also mix pre-Islamic religion in their belief system. Their faith is in the spirit world, on a day to day basis. The Masama Andio do not have the Bible in their language.

Pray Genesis 1:27 over the Masama Andio:

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Lord, open the eyes of the Masama Andio and help them see that You created them in your image. You love so much that you sent your Son to die for them. Send more believers to disciple them and plant churches among them. Preserve their unique culture that you created. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.