Reaching the Unreached

In EAST ASIa

This past summer, Redeemer sent two short-term missions teams that were engaged in cross-cultural ministry with the Nosu, an unreached people group in East Asia.

 

Identity

The Nosu are a humble, generous, and beautiful ethnic group from East Asia. The self-originated Nosu name translates to 'black humans'. Though classified as a subgroup of the Yi, their languages are not typically intelligible with other Yi languages and most Nosu identify themselves as a separate people from other Yi subgroups. Many live in the mountains where they labor as farmers and practice ethnic religions.

Chinese scholars have reported that "more than 100 patriarchal clans exist in the Daliangshan area alone....independent of each other and with their own area of jurisdiction."

 

History

Nosu history is one of violence and interclan warfare. For centuries the Nosu raided villages and took slaves, forcing them to do manual labor.

The Nosu region was the last to fall under Communist rule, earning the Nosu the nickname, "Iron Peas."

Since the collapse of the slave system, the class structure among the Nosu has weakened. Today even former slaves "tease and mock the Nosu ... who are mockingly called princes and princesses."

 

Religion

Nosu religion is a combination of ancestor worship and animism. There are religious professionals or shamans called Bimos who guide the spiritual life. It is believed that they serve as a bridge between people and spirits.

The Nosu live in profound fear and oppression from the spirit world, and it is believed that Bimos can control peoples’ access to health and wealth through their supernatural intervention. Ancestors are also the source of disaster, fortune, prosperity, and disease and thus ceremonies are often required to propitiate the ancestors.

Worship involves a complicated system that incorporates nature worship, spirit worship, and belief in ghosts. They believe that gods are primarily spirits of the natural world such as beings of heaven, earth, mountains, bodies of water, rain, cliffs, etc. Black magic and sacrifices are an essential part of these rituals to regain the favor of the gods.

There are many extensive layers, and rituals that must be performed, but ultimately the Nosu lives and culture operate around these religious beliefs and fears that hold them captive

 
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Christianity

There are at least 6 different cultural groups within the Nosu people. These groups don't frequently interact with one other despite being in close proximity. Mission work has been started in some of these people groups. However, there remain few believers (less than 1.5%) among the Nosu.

In some of these cultural groups, there does not exist a single known believer or missionary. The widespread geographic area and mountainous terrain has hindered efforts to see a strong church planted within their midst. A New Testament translation exists in their language but the Old testament is still in the process of being translated.

 

Partner in Prayer

 
 

Pray that the spiritual blindness, which binds the Nosu people, will be lifted and that they will see the grace of God that alone brings salvation and eternal life. Pray that God will make his power, glory, and love known to every Nosu.

Titus 2:11 // Jeremiah 16:21

Pray that Satan’s work will be destroyed, that practitioners of traditional Nosu religion will lose their influence, and that God’s kingdom will be firmly established throughout Nosu Communities.

1 John 3:8

 
 
 

God’s favor is a shield about His people. Pray that God will spread His protection over Nosu believers and mission workers, making them victorious over the schemes of Satan and helping the government not inhibit their work among the Nosu.

Psalm 91:4

Pray that God will enable workers studying Chinese and Nosu language to acquire fluency so that they can communicate the good news of salvation and the peace with God that comes through Jesus Christ. Pray for a rapid and accurate translation of the Old Testament.

Nahum 1:15

 
 
 

Pray that Nosu believers will hold fast to sound teaching which can nurture their faith, empower their testimony, and inspire their love. Pray that Nosu believers will have an urgency to share the gospel with their villages and people.

2 Timothy 1:13

Ask God to create a spiritual thirst in the Nosu and guide them to know that their thirst can only be satisfied by belief in Jesus who is the living water. Ask God if there is a way He wants you to get involved. Student sponsorship, donating books to a local Christian library, continued prayers or even a trip to China, are just some of many ways that God could be calling you towards these people.

Revelation 21:6-7 // Galatians 5:13