Bibleless Nations

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Bibleless Nations2018-03-12T16:22:58-06:00

Bibleless Nations

Miao of China

The Miao are one of the 55 officially recognized minorities in China. With a population of 9.6 million in China alone, they form the country’s fifth largest ethnic minority. Because of past oppression and multiple migrations, they are scattered across several provinces in Southeast China, and many Hmong (a Miao sub-group) have settled in Southeast Asian and Western countries. The language family of the Miao includes 35-plus languages, only three of which have Bibles. Most [...]

Pamiri Tajiks of Central Asia

The Pamiri Tajiks live in extreme isolation on the border area of four countries: Tajikistan, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their traditional homeland is the Pamir Mountains, the world's second highest mountain range. Different sources recognize between 120,000 and 350,000 Pamiri Tajiks. This number includes several distinct sub-dialects. All of these dialects are still unwritten. Being primarily farmers, the Pamiri Tajiks raise sheep, yaks and horses. Their villages consist of small houses built of stone and [...]

Idaca of Benin, Africa

The Idaca are one of 68 distinct peoples of Benin and live in the south-central part of the country. Differing sources number them at 41,800 and 140,000. They belong to the Yoruba people cluster, one of the three African people groups from which Voodoo originated. Yams, millet, and sorghum are raised by traditional farming methods and provide the Idaca’s basic diet. This diet may be supplemented by hunting, fishing, and gathering. Most Idaca still practice [...]

Lao Phuan of Laos

The Lao Phuan people live in Laos and Thailand. They have a distinct language (Phuan) and culture. The Lao Phuan enjoyed social prominence in Laos for centuries. That changed in the 1800’s.  After several decades of war, over half of them migrated to Thailand where they live in small communities. Most Lao Phuans work in the textile industry or farming. They wear colorful pakamas (not to be confused with pajamas!) which is a sarong-like garment [...]

Amdo Tibetan

You could walk for weeks and never meet one Amdo Tibetan person who has heard the name of Jesus Christ. These nomadic people travel around the country-side with their herds of animals. They can assemble their houses in just over an hour, and work hard day in and day out to survive. They watch their herds closely, monitoring their safety, giving them food, protecting them, and giving of themselves for the good of their animals. [...]

Chenoua of Algeria

The official language of Algeria is Arabic, and the national language is Berber. However, as Algeria was a French colony for 132 years (1830-1962), French is still widely used in business and education. Algeria also has seventeen ethnic languages, one of which is Chenoua, or Chenoui. There are 81,000 speakers of Chenoua living in northwest Algeria. They are descendants of the Berbers, a North African people group who were conquered by Muslim invaders in the [...]

Kulango of Cote D’Ivoire

In the hot, dry northeastern part of Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) live the 206,000 Kulango people. Their villages consist of many extended families led by the eldest male. Ev-eryone is involved in working the family farm which provides food for the winter. The area has only one rainy season a year, and that is sometimes not enough. Their entire living depends on their crops and the harvest they bring in each year. Thus, when there [...]

Khorasani Turks of Iran

Far removed from the metropolis of Tehran, the Khorasani people have survived centuries of numerous invasions of other peoples. They have retained their culture despite the influences and governing of various Turks, Mongols, Arabs and Afghans. While farming is the main livelihood, they also produce magnificent, original rugs and tapestries. Because of their Islamic beliefs, family is an extremely significant part of their lives. Isolated for many years, schools are now being established throughout the [...]

Secilians of Sicily

Surely only the most isolated  people are without a Bible in their language. Well, that is what one might think, but it is not always the case. There is a people group of over 5 million without Scripture in their native language. A society that produced renowned artists, explorers, and scientists: the Sicilians! Once the central location of the known civilized world, Sicily was a great treasure that European, African and Persian empires desired to own. [...]

Agaria, Hindu of India

The Agaria is not only a tribe, but also a caste whose occupation is iron smelting. Their name is a reference to their iron ore kilns; historians state that it comes from either the Hindu god of fire (Agni) or their tribal demon who was born in flame (Agyasur). There are numerous  other important deities (both  tribal and Hindu),  including the supreme sun god, their ancestral god, and the iron demon, Lohasur. When there is [...]

Seba of Republic of Congo

“The just shall live by faith.” What an illumination this Scripture brought to the heart of Martin Luther, Roman Catholic monk. God’s work through His Word changed a man, a nation, and the course of church history. Perhaps God would do the same for the 247,000 Seba as they read the Word, freeing them from the darkness of Catholicism – but they have no Bible.   The Seba live in Katanga, a province in southeastern Democratic [...]

Antankarana of Madagascazr

The 144,000 Antankarana, meaning “people of the rocks,” are one of forty people groups of Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island.  Though previously ruled by the Sakalava, the Merina, and the French, they have retained their group identity. Their present leader, Ampanjaka Tsimiharo III (see picture), is a descendant of King Tsimiaro I (1812-1825), who vowed that his people would convert to Islam if they survived the Merina invasion. There is much syncretism of Islam [...]

Sentinelese of India

Hidden away from the normal trade routes of the Indian Ocean lies North Sentinel Island, a tiny tropical land all but unknown to the modern world. Within the jungle walls of this island live the Sentinelese, a people thought by many experts to be the most isolated tribe on earth. Although they are officially citizens of India, no one has ever established a lasting contact with this Stone Age tribe. Since they have a history [...]

