Bati in Indonesia

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Bati
Country: Indonesia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 5,500
World Population: 5,500
Primary Language: Bati
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Flores-Sumba-Alor
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Bati people are a Muslim indigenous group who live on the far eastern edge of Indonesia's Maluka Island. The Bati are known for their legend about a flying primate-like creature that can take small children away from their families. The legend may have come from large eagles who are able to carry off a small child. The Bati speak their own language of Bati. At the time of this writing there are no Christian resources available in Bati. Many of the Bati men have a working knowledge of Bahasa Indonesian, the national language, so they care able to carry on trade with other groups.

Indonesia gained its freedom from the Netherlands in 1949. It is the largest Muslim majority country in the world as well as the fourth largest nation by population. Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands of which 10,000 are inhabited. Indonesia has oil, natural gas and mineral assets but the average Indonesian does not benefit from the nation’s wealth.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Bati live in a tropical rain forest near the ocean. One of the primary ways Bati make money is through fishing and selling fish. Bati women are involved in cultivating rice, maize, coconuts, fruits and vegetables. The Bati sell their surplus rice and fish to buy things they cannot make for themselves like cell phones and appliances.

The Bati live near rivers and streams that give the people access to fresh water. Their homes are often on stilts to keep the house dry during periods of flooding. Village elders make judicial decisions and deal with outsiders.

The Bati marry within their group. Families and young people arrange marriages. A man can have up to four wives if he can afford them. Monogamy or marriage to one spouse is the norm. The Bati have large families; they view children as a blessing from Allah. Many children die before their tenth birthday due to lack of modern medicine. It is the sons’ responsibility to take care of their elderly parents.

The Bati are primarily an oral culture. Many women are unable to read and write. The important traditions of the Bati are passed down through poems, songs, dances and art work. The Bati live in such a remote area that few schools exist to educate their children.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bati people are officially Sunni Muslim. In addition to the spiritual bondage of Islam, there is the oppression of traditional folk religion and shamanism. The Bati’s brand of Islam is heavily influenced by their belief in natural spirits and the ghosts of their ancestors. These spirits must be appeased or they can bring disaster upon the people.

What Are Their Needs?

The new churches among the Bati need pastors and Bible teachers. Teams of believers can bring modern medicine and solar panels to the Bati. Christians can also establish schools for Bati children. The Bati need to see the love of Christ demonstrated among them in practical ways.

Prayer Points

Pray for a disciple making movement to spread throughout Bati communities in this decade.

Ask the Lord to send loving, Holy Spirit-anointed workers to the Bati.

Pray that the new Bati believers would grow in their faith and their knowledge of the Bible.

Pray that every Bati person would have the opportunity to hear the gospel in a way he or she can understand.

Text Source:   Joshua Project