Brunei

4 03 2013

State of Brunei Darussalam, Asia.

Two small enclaves on the island of Borneo, separated by the East Malaysian state of Sarawak [details from Operation World].

Tropical. 70% Forest, with heavy rainfall.

People: Malay – 69.6%  Chinese – 15.6%  Other – 14.8%

Economy: One of the richest states in Asia, with free education and health care, no income tax for most and heavily subsidised housing, fuel and staple food.  Hydrocarbons account for 90% of exports, but proven deposits could be exhausted as early as 2020. Recent disasters in investment and a need for economic diversification have spurred eco-tourism and a push for self-sufficiency in rice growing.

Politics: Refused to join the Malaysian Federation in 1963. A Protectorate of Britain until full independence in 1983.

The Sultan of Brunei: Hassanal Bolkiah is the current Sultan, and he rules as an Absolute Monarch, maintaining the tradition of a Muslim monarchy that dates back to the 15th century. A legislative council is appointed by the Sultan.  Wikipedia says:

“The Sultan has one of the world’s largest and most expensive car collections, numbering in the thousands. Some brands, including Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, make new cars exclusively for the Sultan that are not sold or advertised to the public. The Sultan’s involvement in the sports includes playing Pologolfbadminton. He also enjoys race car driving, piloting helicopters and aircraft. He is also very fond of gold as he has a Rolls-Royce coated with 24k gold.”

Religion: Islam is the State Religion. Constitutional guarantees for the free practice of other religions are not always adhered to.

Muslim      65.31%

Christian   11.39%

Buddhist    8.9%

Ethnoreligionist 6.6%

Chinese      5.3%

Non religious  1.5%

Hindu        0.73%

Baha’i        0.24%

Other          0.03%

Prayer Points:

1. “Islam dominates life in Brunei, with a brand that is conservative, but not radical.  Islamization by financial and career inducements as well as by general pressure to convert or conform has yielded a slow but steady trickle of converts from among the tribal and Chinese minorities.  Despite constitutional guaranteed religious freedom, it is illegal to proselytize and illegal for a Muslim to convert to another religion. Other religions are often infiltrated by government agents for monitoring purposes. Pray for an atmosphere of religious freedom and spiritual openness and for the observance of the constitutional right for other religions to be practiced. ”

2. The Sultan is alleged to be the world’s second wealthiest royal. The Sultan is reluctant to diversify the economy and liberalise the government structures, believing that the external influences might destabilise the country. Yet, he has established a world class university and is working toward a smooth handover to the crown prince.  Pray for conversions to Christ in the large royal family; the Sultan has shown evidence of becoming increasingly spiritual. Pray also that in following him, the Sultan’s subjects might seek after spiritual truth and in doing so find Jesus.

3. The Christian Church exists under very difficult conditions. Evangelism is illegal, and although the number of Christians grows, no new registrations for churches are forthcoming. No foreign Christian workers are permitted – visiting ministers must arrive unannounced and in secret.  Importing Bibles and Christian literature is illegal for ministry purposes, but not for personal purposes.  Religious instruction in all schools, including the six Christian schools, is on Islam alone.

Pray for (a) Perseverance, boldness and unity among local Christians, (b) Christian leadership: all are ‘lay’ leaders, most with little training, (c)  Numerical growth to continue, despite restrictions.

4. Mission groups are praying for an opening for the work of the Kingdom of God. Pray for creative ‘means’ to be given.

5. The unreached: The Malay majority, the Chinese, Tribal peoples, and the expatriate workforce who ‘will inevitably grow’. Pray that this potential inroad may prove fruitful and the Word of Christ Jesus, and his freedom, may come to the people of Brunei.

Brunei 1 Brunei 2

 

Royals - The Sultan Spectacular Buiding

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