Sanaani of Northern Yemen

The 7,600,000 (1996) Sanaani reside in the northern mountains and north-eastern deserts of Yemen, a country located on the Arabian Peninsula. This area was once ruled by the Queen of Sheba, and the roots of this proud, tribal people group stem back to pre-Islamic days.  Their language is a distinctive variety of Arabic with some unique features. Coffee, vegetables, fruit trees and grapes are grown at this high altitude. Also grown is Qat, a narcotic [...]

Xamir (Hamir) of Ethiopia

The 237,000 Xamir are of Cushitic descent and live in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia’s highlands. They are agriculturalists, growing mostly wheat and sorghum. According to the 1998 census, ninety percent of the Xamir speak their ethnic language, Xamtanga, and fifty-nine percent are monolingual. This is an unengaged people group (no one is reaching them), and there are few, if any known believers. There is a great dearth of Christian resources—no evangelical Christians or churches, [...]

Maba of Chad

The 367,000 Maba, also known as Ouaddai (pronounced Wad-aye), are the dominant people group of the Wadai Mountains in eastern Chad.  Many living in rural areas speak only their own language, Maba; but  most town-based Maba are bilingual, also speaking Chad Arabic. There are no Maba Scriptures. These are non-Arab Muslims, loyal to their local form of Islam (though elements of animism from the 16th century remain). There is official freedom of religion, but oppression [...]

The Kangri Language

Twelve people groups in India speak Kangri as their primary language. The smallest group has only eighty speakers, but the largest, the Hindu Ghirath, has 164,000. Other names for Kangri include Pahari and Dogri. Kangri is written with Hindi script, and Hindi is spoken to outsiders. A Hindi Bible is available, but Kangri speakers are still waiting for  their own scriptures. Listen to a Kangri gospel recording: Most Kangri speakers practice Hinduism, the world’s [...]

Kho of Pakistan

The Kho, natives of northern Pakistan, live isolated among the world's highest mountain peaks. The dry, rugged terrain barely supports herding and subsistence farming. Due to poor nutrition and water quality, health problems are many. Generous and hospitable, quiet and peace-loving but also brave, the Kho resent their long domination by the Pushtan. Traditional poems and songs are sung to new generations to the accompaniment of the sitar, an instrument of mulberry wood with five [...]

Zhuang of Southern China

The Gwangxi province is home to the largest minority group in China—over seventeen million Zhuang. There are two main groups, the Northern and the Southern Zhuang. While the Northerners are being assimilated into the Han Chinese culture and becoming largely atheistic, the Southerners still maintain their traditional practices of ancestor and spirit worship and their agricultural lifestyle. Although the Zhuang are friendly to outsiders, their diversity of language and culture, the mountainous terrain, and the [...]

Chaungtha of Myanmar

The hill tribe of Chaungtha, numbering 166,000, is one of one hundred forty distinct people groups of Burma. Chaungtha means people of the valley or people of the river. Their main occupation is growing rice on terraced mountainsides. Buddhism co-exists with the Chaungtha's traditional animistic ethnic religion in which the spirits (nats) must be appeased. Different nats preside over specific regions, villages, families, and activities. The official government policy is one of religious tolerance, but [...]

Hazaras of Afghanistan

Because of the Hazaras’ physical, cultural, and language features, many believe they are of Mongolian descent. They were first mentioned as a people in the late 1500’s, and their unwritten language, Hazaragi, is a dialect of Persian. Besides the 1,770,000 Hazaras of Afghanistan, there are major populations in western Pakistan and Iran as well as groups living in North America and Europe. Because the Hazaras are of the minority Shi’ite Islam sect, they have long [...]

Red Thai of Vietnam

Red Thai is one of fifty-four distinct ethnic groups in Vietnam. (Some also live in Laos.) Their name is taken from the Red River in Yunnan, a southern province of China where they originated. Thai Daeng is a tonal language spoken by 176,000 people who are without any Scriptures or Gospel recordings. The men are the leaders, but both men and women share such duties as plowing, fishing, cooking, and cleaning. The Thai Daeng are [...]

The Zuara of Libya

This small, indigenous North African tribe is one of many groups of Berbers (derivative of the Latin Barbar, meaning "barbarian").  It has remained intact in spite of seventh century Arab invasions and current lack of official recognition.  Belonging to a sect of Islam considered heretical by more orthodox Muslims, the Zaura maintain their own culture and language. The 36,000 Zuara are one of the most spiritually needy people in the world. Living in Libya, a [...]

The Western Cham of Cambodia

600,000 Cham live in elevated split-bamboo homes along the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. They are very poor, with no electricity or running water; but their diet of fish, rice, and vegetables is adequate. Champa, an ancient empire, was invaded by Vietnam in 1471. Many Cham fled to Cambodia to escape death. Then, in the late 1970's, hundreds of thousands were massacred under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. The Cham are a     very tight-knit [...]

The Dimili Kurds of Turkey

The 1,165000 Dimili Kurds live in the Caucasus Mountains. Many are isolated in small villages, accessible only by goat trails; and there is no electricity, medical facilities, or schools. The fertile valleys sustain both farms and animal herds. The Kurds are not recognized as a people group by the Turkish government and have been victims of forced resettlement and ethnic cleansing. In Turkey, even speaking Kurdish was illegal until 1991. The Dimili Kurds principle religion [...]

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