Seven Days of Prayer for the Bugis-Makassar People
Bugis People of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. There are over 3.5 million Bugis. They were converted to Islam in the early 1600's. Since that time they have become a strong, even militant, Sunni Muslim people. They celebrate Islamic feasts and fasts, though few regularly pray the prescribed five times a day. Their Islamic practices are heavily influenced by spiritism (belief in many unseen gods) and ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors).
The Makassar of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The more than 2 million Makassar live primarily in the capitol city of Ujung Pandang and the southern portion of South Sulawesi. They are known as master boat builders and sailors of great agility. Though they are one of the larger people groups in Indonesia, they are dominated politically, economically and socially, by the Bugis people. As a result, the Makassar are especially conscious of their social status.
The Bugis have successfully resisted any attempts to bring them to the Gospel for over 400 years. Just prior to World War II, South Sulawesi experienced a small spiritual awakening and there may have been as many as 10,000 Bugis Christians at that time. Unfortunately, the Japanese destroyed most of the churches and the Islamic militants killed the few remaining Christians. Today, believers are persecuted and most villages have no access to the Gospel.
There is much intermarrying between the Bugis and Makassar, especially in the capitol city of Ujung Pandang. Though the two groups have unique languages, each with several sub dialects, members living in border areas can often communicate in both. Also, the two groups have a shared history of boat building and trading. Pray that this connection between the groups can be used to more quickly reach them with the love of Jesus Christ.
Sharing God's truth via media. Every day there is a half-hour Christian radio broadcast in the local languages. Pray that these programs will gain wide listenership and they will be effective in communicating the Gospel. Other media efforts are also being utilized. The Jesus Film has been translated and a special evangelistic video, starring Makassarese actors, has been produced. Pray that these videos will be viewed by thousand of Bugis-Makassar people seeking the truth.
The problem of Scripture.  Despite several efforts to translate the Bible into Buginese and Makassarese and the recent publication of a new translation, many fear the low quality of the translations will result in them being rejected by the Bugis-Makassar people. “How is it possible for the Word of God to have grammatical mistakes,” they ask? Pray that existing translations will be improved or new translations will be prepared so God's complete and perfect word can be read in the local languages.
A land of higher-learning. There are dozens of colleges and universities in Ujung Pandang.  Most are small, but several have student bodies that number in the thousands.  The largest, Hassanuddin University, has more than 25,000 students.  Students away from family for the first time behave like their American counterparts. Some of the campuses are notorious for intercultural tensions, especially between the Islamic and Christian cultures.  
Immorality abounds. Pornography, gambling, drinking and sexual immorality are endemic in the Bugis-Makassar culture. There is little understanding that religious practice should make a difference in your daily life. Homosexuality is a major issue and is under girded by the pre-Islamic use of transsexual priests. Homosexuality in a son is often not discouraged, because the family knows that they may be able to make a good living in the traditional homosexual occupation of wedding coordinator.
Overcoming Satan's magic. At central locations in almost every town the local “dukun” (witch doctor) plies his trade. He sells rings with special powers or offers solutions for healing. They all come with a price, but the real price isn't monetary. People are willing to turn to any power, if it offers a solution to their problem. Pray that the Bugis-Makassar people will see evil for what it is and will turn to the power of the light.
Poverty abounds. It is estimated that almost a quarter of the population lives under the poverty level of $15 per month.  The worst hurt are usually the children. They can be seen begging for food and money in Ujung Pandang and other large cities. Tens of thousands of them can not attend school. Many are lucky to eat one meal each day. Medical care for the poor is almost nonexistent. The public hospitals are considered a place that you go only if you're going to die.
The land of a thousand Mosques. There are approximately 250 local mosques in Ujung Pandang and many hundreds more outside the capitol city. These mosques are the center of neighborhood life.  Prayers are held five times a day and every afternoon classes are held for school children to learn Islamic chanting and religion. Pray that prejudice and hate not to be preached or taught in the Mesjid and that God's truth to be proclaimed and the enemy's lies to be exposed.
The search for easy money. Indonesia was on the fast path to riches before the economic crisis hit Asia. Ujung Pandang was the center of economic growth for East Indonesia. Much of that economic growth has disappeared and all that is left is the system of corruption, collusion, and nepotism that sponsored it. As a result, a lazy spirit pervades the culture. Pray for God's work ethic to invade the culture and for honesty and fairness to be the center of future businesses.
Fort Rotterdam and the colonial past At the center of the capital city is Fort Rotterdam. It is a reminder of the recent colonial occupation by the Dutch. At the center of the fort is a church. For the Dutch colonizers, Christianity was not to be exported to the Indonesians because it might interrupt the very lucrative exploitation of Indonesia's natural resources. Pray for the release of bitterness against the “Christian” colonizers of the past and for healing to occur.
So many more.... There are many subgroups in the Bugis-Makassar cluster of people groups. Please remember the following groups which have little or no witness among them: Konjo, Mandar, Duri, Enrekang, Selayar, Mamuju, and Maiwa.