Photo Essay – Sumatra, Indonesia

Photographs by Commnet Media

A Commnet photographer visits Southeast Asia. Read about his visit, then scroll down for a few telling images.

Known in ancient times as Swarnabhumi, “Land of Gold,” Sumatra has a wealth of history and is rich in tradition. It is the largest island that is entirely Indonesian and hosts a Muslim-majority population. I traveled there to this creative-access location to gather advocacy resources.

Stepping off the plane in Sumatra, my brain-to-eyeball connection briefly short-circuited. All of the signs I saw used Roman characters, but the combinations were entirely unfamiliar. Soon I would be mangling Indonesian words from both inexperience and tonal rules.

Despite my language failings, my enthusiasm to discover more of how the Lord is at work in Sumatra was matched by the enthusiasm of my host family. In the days that followed, I found a tension between the bold advance of the gospel and the desperate spiritual needs that still exist.

Enjoy these cultural excerpts from Sumatra and get in touch with Pioneers to see how you can be part of the next chapter!

Men in knitted caps

Variations of the knitted caps above may be known as a topi, taqiyah, sindhi or salat. Which one depends on your location in Southeast Asia. In English, a prayer cap. Some Muslim men wear the cap not just to pray but to be mustahabb, or commendable.

Sumatran street vendor at night

Mobile vendors are a mainstay of small businesses in Sumatra. From water to watches, locks to lunch, you can likely find it on a street cart.

Salak fruit

Salak, or snakefruit look much like an armored strawberry. Sweet and acidic in taste, salak has a firm, apple-like texture.

Smiling man on motorcycle braves traffic in Sumatra

The World Health Organization indicates that 61% of road deaths in Indonesia are riders of 2-3-wheeled vehicles. Pedestrians also account for a shockingly high percentage of road deaths at 15%.

Sumatra kids with soccer ball Though badminton is Indonesia’s most successful sport, football (soccer) is arguably the most popular. Indonesians play it at all levels from the streets to world cup stadiums.

Agung An-Nur Riau mosque in Sumatra

Known as Riau’s Taj Mahal, the Agung An-Nur Riau mosque was designed by Ir. Roseno and also features calligraphic art created by Azhari Nur in 1970.

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