Taking the Word to the World's Largest Muslim Nation
by TTB International Director, Gregg Harris
Which country has the largest Muslim population? Many would answer by naming a country in the Middle East such as Egypt, Turkey, or Iran. Perhaps it would surprise you to learn that the countries with the largest number of Muslims are located in Asia. Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh all have Islamic populations numbering well over 100 million.
But it is Indonesia that has more Muslim citizens than any country on earth, with more than 200 million followers of Islam. For this reason, we broadcast Thru the Bible in four major languages to Indonesia: Indonesian, Sundanese, Javanese, and Madurese.
I’ve spoken to a number of Christian leaders who attest to TTB’s effectiveness as an outreach tool to Muslims. Followers of Islam recognize the Bible as a sacred text, although many regard our current Bible as corrupted and therefore subject to skepticism. TTB’s systematic and balanced presentation of the Bible often is very interesting to those of other religions who have misconceptions about what the Bible actually says. We often hear from Muslims who begin listening out of curiosity, then get hooked on the program, and eventually find salvation in Christ!
While Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, the respected missionary publication Operation World reports that Christians number more than 36 million. Our broadcasts have a strategic and powerfully leveraged effect in a country like Indonesia. When Christians listen to our programs, they not only are strengthened in their faith, but they are also equipped to reach out to others.
A woman named Ruth wrote to us to share how she uses our Indonesian broadcasts to share the gospel with those around her: “I built a shop in front of my house so that I could be close to my community. By having a shop, I can put a radio in it so other people can enjoy listening to TTB.” Believers like Ruth face many challenges and opposition to their faith, and Thru the Bible plays a vital role in giving them the strength to carry on as they seek to reach their neighbors for Christ. She went on to write, “I am serving the Lord alone in a difficult area. By listening to TTB I regain new strength from God!”
A gentleman who listens to TTB in Madurese leads a small group in his church. He shared this testimony: “I do not have a theological education, but TTB’s Madurese radio program made me understand and know more about the Word of God. Through this program, I have become stronger in facing any challenges and pressures towards believers in our society.”
Our Madurese producer, Nur Wadik, explains that it is very challenging to reach his people with the gospel. He tells us that the TTB listeners exist amidst many difficulties and suffer opposition because there are so few Christians. But TTB gives them the equipping and encouragement they need to persevere.
Approximately 50 million people in Indonesia speak Sundanese. There are not many Christians, yet TTB’s broadcasts are penetrating deep into these difficult areas. One man who lives in a remote village on the slope of Malabar Mountain wrote to tell us, “TTB helps my faith grow in surroundings such as this.” As with many other listeners, he finds that TTB is a tool for him to reach out to his neighbors. He says, “It is not just me and my wife who are blessed; our neighbors get blessing. They are my unbelieving brothers, but they are willing to listen to this program!”
It is so encouraging to see how God is using His Word to touch so many lives in the midst of the world’s largest Muslim population! Together, we are touching millions of souls with the hope found only in Jesus Christ!