The Kelingi are located in the south-central part of the island of Sumatra along the Bukit Barisan Mountains. Historically, they were probably a people of coastal Borneo who expanded into Sumatra as a result of their trading and seafaring way of life. Their culture has been strongly influenced by other peoples, including the Siamese (Thai), Javanese, and Sumatrans. The Kelingi are close neighbors to the Pasemah people groups, which include the Semendau and the Lematang. There are a number of Kelingi subgroups including the Sindang. They speak Kol.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Sindang Kelingi are a rural people, living in villages of 50 to 1,000 people. Much of their homeland is covered by jungle, but Kelingi villages are located along the coasts, rivers, and roadways. Within their villages, the Kelingi build houses on stilts raised four to eight feet off the ground. Farming is the primary occupation of the Sindang Kelingi. Rubber is their main cash crop, but they also grow coffee and rice. Wet-rice plots are worked by hoeing, or by plowing with oxen or water buffalo. Planting and harvesting are usually done by either hired work groups or by the extended families. Farmers often use tractors in cultivating their crops. They set aside part of their proceeds from their harvests for several years, then buy their tractors from the government. Since most of the Sindang Kelingi people make their living from farming, they hold major ceremonies after the harvest as a celebration. These events include marriages, circumcisions, and hair cutting ceremonies. Every family in the village participates in such activities because of their strong feeling of community. Sindang Kelingi families do not usually live together as extended family units. Instead, each family tries to have its own separate home. Newlywed couples may temporarily live with their parents, but they prefer to have their own homes as soon as possible. Sindang Kelingi women wear cotton sarongs (loose skirts made of long strips of cloth wrapped around the body) with long-sleeved cotton blouses. They also wear skirts over trousers, jackets, and scarves; they do not wear veils. Men wear Western-style cotton shirts and slacks.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Sindang Kelingi are almost completely Muslim, with the remainder following traditional ethnic religions. As often happens in rural Indonesia, Islam is tainted with traditional beliefs. We know of no believers among them.
What Are Their Needs?
The Sindang Kelingi people need the chance to hear and respond to the life-changing gospel.
Pray for an abundant harvest for the Sindang Kelingi people as a testimony of God's power to care for their needs and his lovingkindness. Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Sindang Kelingi people. Pray for the Sindang Kelingi people to have a hunger for truth and righteousness that will lead them to the cross and the empty grave. Pray for a movement to Christ among the Sindang Kelingi people this decade.
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