Map Source: People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
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|South Asian Peoples
Their name, "Baloch," is shrouded in controversy. Some say it means "nomad," while others claim it is an old Persian word meaning "the cock's crest." Their history is just as mysterious. Some have traced their origins to Nimrod, son of Cush (Noah's grandson). But while some things are uncertain, we know that they first moved to the region in the twelfth century. During the Moghul period, this territory became known as "Balochistan."The various Baloch groups speak different languages, each with distinguishing characteristics. Their original homeland reaches from eastern Balochistan to southwestern Punjab, which borders India. This high, dry region was once a very populated country, watered by many flowing rivers. Today, it is a barren area of mountains and dry river valleys mixed with desert land.
It is difficult to make a living in that region, so there is a large Baloch diaspora. This diaspora includes India, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and even Turkmenistan in Central Asia. There are many other countries where the Baloch live as well.
No matter where they live, the Southern Baloch people are family oriented with a strong honor code of hospitality, mercy, honest dealings, and refuge to strangers. They pass on their heritage through songs and poetry. Education has increased in Oman since 1970, so the Baloch minority has the opportunity to enjoy a higher literacy rate than they would have in their Pakistani homeland.
Baloch people are Sunni Muslim, though less devout than the more orthodox Arabs in Oman. Baloch spirituality includes a strong undercurrent of animism (belief that non-human objects have spirits). "Freedom of worship" is stated in Omani law, but not enforced. Those who turn away from the Islamic religious system risk facing the death penalty.
The New Testament, and the JESUS Film exist in the Southern Baloch language, although opportunities to use them are limited in Muslim Oman. Baloch honor code permits hospitality and refuge; perhaps the Lord will use these circumstances to bring followers of Jesus under the roofs of Baloch Persons of Peace.
There are very few followers of Christ among the Baloch people in Oman and no known churches. Pray for workers who are filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit to go to the Baloch people.
Pray for Baloch hearts to be ready to receive the only Savior.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Baloch families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.