At one time this was the road of riches along which the people groups of the middle ages traded. Moving out from the Middle East through the north west of China traders and solider’s sought material wealth. Commerce flourished, material wealth increased, people married and religious beliefs migrated. This mix of Arab Muslim and Han Chinese formed the Hui people; the largest and most widespread of China’s Muslim nationalities and one of the most unevangelised people’s on earth.
The Hui is comprised of around 15 million people spread throughout East Asia, predominantly in China. Of that number it is estimated that there are around 0.006% that have heard the message of Jesus and have believed. Not a small number of people are they? Yet how many of us knew they existed? I know I didn’t until I was informed by others.
Hospitality ranks high in Hui culture. Guests are often treated to food (in vast quantities I have been told). Think about this and the wonderful opportunity for sharing the gospel with Muslim people. A totally natural environment in which the topic of knowing God is bound to arise. The similarities of Jesus meeting and eating with people is striking.
Another aspect which is important to take on board is that to be Hui is to be Muslim. This does not mean that everyone is a devout Muslim in the same way that not every Thai person is a devout Buddhist. It is so central to cultural identity now that to reject Islam for any other values system, religious belief or secular philosophy comes at a cost. Alienation from family and social ostracism to name two.
But even with all of this information and the insights which are available to God’s people there is very little being done to reach this large people group. There are very few Christians intentionally living amongst the Hui people to reach them and point them to Jesus. There are very few churches, even within China, who are seeking to engage in a meaningful way with this large and important group of Muslim people.
Why do I say important you may ask? That is a good question and I hope that this is a reasonable answer. Look at the geographical location of the majority of Hui people. They live in the traditional silk road regions of northern China. They are fully aware of the customs and cultures of Islam and have natural links with central Asian Islamic nations. Perhaps it is for such a time as this that these people can travel once more along that great road of trade with an even greater message of hope (Esther 4:14).
My desire is that more of us would pray for the Hui people and to help us do that there is a great website with stories and points to pray for – http://pray4hui.com/
Also this video helpfully illustrates many of the points we have looked at – https://vimeo.com/64413913