Introduction / History
The Lubu are a people of mixed origin who live in central Sumatra. They mainly inhabit the mountainous regions of the various provinces of southern Batakland. The Lubu were formerly migratory peoples similar to the wild Kubu. Now, however, they are slowly being absorbed by the Batak.
In the early part of this century, the Lubu still roamed the mountains in a wild state, living mainly in tree houses. They shot game with blow guns and poisoned darts and existed on the products of the jungle. Their clothing was simple, they ate all types of meat, and they cooked in hollow bamboo.
Although they have made considerable progress since that time, the Lubu are still very tribal in their basic lifestyle. Like the Kubu, they are afraid of water and seldom wash, even though they live alongside rivers. They are generally despised and mistrusted by their Batak neighbors, who suspect them of partaking in all kinds of witchcraft.
What Are Their Lives Like?
No longer living in the trees, the Lubu now live in huts built on the ground. A group of houses forms a village (bandja), and a number of villages forms a district (kuria). The chief of the bandja is called na bodjo bodjo. All the older male members of the community (the family heads) have a voice in the village government. When a chief dies, he is succeeded by his son.
In every Lubu village there are special communal houses (tawatak) for boys and others for girls. After the age of twelve, both sexes are expected to sleep in these communal houses. Marriages usually take place when the girls turn fifteen. A small bride-price is required, but most Lubu men do not have the ability to pay it. As a result, most of them must work for up to two years for their future parents-in-law during the engagement period.
The Lubu grow rice as their staple crop. However, on the whole, they do not seem very particular in their choice of food. For special delicacies, they eat mice and bats, as well as monkeys killed with blowguns.
The musical instruments and songs of the Lubu have been adopted from the Batak. The Lubu often compose songs about their culture, and these are sung around the fires at night. Interestingly, the Lubu never dance.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Although one-fifth of the Lubu are nominally Muslim, the great majority are ethnic religionists, still practicing many of their pagan beliefs. Hosts of both good and evil spirits are honored, especially the spirit of the first tribal chief, Singa Tandang. The Lubu attribute sickness to the work of evil spirits, particularly ghosts who are said to work either externally or internally on a person. Many traditional rituals are performed at birth and puberty. Like the Alas-Kluet, Lubu girls have their teeth filed and permanently blackened before marriage.
What Are Their Needs?
It is imperative that a more detailed and specific study of the Lubu be done in order to develop church planting strategies. Medical and agricultural help would probably be a vital part of any effective ministry to the Lubu. A very small percentage of the people have been exposed to the Gospel, but there are no known Christians.
The remoteness of the Lubu has played a major role in their neglect by missionary efforts. Although they live close to the Batak (many of whom are Christian), long-standing bitterness and fear prevents the Gospel from being effectively shared. Their pagan religious beliefs, as well as the veneer of Islam, keep them in spiritual bondage. Because of their many rituals, the Lubu are unaware that they can be completely set free. Fervent intercession is the key to opening their hearts to the truth that Jesus is the only God who can deliver them.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send missionaries to live and work among the Lubu.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to save key leaders among the Lubu who will boldly proclaim the Gospel.
* 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 raised up among the Lubu.
|Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center|