Where are the Islands?
That’s a question we can’t really answer for security reasons. Suffice to say, they’re in the Indian Ocean! They’re strongly influenced by Islam and open proclamation of the gospel invites opposition, for our missionaries, and conversion to Christianity can bring persecution for Island people. By living and working in these communities, learning local languages and understanding culture, it is possible to develop relationships through which the gospel can be shared. Bringing skills like English teaching and vocational training, lends legitimacy to our missionaries’ presence and helps the communities.
What do they believe?
Each island has its own distinctive people group, with their own language, culture and beliefs, but all practise some form of Islam, mixed with a variety of traditional animistic beliefs, occultism, ancestor worship and fear of the spirit world. Some younger people, who have studied abroad, are influenced by more fundamentalist Islam, while others are questioning their traditional beliefs and becoming more materialistic. There are few who follow Jesus.
What is being done to reach them?
TIMO (Training In Ministry Outreach) teams have lived and worked on the Islands in recent years. Now several individuals and families are continuing that pioneering work longer-term. English language classes, literacy & numeracy teaching for women, and medical work are bringing positive benefits to the Islanders. Friendships which have been formed enable missionaries to speak about Jesus, pray for people and encourage the reading of Scripture.