Banda, Eli-Elat in Indonesia

Banda, Eli-Elat
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Map Source:  West Melanesia
People Name: Banda, Eli-Elat
Country: Indonesia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 4,900
World Population: 4,900
Primary Language: Banda
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Timor
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The ten Banda islands are part of the Central Maluku Regency of Indonesia. Up until the beginning of the 19th century, the Banda islands were the world's only source of the spice nutmeg. The inhabitants of the Banda islands became Muslims through the influence of the Arab and Indian traders. These merchants came to Banda to obtain nutmeg that they exchanged for cotton cloth, metal tools, and porcelain.

The Dutch arrived in the early 17th century and took over the islands from the Portuguese. Many of the native Bandanese refused to submit to the Dutch. In 1621 thousands were killed or sent to other islands as slaves. The remaining Banda were forced to work on nutmeg plantations along with convict laborers brought in by the Dutch. In the early 19th century the British took nutmeg seeds and trees and planted them in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. The islands no longer have a monopoly of the nutmeg trade.

Where Are they Located?

The Maluku Islands are located between the Indonesian islands of Papua and Sulawesi about 2000 km east of Java. The ten Banda islands are about 150 km south of Ceram Island in the Banda Sea.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The people now living in the Banda islands are a mixture of native Bandanese and the various groups of plantation laborers placed there by the Dutch. Growing nutmeg is still a major source of income for the islands along with fishing and agriculture. The Bandanese grow rice, corn, coffee, and coconuts. Tourism is becoming a major part of the economy as the clear, warm waters of the islands are perfect for scuba diving.

The Bantanese have a rich tradition of oral poems. Stories and songs have been passed down for generations of their customs, culture, and beliefs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bandanese practice Islam combined with their folk religion. They believe that spirits of nature dominate the environment in which they live. Allah is their supreme deity, but He is remote from their daily lives. The village shaman gives them advice on how to appease evil spirit through rituals, charms, and incantations. The Bandanese live in fear of offending the evil spirits.

What Are Their Needs?

The Bandanese need to hear the good news of Isa or Jesus. They need to understand that He is more than a prophet. Only Jesus can rescue them from their fear of spirits. The Bandanese would benefit from medical and agricultural teams who could help them with their health and crops. Solar panels would allow the Bandanese to run appliances and charge cell phones.

Prayer Points

Pray the Lord sends workers to the Bandanese tell them about Jesus.
Pray the tiny group of believers would grow into many churches.
Pray that the Lord raises up pastors to lead and feed the Bandanese church.

Text Source:   Keith Carey