Imagine the loss you would experience if someone took your Bible from you. All you would have would be the Scripture portions you had memorized or heard teaching on. But what if you never had a Bible?
Sadly, this lack is the plight of 3,000 or more people groups. While we would never dream of taking someone’s Bible from them, we are quite guilty of withholding the Bible from over 380 million people. May God raise up laborers to translate His Word.
For more information on Bibleless and unreached people groups visit http://www.joshuaproject.net/
The Palaung people of Myanmar are divided into three groups, each of which has its own language. These three languages are all thriving; they are spoken in the home and markets by speakers of all ages. The Palaung live in the mountainous northern region where census taking is difficult and results uncertain. The Rumai Palaung number around 157,000; they have no Scriptures. The Shwe Palaung number about 229,000; they have no Scriptures either.
The Moor (world-wide population 4,235,100) are originally from North Africa. They are proud of their Arabic ancestry and retain its Islamic influence which varies between the terrorist Quidari and the more peaceful Jajani. Their language is Hassaniya Arabic. They have no Scripture or known missionaries.
In 711 AD, the Moor invaded and conquered Spain. They contributed so much knowledge during their several hundred year reign that Europe made great strides in education and the sciences. The Moor were driven from Spain during the Inquisition and scattered throughout North Africa and Europe. Today, they have no land of their own but live in eleven different countries.
An estimated four to five million Luri people live in the Zagros Mountains in the southwestern provinces of Iran. Making up about 7% of Iran’s population, these ancient nomads are believed to be indigenous to the area, descended from ancient Persians. History reports that Luri ancestors were the Elamites and Kassites, dating back to 3000 B.C. It was the Kassite dynasty that defeated ancient Babylonia and dominated Mesopotamia for 576 years. Could this be the fall of the Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar?
Uncontacted Tribes of the Amazon Basin
The Amazon Basin contains the largest tropical rainforest in the world, covering an area almost the size of the continental United States. Most of the basin lies within Brazil, but it also encompasses parts of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela. It is home to an estimated twenty-six million people, including isolated and even uncontacted tribes. Some have denied the existence of as yet uncontacted tribes, but it has been documented by eye witness reports and by aerial video footage.
Banjar – Indonesia
The 4,127,124 Banjar, Indonesia’s tenth largest ethnic group, makes up 1.7% of the nation’s total population. They live mainly in Southern Kalimantan. There are also over a million Banjar in Malaysia.
The official languages of the Republic of Cameroon are French and English. There are also 286 indigenous languages, one of which is Eton with an estimated 127,000 speakers. The Eton people live in the tropical rain forest of the Centre Region. They are subsistence farmers, using the slash and burn method to plant root crops (such as cassava, yam, and macabo), plantain, and groundnuts. Fishing and hunting supplement their diet. Cacao is a cash crop.
Many people assume that all people living in the Middle East are Arabic. However, this is not the case. The Azeri Turk people group, located mainly in northern Iran and eastern and western Azerbaijan, are a Turkic-speaking ethnic group. The population of this people group in these two countries is 15.5 million.
The Deaf of the World
Every country in the world has a Deaf population, and they are largely unreached. Many of them have their own culture and a sign language distinct for that country. Some deaf people live in isolation and loneliness, while others move to cities and form deaf communities.
There are actually two Englands— two English languages and two English cultures that co-exist side by side—the hearing and the Deaf. Similarly, there are two Germanies, two Frances, two Spains, two Chinas, two Indias, and two Russias. We are somewhat mindful to go and reach the first language and culture. But do we ever think about reaching the other, the Deaf?
Nasu, Panxian – China
The Panxian Nasu (pronounced Pan-sheeun Na-soo) live in southwestern China in the Guizhou, Yunnan, and Guangxi Provinces. Different sources number them anywhere from 290,000 to 383,000. They speak one of six distinct languages of the Yi people group, and there are two separate dialects of that one language. Their origin and culture are also distinct from other Yi.
