Tetun Belu NT | Tetun Belu
The Tetun Belu people live in Indonesia, a nation that has been troubled by political and religious unrest for the last several years. Basically subsistence farmers, the Tetun Belus rely on maize, rice, sorghum, cassava and a species of palm tree (the gebang) for their livelihood. Priests and pastors use Scriptures written in the national language of Indonesian and informally translate them in their services, but this is inadequate. Indonesian has also been ineffective in evangelism— all significant work has been done using the Tetun Belu language. The people and the leadership of both the Catholic and Protestant churches are asking for the Scriptures in Tetun Belu.
News from the Field
The 300,000 Tetun Belu people are the second largest language group on the island of Timor. Christianity was introduced centuries ago, and now about 90 percent of Tetun Belus are Catholics. Yet many lack a deep understanding of the gospel without the Scriptures in their mother tongue. One translator says: “How can we tell people the Good News using high [formal, old fashioned] language? It is useless! We don’t need to use beautiful, high language if we want people to understand God’s Word.”
The Tetun Belu speakers are subsistence farmers who live in Timor Indonesia, a politically and religiously troubled nation of Southeast Asia. They are the second largest language group on the island of Timor, straddling the border between West Timor (a province of Indonesia) and the independent country of East Timor. The majority of Tetun Belu people consider themselves Christians but they’ve never had the Scriptures in their own language.