Land & People
Indonesia is comprised of over 13,000 islands stretching across an area as wide as the continental United States. Located on the equator in Southeast Asia, the country enjoys a mild, tropical climate. It is a land of beauty and variety: mountainous rain forests, fertile rice fields, crowded cities, and volcanoes.
The fourth-largest nation in the world, Indonesia has an estimated 250 million people. Hundreds of people groups make up the population, each bringing its own cultural traditions. While the national language is Indonesian, many people groups also use their own ethnic language, so that it is often said that Indonesia has one spoken language for every day of the year.
Six major religions are accepted in Indonesia: Protestant and Roman Catholic Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Islam. Islam makes up 87 percent of the population, making Indonesia the largest Muslim-populated country in the world.
Year Entered by BMM1952—Rev. Ernest Loong opened the field for BMM; 2016—Ben and Ashley Fairchild were appointed to reopen Indonesia
Ernest Loong was an art teacher, pastor, and a publisher of Christian materials in his home country of China. After Communism severely limited religious freedom, Loong and his family left China for Hong Kong, where he continued his literature ministry. Loong also used art as a ministry and held an exhibit in Indonesia, where he was deeply impressed with the country’s spiritual needs. In 1952, he established the first organized Baptist church in Indonesia. The Loongs returned to Hong Kong several years later, and the church continued under Indonesian leadership and started daughter churches, assisted by the Loongs’ missionary coworker Helen Jean Moose.
The Fairchilds are BMM’s first Indonesia missionaries since the 1960s. They feel led of the Lord to begin their ministry in Surabaya, the second-largest city in the nation, with an estimated nine million people in the metropolitan area. Only two Baptist churches of like faith are known of in the city. The Fairchilds will attend one of those churches while learning the language and culture before prayerfully deciding where they should plant a church.
While the door for expatriate gospel workers is open, the need is great to reach and disciple the next generation of Indonesian gospel proclaimers. Unbelievers must be evangelized, and new believers must be strengthened in the Word of God so that they are equipped and empowered to stand as a church and carry the gospel message to others in their own country. Indonesia is home to nearly 200 unreached people groups. By God’s grace, the opportunity and responsibility for reaching them can be shared with nationals.
The field of Indonesia is wide open for those with faith in the power of the gospel to work even in dark places. Currently the Fairchilds are praying for partners to join with them in Surabaya. Team members from a variety of backgrounds, occupations, skill sets, and ages are part of the vision for establishing long-term roots in the nation.
Learn more about Indonesia here.