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6 Unreached People Groups to Share with Children

It’s never too early to create an awareness of missions in children! Much of missions is working among ‘unreached people groups’ (ethnic groups which do not have enough believing Christians to evangelise the rest of their people group). This is usually defined as those where under 2% of the population are Christians. These groups are generally among the most marginalised and needy groups in the world, requiring assistance in many areas, such as community development, income generation, healthcare, education and literacy, as well as Bible translation, with the ultimate aim of bringing them to a knowledge of God’s salvation.

Do you know how many such groups there are in the world? Joshua Project estimates that there are still over 4,500 unreached people groups, many in the Asia-Pacific region.

Here are short introductions to 6 unreached people groups from 6 different Asian countries. The upcoming school holidays might be a good opportunity to share these with children!

For each people group, we have provided:

  • A prayer card from Joshua Project and some brief information about the ethnic group.

  • A short Youtube video to show something of the culture, lifestyle and location where the people group lives.

  • 3 prayer points.

And since most families will not be travelling during the year-end school holiday this year, perhaps the children can ‘travel’ virtually by reading more about these countries (e.g. on a website such as the Kids World Travel Guide). They can even start planning future family trips!

If you wish to find out more about supporting an unreached people group in prayer and/or financially, please contact us.

The Bisu people live in the border areas of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. They have been persecuted by neighbouring groups, and are looked down on by the majority groups where they live. They hold firmly to their own identity, wear their own distinct dress, and speak their own language. They are animists who fear evil spirits which they believe will bring suffering, sickness and disaster. The few Bisu who have become Christians face persecution within their communities. Although the New Testament has been translated, many are not able to read it. There is work ongoing to translate Bible stories into the Bisu language, and teach the people to read their own language.

Watch a video (3 mins) that shows the villages and costumes of hill tribes in North Thailand.

1. Pray for the Christian workers who are helping the Bisu people to develop ways to increase their income, read and write their own language, or in other ways.

2. Pray that the believers will be strong in their faith when they face persecution from their families and communities.

3. Pray for those who are translating scripture materials such as stories and songs into the Bisu language so that the people can hear the Word of God in their own language.

The Danau people live in remote locations in eastern Myanmar. The name Danau is derived from donake, meaning 'brave archers'. Now, they are mainly fishermen and cotton farmers. Only a few Danau people are Christians, and about 95% of them are Buddhists. In the area where they live, the Pindaya limestone caves contain more than 8,000 Buddha images which have been put there over the centuries.

Watch a video (9 mins) which shows scenes of living and working (fishing, farming, weaving) on Inle Lake in Myanmar, in the area where the Danau live.

1. Pray for more Christian workers to go to the Danau people despite the difficulties of reaching their remote locations.

2. Pray for Danau believers to be good witnesses to their families and communities, even though their numbers are small.

3. Pray for Bible stories and scripture to be translated into the Danau language so more can hear the Word of God.

The Hmong Bua, or Black Hmong, are an ethnic group within the Miao nationality in China. Many live in mountainous areas of southern China and Vietnam. Hmong Bua women's clothing features a black shirt with embroidery on the cuffs. The men wear a black or dark blue jacket without a collar. The majority of Hmong Bua are animists who worship spirits. Although the Bible has been translated, there are many dialects, and speakers of one dialect usually do not understand others. Many dialects do not have the Bible and very few of them can read their own language.

Watch a video (5.5 mins) showing scenes of a Miao village and their dancing (a bit touristy).

1. Pray for Christian workers who are working among this people group to help increase their incomes and standard of living.

2. Pray that the people will be open to hear about God’s salvation through Jesus.

3. Pray that the Bible will be translated into more dialects so that the people can hear God’s Word in their heart language, and that the people will learn to read their own language.

Most Khmer people live in Cambodia where they are the majority ethnic group. Their religion is mainly Buddhism, but elements of Hinduism and animism are mixed with the Buddhist beliefs. There are few Christians. The early Cambodian church almost disappeared in the 1970s, but now there are churches in almost all districts. However, over 11,000 villages have no church. Although the Bible has been translated into Khmer, not many are reading it.

Watch a video (6.5 mins) of scenes of village life in Cambodia.

1. Pray for the Christian workers who are living and working among the Khmer people to help them in various ways.

2. Pray that the Christians will strong in their faith when they face opposition from their families and communities.

3. Pray for the Khmer church to be passionate about reaching out to their own people.

The Luwu live in South Sulawesi and are mostly farmers who use traditional methods of subsistence farming. They are well known in the area for their houses which are decorated with complex carvings. The ancient Kingdom of Luwu is generally thought to be the oldest kingdom in South Sulawesi, dating back to the 10th century. Most Luwu are Muslim, but many animistic practices from their traditional religions influence their culture.

Watch a video (3 mins) showing village scenes from South Sulawesi.

1. Pray for Christian workers with the right skills and knowledge to help the Luwu people improve their farming methods so they can produce more.

2. Pray for open hearts among the Luwu people to read or hear the scriptures which are being translated into their language.

3. Pray for the Luwu Christians to be good witnesses among their own people.

The Sangil people live on islands in the southern Philippines, but originally came from eastern Indonesia. The Sangil language is related to a language spoken in eastern Indonesia and East Malaysia. The tribe was already Muslim long before they came to the Philippines, but the people still hold on to some traditional beliefs in spirits. They make their living by fishing, farming and boat-building.

Watch a video (7 mins) of a visit to Balut Island in southern Philippines, and watch someone eat balut (a fertilized duck egg boiled and eaten in the shell while still warm)!

1. Pray for more Christian workers to help the Sangil people find ways to increase their incomes.

2. Pray that the Sangil will have open hearts to hear God’s message.

3. Pray for safety as many make their living on the sea, and their villages are also very exposed to storms.

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