Naru in China

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2022
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Naru
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 15,000
World Population: 15,000
Primary Language: Language unknown
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Naru claim they originated in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces in eastern China in ancient times. They were probably Chinese soldiers who were sent to patrol northern Yunnan Province. Over the centuries the descendants of the original soldiers intermarried with local Yi tribeswomen and gradually developed into a distinct ethnic group. One source claims, "The Naru are certain to have once been the same people as the Naruo with whom they now have only mild cultural and linguistic differences."

The Naru have been officially included under the Yi nationality in China, even though they retain a separate ethnicity and history from other Yi groups. The Naru are called Shuitian (Watery Fields People) by the Chinese. This name, used by the Chinese for several small Yi groups, is not used by any of the groups to describe themselves.

What Are Their Lives Like?

When a Naru couple decides to get married, they tell their parents who then arrange for a meeting. Both sets of families come together and "engage in a whiskey drinking ceremony after which they playfully argue about the amount of gifts to be given and received until a compromise is reached. Rice whiskey also plays an important role in the actual wedding. If all the guests don't drink in agreement, then the couple cannot be considered married. Naru weddings are usually very festive and expensive occasions participated in by some 200 guests."

What Are Their Beliefs?

The center of a Naru home is the kitchen fire-pit. "A day of grazing goats, cows and mules and working the corn, rice or tobacco fields climaxes around the lapping flames of the family fire-pit as the smoke wends its way through the open rafters. While gazing into the flames, all smoke their tobacco bongs or long-pipes and engage in story-telling and laughter." The Naru worship a spirit that they believe actually resides in the fire-pit. They also worship their ancestors and experience more Daoist and Buddhist influence than most other Yi groups. This is possibly due to their origins as Chinese soldiers.

The remote mountains of Yongsheng and Huaping counties have been formidable barriers to the introduction of the gospel into the area. Before the 1960s there were few roads in the region. As a result, no long-term missionary work was ever undertaken in this part of China. Today the Naru are an unreached people group with no church or believers.

What Are Their Needs?

Without the guidance of Christ, these people are like sheep without a shepherd. They need the good shepherd in their families and communities.

Prayer Points

Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders to happen among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project