Wunai 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: Wunai
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 13,000
World Population: 13,000
Primary Language: Bunu, Wunai
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: Yao-Mien
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Wunai are officially considered part of the Bunu branch of the Yao nationality in China. The term Bunu is a generic name and does not refer to a specific people group or language; it simply means "us people." The Wunai do not refer to themselves as Bunu but use the self-name Hm Nai, which has been transcribed Wunai by the Chinese. The Han also call them by the nickname Huayi (Flowery Shirt) Yao.

The various "Bunu" groups are believed to be the descendants of the "savage Wuling tribes" who lived about 2,000 years ago. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), agricultural skills developed among the ancestors of today's Wunai. They made "forged knives, indigo-dyed cloth and crossbow weaving machines."

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Zhuzhu Festival is a grand occasion among the Wunai. Zhuzhu means "to remember forever." The people remember and make offerings to Miluotuo who is considered the mother of their people group. The Wunai are hard workers. In the evenings, after dinner, it is customary for the males of the house to gather around the fireplace to drink and discuss the day's activities.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Wunai are worshipers of Pan Hu, who they believe to be the progenitor of their people. When a person dies, a shaman is quickly summoned to chant the "opening of the way" over the corpse. The chant helps the soul of the deceased find its way back through many obstacles and paths to the village where their ancestors have gone. The Wunai believe after dwelling there for a time the dead will be reincarnated and come back to the earth. In the past, Wunai communities were controlled by shamans, but this practice has been driven underground since the Cultural Revolution. One of the spirits Wunai shamans call up is the god of archery. At the beginning of time, the Wunai believed there were nine suns encircling the earth that inflicted great discomfort on the people and caused the waters to evaporate. The god of archery came and shot eight of the suns out of the sky with his bow.

The founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, Cameron Townsend, once stated, "The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It never needs a furlough, is never considered a foreigner." The Wunai do not have the Word of God in their language. They are an unreached people group with no known Christians in their midst.

What Are Their Needs?

The Wunai people need to put their trust and identity in the hands of the loving God of Creation who sent his son to make it possible for them to enter the Kingdom of God.

Prayer Points

Pray for the spiritual blindness and bondage to the evil one to be removed so they can understand and respond to Christ.

Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.

Pray the Wunai people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project