Svan, Republic of Georgia
(Est. population 15,000-30,000)
Isolated and sheltered from the rest of the world by the high peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, the Svan people have preserved and carried on their ancient culture for centuries. Eastern Orthodoxy arrived around the sixth century, yet, it quickly meshed together with primal customs such as sun worship, blood feuds, and animal sacrifices. This syncretized culture still runs deep among the people.
Yemeni Arab, Yemen
There are an estimated 6,934,000 Yemeni Arabs living in the world today. These tribal people are scattered throughout 16 different countries, but the majority of them live in Yemen.
Within their social structure are four classes of people: the wealthy, the tribesmen, the merchants and craftsmen, and the slaves. These classes are very predominant and can be distinguished by the types of clothing worn.
Baka of Congo, Africa
For centuries, the Pygmies have been recognized as the oldest inhabitants of the African rainforest. Throughout the forests of Cameroon, Gabon, and Congo, there lives a group of Pygmies known as the Baka. Because they are so remote and widespread, there has been no accurate count of their population.
Aimaq, Char (Afghanistan)
The Aimaq Char of Afghanistan is a people group comprised of four different tribes: Taimani, Firozkohi, Timuri, and Jamshidi. It is estimated that 250 subtribes exist within these. The population of this group is 334,000 and 148,000 of them live in Afghanistan. Their primary language is Aimaq, but Farsi is spoken in the schools.
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.
There are an estimated 4,600,000 Domari Gypsy speakers living in thirteen middle east countries. These gypsies are distinct from the Romani gypsies of Europe. A research of their language shows that they originated in northern India. The several dialects of Domari contain Arabic words. There are no Scriptures in this language.
Pamiri Tajiks – 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.
The Lao Phuan
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.
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. It is sad to think that they don’t know about the Great Shepherd who has done the same for them. They wander aimlessly through life, trying to earn good karma so that they may be granted a better status in the life to come.
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 seventh century.
Kulango, 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 is a drought, they suffer physically.
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 province and education is becoming increasingly important.
Once the central location of the known civilized world, Sicily was a great treasure that European, African and Persian empires desired to own. Nearly 3000 years of history are on this island, roughly the size of New Jersey. There are stone ruins, temples of ancient people, monasteries, amphitheaters, and endless vineyards and olive groves. The family is at the heart of Sicilian culture. Family members often live close together, sometimes in the same housing complex, and sons and daughters usually remain at home with their parents until marriage.
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 sickness, a village sorcerer determines which deity is offended and must be appeased
Seba of the 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.
Antankarana of Madagascar
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.
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 of killing any intruder who ventures onto their white, sandy beaches, it is not known how many Sentinelese inhabit this tiny land.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Red Thai of Vietnam
The 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 Zuara of North Africa
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.
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.
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.
Gayo of Indonesia
Over 200,000 Gayo live in the mountains on the island of Sumatra. They were slaves of the Muslim Aceh people in the 1600’s and Islam is still their primary religion. However, they have little understanding of this religion and believe in both spirits and saints who must be appeased. Many religious rituals are performed, including rituals related to healing, praying, farming, and burying their dead.
Daur of China
The Daur (or “cultivator”) live in the river areas of northeast China. These areas are conducive to farming, hunting, and raising animals. The men enjoy wrestling, horseman-ship and archery. Women are skilled in intricate embroidery and the making of ornate home decorations. Traditional music and dance depict themes from life such as an eagle’s flight or picking potherb.
The 394,842 Dang Tharu of Nepal live just south of the Himalayan Mountains. They are of Mongolian descent and make their living by farming and raising livestock.
Speakers of the Marka Dafing language are manifold: 25,000 in the Mali Republic and 200,000 in Burkina Faso (located directly north of Ghana). The dialects of Marka Dafing are: Safané, Nouna, and Gassan. In Burkina Faso, these people live on the plains as agriculturalists.