Timor is an island located at the eastern end of Indonesia. It is divided into East Timor (formerly known as Portuguese Timor) and West Timor (formerly called Dutch Timor). East Timor is an independent nation. West Timor is part of the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara which also includes a number other islands near Timor. The rocky, rugged mountains of Timor are covered with broadleaf forests. Arid winds from northern Australia prolong the dry season and cause food and water shortages. After the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789, William Bligh and the crewmembers who were set adrift with him sailed their small boat to Timor.
Some of the major people groups of Timor are traditional enemies. Social differences are also accentuated in the region by the contrasting remnants of Dutch and Portuguese culture from the colonial era, including both Protestant and Catholic varieties of Christianity, along with a current influx of other major religions. The major language of West Timor is Indonesian. In East Timor, most people speak Tetum or Portuguese. It is impossible to generalize about the nature of the Timor region. There are some cities, but much of the population is spread across the country in language communities where people seek a living as small scale farmers or fishermen.
Roughly three million people are scattered throughout the rugged mountains and small islands of the Timor region where at least 76 different languages are spoken. Most of these groups do not yet have a single verse of Scripture in their language.
Both missionaries and national believers are working hard to bring God’s Word to these people in their heart language. However, facilities are inadequate. The Timor Translation Center in West Timor is bursting at the seams with national teams being trained to translate the Bible into these languages. Wycliffe Associates is currently working on construction to double the size of this vital facility to provide adequate space for the teams to do this important work. You can help support this project with your gifts, your prayers, and your time by participating in a Christian missions trip.