(July 2014 estimate)
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Bahasa Melayu, English, Mandarin
Divided into two landmasses by the South China Sea, Malaysia is both physically and socially split by culture, language, and ethnicity. The diversity of the Malaysian people is both a blessing and a curse. It has aided the country in developing a cosmopolitan atmosphere that connects it with the many societies surrounding the small country, including India, China, Indonesia, and the Islamic world. However, the multiplicity of cultures and religions has prevented the development of connection between the citizens. In spite of the fractured national identity, unity is found in the continued development of one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Even in the face of financial success, piracy remains a problem within Malaysia. Even more prevalent is sex trafficking, with an entire black market based on the buying and selling of human lives for sexual exploitation, prostitution, and forced labor. Though the nation has developed a diverse and stable economy, it came with the heavy price of oppressive rule, human rights abuses, and social repression. Malaysia is situated close to the "Golden Triangle," where Burma, Thailand, and Laos produce and ship some of the world's largest amounts of opium. Though several peace accords have been signed and the majority of violence subsided in the 1990's, bitterness between the various ethnic groups of Malaysia still incites discrimination and mistreatment towards minority groups, particularly toward the indigenous Indians.
Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity can all find followers within the borders of Malaysia. Though freedom of religion is permitted and tensions between the various faiths is moderate, Christians are forbidden by the state from witnessing to Muslims. Due to the diverse languages and dialects, there is a desperate need for Bibles and instructional materials to be translated. Those same educational tools also need funding to be published and distributed to those who are in need of them. Malaysians have themselves been metaphorically trafficked by their own leaders, who have cheapened, neglected, and abused their countrymen to build and maintain their own power. But God has bought Malaysia at the highest price, and soon the people will see how valuable they are in the eyes of Christ.
(Used with permission from www.prayercast.com/malaysia.html.)
The challenges of ministry in Malaysia are very real and difficult, but not enough to silence the spread of the gospel. Christian workers have to work smartly as they try to communicate what Jesus Christ has done for them. Join BIMI in praying for more laborers to be burdened for the Malaysian people and consider how they can be possibly used by God to make a difference.