Unengaged Unreached People Groups
"After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb." Revelation 7:9
Praying for UUPGs in South Asia
Every year, we send multiple teams to South Asia to engage and train local believers to engage the city with the gospel. We learned this year that there are currently 69 people groups in one state alone (Karnataka) that are both unengaged and unreached with the gospel. This means there is not a single known church in that people group. More than that, these 69 people groups only include those people groups that number over 10,000 in population. This is why South Asia holds the highest concentration of lostness on earth. Without hearing and believing the gospel, each soul represented in these numbers will spend an eternity separated from Christ. What can YOU do? You can pray! The only way we will see this number go down is for the Holy Spirit to do a powerful and miraculous work, and that starts with believers on our knees.
What is a people group?
An ethno-linguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the various members. For strategic purposes it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.
Why are they unreached?
A people group is considered unreached (UPG) when there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage this people group with church planting. Technically speaking, the percentage of evangelical Christians in this people group is less than 2 percent.
Who are the unengaged?
Unreached people groups are unengaged (UUPG) when there is no church planting strategy, consistent with evangelical faith and practice, under way. Gathering believers and planting churches are the keys to establishing an effective and multiplying presence among these people groups.
October 2018 | Noorbasha
The Noorbasha (Dudekula) people group follow a folk sect of Islam called Sufism. They pray at dargahs (shrines) where saints are buried, asking for intercession and blessings through the deceased saint. The word Dudekula literally translates to "cotton cleaner" in their language, Telugu, and they have traditionally worked in the textile/clothing industry. Most Noorbasha (Dudekula) people are laborers, coming from lower castes. They are the second largest unengaged, unreached people group in South India (676,000+) and desperately need gospel witness.
November 2018 | Kalbi
The Kalbi people originate from Rajasthan, a northern state in India, and they have migrated to other parts of India, including the southern states. They speak Marwari, a language from Rajasthan very similar to Hindi and Gujarati. Traditionally they are farmers as some even say the name of their people comes from the word for “plough.” They are Hindu, and their chief deity is Anjani Mata as some even take pilgrimages to a temple where it is found. They are one of the largest unengaged, unreached people groups in South Asia with a population of almost 600,000. The Kalbi people have a long, deep-rooted religious history that can make gospel penetration seemingly impossible from a human perspective, but our God is the God of the impossible and desires salvation for the Kalbi people. Let’s pray He would do more than we can ask or imagine.
December 2018 | Agasa
The Tulu speaking Agasa people are primarily found in the state of Karnataka. They are also called “Dhobi”people which comes from the word for “washerman.” In the caste system, they are considered dalit or “untouchable.” Hindus believe your place in the caste system is a result of your past lives; if you do not do enough good works and have sinned too much, you will be reincarnated in a low caste. Because of this belief, the peoples in the “untouchable” caste are given the most demeaning jobs are discriminated against. They are considered unclean; other castes will not eat with them, touch them, or associate with them. There are 577,000 Tulu-speaking Agasa people who desperately need to hear they have been lovingly made in the image of God, and that they are worth their Creator dying and raising back to life to have a relationship with them.
January 2019 | Bania
The Bania people are one of the largest unreached people groups not just in India, but worldwide. In fact, they are the 17th largest unreached people group in the world. They number 753,500 just in the state of Karnataka alone and speak multiple languages. The word Bania comes from the word for trader or merchant. Banias generally worship the Hindu god Vishnu who they believe preserves and sustains the world. Let’s pray that the Banias hear and believe on the Son of God who the writer of Hebre ws says, “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
February 2019 | Jains
Jains follow the religion of Jainism whose goal is to achieve complete perfection and purification of the soul to receive liberation. To achieve this total purification, they follow strict religious rules. They do not eat meat or any kind of ‘root’ such as garlic, onions, or potatoes, and their monks and nuns will wear masks and sweep the path in front of them as to not inhale or step on an insect accidentally. At the end of their life, as a part of this extreme non-violent belief, Jains might even fast until death, starving themselves, in hopes of attaining complete purification. Let’s pray Galatians 5:1 that they would know this, “It is for freedom Christ has set us free.”
March 2019 | Bestha
The Bestha people have historically been known as fishermen and hunters, but these days they may also be farmers and cooks. They speak Telugu and are Hindu. Many Besthas worship the god Hanuman, the monkey god. In Karnataka alone, there are over 400,000 Bestha people, and there are no known believers. This month, pray that the Bestha people would hear and respond to the gospel, that they would be burdened for their own people, and that they would obey the Jesus’ command to be “fishers of men.”
April 2019 | Hatkar
The Hatkar people live primarily in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. They are part of the herding caste and are mainly nomadic shepherds. They are Hindu and worship a variety of gods, and since they are nomadic, they tend to be less educated and are less connected to a local community as they move place to place. Please pray that the Hatkar people would seek the good news and find the Savior, like the shepherds in Bethlehem, and like them, would share this good news with everyone they come across. Pray they would know the Good Shepherd who has laid down His life for them.
May 2019 | Bharadi
The word Bharadi comes from the word “bharad” which translates into song or dance. The bharadis have been historically asked to perform traditional dance and song at weddings or other religious ceremonies. This can include a “ghondal” dance and involve a special kind of drum, sometimes lasting hours at a time. They are Hindu and primarily speak Marathi. Please pray that the Bharadi people would exchange the object of their singing and dancing to the One true God. “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!” Psalm 149:3