History and Background: The Shan are actually a people group cluster, made up of six smaller ethnic divisions and it is estimated that today there are more than 5 million people who call themselves “Shan” living in the Shan state of Myanmar. The Shan call themselves “The Great Tai.” More than 99% of the Shan people follow Theravada Buddhism. Sixty percent of the Shan have most likely never heard the Gospel. They do have a complete Bible, and even though there are vibrant churches in the Shan state among other ethnic groups, the Shan people remain resistant to the Gospel and proud of their history in Myanmar, which dates back to the 10th Century AD.
The Opportunity: Indigenous missionaries we partner with are living among the Shan people near the capital of the state, Taunggyi. They are making efforts to learn the Shan language. By showing a willingness to step into the Shan community (instead of calling potential believers out of the community be part of other Christian ethnic groups), they believe, over time, they can plant indigenous Shan churches among the Shan community. A Gospel booklet that introduces Christianity as a historical faith has already been translated into the Shan language.
Local missionaries believe that the Shan people are very likely to consider something in their mother tongue and that this will open doors to teach the Bible, using the already translated Shan Bible. Pray for the local indigenous missionaries as they try to build bridges into the Shan villages.
The video below shows versions of the Shan peacock dance around the 18 second mark.