(July 2014 estimate)
Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan
For the nation of Brunei, located on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, government and religion are intermingled. A constitutional sultanate, locally known as the Malay Islamic Monarchy, rules the nation in an Islamic tradition dating back to the 15th century. Even Brunei's national flag displays the crescent moon, a common Islamic emblem that illustrates the nation's religious affiliations.
Brunei exercised power over neighboring coastal regions and nearby Philippine islands during the 15th and 17th centuries. Political succession, European colonization, and piracy disrupted domestic stability for many years. Brunei became an English colony in 1888, and nearly one hundred years later, in 1984, the nation gained independence. The monarchy of Brunei, which has been run by members of the same family for six generations, provides free healthcare for its citizens as well as education, including university studies. Rich in natural gas and petroleum, Brunei has one of Asia's highest per capita incomes. With the natural depletion of resources, Brunei is focusing on other industries for economical stability such as finance and eco-tourism.
Though only 67% of Bruneians are Muslim, it is illegal to proselytize, and Muslims are forbidden to convert from Islam. These restrictions greatly hinder missionary attempts to establish new Christian communities. Though Christianity is represented by 10% of the population, it is not recognized or affirmed in a nation where constitutional mandates supposedly allow practice of other religions. The Christian Church in Brunei is in dire need of bold Spirit-filled leaders who can rightly teach the Word of Truth and lead Christian communities in sound doctrine. Pray that the Lord would strengthen and unite Bruneian Christians as they live in a nation that strongly opposes them, being continually shod with the armor of God.
(Used with permission from www.prayercast.com/brunei.html.)
Though it is a closed nation, there are people living out faith in Jesus Christ. It is difficult but not impossible for the gospel to be spread across person to person. BIMI would like to encourage people to be in prayer for a spiritual opening in Brunei. For more information, contact the BIMI Southeast Asia Director at Southeast Asia Director