The Komering of Indonesia
Sumatra, one of the major islands of Indonesia, is home to nearly 800,000 Komering. They are located in the southeastern part of the island, in the lowland areas just east of the Barisan Mountains.
The Komering are divided into two main groups, the Komering Ilur, located around their central town of Ayuagung, and the Komering Ulu, located around the town of Baturaja. They are descendants of their neighbors, the Lampung and Batak peoples.
Before the seventh century, the island of Sumatra was controlled by the powerful Buddhist Kingdom of Sriwijaya. Later, the influence of Islam came through Indian and Malaysian traders. Today 99% of the Komering claim to be
Muslims, although animism is also prevalent. This Mulsim Animist mix has created a strong religious culture among the people.
The first language of the Komering is called Bahasa Komering, but the national language Bahasa Indonesian is taught in the schools. As many as 20,000 Komering have migrated to Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia located on the nearby island of Java.
What are their lives like?
The tropical island of Sumatra has a hot, humid climate with an average yearly temperature of about 27 degrees Celcius. The average rainfall is as much as 305 to 368 centimeters every year.
The land where the Komering live is generally flat and swampy, perfect for rice farming. The diet of most Indonesians includes rice served with meat, fish, or vegetables. The meat is usually water buffalo, beef, or chicken. Pork is never eaten since it is forbidden for Musims.
Among the Komering, the father is the head of his household and may have more than one wife. The wife is a homemaker who, together with her children, tends to the household chores. Traditional clothing is a colorful skirt, worn by both men and women, called a sarong.
Oil, coal, tin and gold are some of the riches harvested in south Sumatra. Rubber and logging are also important to the economy, therefore, there are probably many Komering who work as miners and loggers also.
Komering houses line the banks of the Komering River. These houses may only consist of a sleeping room and a large living room. The living room, which may also serve as the kitchen, usually contains a rectangular hearth filled with clay and ashes. Their houses generally stand on stilts about 1.8 meters high. Families use the space underneath for cattle stalls or chicken coops, or to store tools and firewood. The floors and walls are made of timber or flattened bamboo. The roofs are covered with with clay tiles or with thatch made out of palm leaves.
What are their beliefs?
Besides the teachings of Islam, and it's strong influence on the culture, the Komering also have strong beliefs in superstitions and spirits. These superstitions affect their lives to varied degrees. Some think that whistling indoors at night entertains demons, or that walking around on your birthday will bring bad luck. Many Komering will often write verses of the Koran and hide them in charms which they wear.
Although the Komering are regarded as being very difficult to reach, there have been some recent encouraging developments. Today, there are seven mission agencies working among them. A few Komering churches have been planted, and numerous community development projects started.
What are their needs?
The physical needs of the Komering are numerous. One third of the Komering are poor. Their houses are often in disrepair. There are very few chances for the Komering children to have a decent education. Likewise, their spiritual needs are more than obvious. Fewer than one fourth of the Komering have ever heard the Gospel, and those who have heard have been very resistant.
The demonic strongholds over the Komering are very powerful. Despite some Christian influence, they remain fervent in the Muslim faith. Political pressure also hinders the people from considering new religious practices. There is no Christian radio or television programming available in this area of Sumatra. Neither is the Bible available in the komerin language.
- Ask the Lord to call out people who are willing to share Christ with the Komering and to help meet their physical needs.
- Pray that the Komering will find protection from outside political pressures.
- Pray that teachers will be burdened for the Komering children and will band together to start schools.
- Believe God that translation of Scripture in Komering will begin.
- Christian radio and television programs are needed in the Komering language. Pray that work will begin soon on these programs and the Jesus Film.
- Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into the fields where the Komering are located.
- Ask the Lord what you can do to reach out to the Komering, and how you can learn more about them.
- Pray for Christians living near and among the Komering to be bold in sharing their faith in Jesus.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Komering
- Country: Indonesia
- Their language: komering
- Largest religion: Muslims (Shafiites)99.9%
- Christians: 0.02%
- Church members: 153
- 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: 7
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 168,400 (22%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 596,400 (78%)
- Country: Indonesia
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 113
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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