Salar villages are traditionally comprised of a group of square, clay houses, which are each enclosed within a clay wall approximately three to four meters high. Intricately carved eaves, pillars and door frames, as well as flat roofs characterize these homes. In addition, fruit trees, flowers and vegetables are often planted inside the clay-walled courtyard.
As the sun sets behind the mountains, the crowded mini-bus jumbles along through a gorge that allows no margin for error by the driver, who is more cavalier about this dangerous terrain than his passengers. Jason begins to feel sick, but if he can just hang on through this gorge, he is almost home.
In 1933 a young American family had a home in Xunhua County of China where they ministered to the Salar people. They opened a small chapel in the main Salar town and preached the Gospel, but they saw no success among the Muslim peoples. In the decades since, little has changed in the spiritual condition of the Salar people.
“Jesus did not die on the cross! Judas did!” Such was the emphatic statement of the father of new believer Abraham* as he rejected the notion that the great prophet Jesus could die such a gruesome death. Abraham’s parents have witnessed a distinct change in their son since he began following Jesus. The change appears to be good, but as they hear their son’s beliefs they cannot reconcile the incarnation and death of Jesus with their religious heritage, so they continue to reject the truth.
For over a century, followers of Jesus have planted their lives among Chinese Muslims and proclaimed the Gospel. Yet, today there are less than 1,000 followers of Jesus among the Hui, Salar and Dongxiang, and only a few small house churches. Praise God that today men and women and families from around the world (including Chinese believers) continue to intentionally live among Chinese Muslims and proclaim the Gospel. Praise God Chinese Muslims are hearing the Gospel and some are believing.
Today in China, three people groups — the Hui, Salar, and Dongxiang — share a common characteristic distinct from the rest of China: they are Muslim. Though they trace different ancestry, speak different languages and often look like different ethnicities, they all carry the same weight of being minorities in their own country.
Moreover, these peoples also share another trait: they have been all but forgotten by the rest of society.