Image: Students in Mentawai Islands

We recently received a message from our contacts that 39 Christians in Mentawai Islands, a region located off the seashore of West Sumatra, have recently converted to Islam after they were given second-hand clothes and money. There are others like them, who also converted over a box of instant noodles and money. “But I don’t blame them. They need to eat. It’s us, what have we done to strengthen our sheep so they can stand faithful against such temptations?” says our partner on the island.

Most residents in Mentawai are poor and Islamic boarding schools in East and West Java have been intensely sending preachers for the past decades to convert the Christian population using various methods. The two most effective ways are through monetary gifts (like the above) and education.

Christian parents will be offered the opportunity to send their children to good boarding schools, either for free and at subsidize rates. These parents, tempted to give a better future for their children, would grab such opportunity without realizing that their children will be taught Islam and converted. Upon graduation, these children are then sent back to get even more Christian children.

Therefore, pray for God to give wisdom to the local church on how to deal with such challenges. Pray as we have worked to build network and cooperation with mission workers in order to strengthen what remains and about to die in the remote islands. Pray 1 Peter 5:8-9 over them that they will be alert and sober mind to resist him and stand firm in the faith.