In the early part of the 20th century, the Lubu still roamed the mountains, 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 many kinds of witchcraft. 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. Today they are slowly being absorbed by the Batak.
In recent years the Lubu have settled down and become rice farmers. They now live in huts built on the ground. A group of houses forms a village, and a number of villages forms a district. 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 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. 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, but they love singing and music.
Though they are officially Muslim, they honor a host of both good and evil spirits, especially the spirit of the first tribal chief, Singa Tandang. The Lubu attribute sickness to the work of evil spirits, particularly ghosts whom they believe work either inside or outside 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.
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 Christian believers. 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 animistic 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.
Pray for peace between the Lubu and the Bataks so there can be outreach to them by these near neighbors. Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Lubu people into the loving arms of Jesus Christ. Pray for the Lord to establish his church among the Lubu people this decade. Pray for the Lord to provide an abundant harvest of crops this season as a testimony of his lovingkindness and power.
Scripture Prayers for the Lubu in Indonesia.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|Global Prayer Digest: 2020-12-21|
|National Bible Society||Website|
|Persecution Rank||33 (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)|
|Location in Country||Sumatra, Sumatera Utara Province, southern end, Kotanopan area. Source: Ethnologue 2016|
Primary Language: Lubu
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
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|World Bible Finder|
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|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Lubu||Jesus Film Project|