The Hui

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 96:1-4

The Basics:

The Hui, made up of about 15 million people, are the largest and most widespread of China’s Muslim nationalities. They also comprise the third largest minority group in China. Remarkably, Hui live in 2,310 of China’s 2,369 counties and municipalities. Small pockets also live in Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Only .006% of them know Christ!

Their Beliefs:

To be Hui is to be Muslim – it is the core of who they are. Even if they don’t fully understand it, or even follow it the same as some other countries do, it has been hidden deep inside of them from the time they were very young. For the Hui, Islam is more than just a set of religious beliefs – it is a total way of life.

Their Culture:

The Hui are some of the most hospitable people you will ever meet. Some of this comes from just being Chinese, and the rest of it comes from just being Hui. Either way – you never want to visit the Hui on a full stomach! Many of the Hui own restaurants. You can find them in cities all over China and they serve some of the best food you will ever eat. As you walk down the street, you can often recognize the men by their prayer caps and the women by their head scarves. Hui with other Hui are like family. Even if they are strangers, you would never know.

Their Language:

Mandarin Chinese is the heart language of the Hui in both spoken and written. But the spiritual language of the Hui is a mixture of Arabic and Persian.

Their History:

The Hui are descendants of Muslim traders, soldiers and officials who came to China between the 7th and 14th centuries. They settled and intermarried with Arab Muslims and Han Chinese.

The Situation:

Although there are around 15 million Hui scattered throughout China, very few (including the Chinese church) are intentionally planting their lives among the Hui to tell them about Christ. It is estimated that every five minutes one Hui person dies. Currently, more Hui people are dying daily than are hearing the gospel. The Hui are in desperate need of more laborers to boldly proclaim the gospel and reap the harvest that God has prepared.

Hui People

%

Muslim

  • Christian .006%

“I was born this way.”

“I was born this way”

The other day, I was having a conversation with a sweet Hui friend and was reminded of Lady Gaga (bear with me). It may seem like a weird connection, mostly because it is, but it just helped me to understand something, hopefully it will help you understand a little more too.

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Caring for the Hui During a Trial

Often when we are struggling with a trial we feel the need to suppress our emotions or to “tough it out.” Granted, there is something to be said about putting things in perspective. Certain things really are not worth crying about if you can help it. However, on the other hand, the world really is broken. There is sin and suffering in the world that ought not to be. Even though the sadness a child feels after dropping an ice cream cone is not as devastating as she might think at the time, the fact remains that it is still a little bit sad, and it’s OK to say that.

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Blinded to the Truth

After sharing with several Hui friends and acquaintances here in our city, I’ve encountered an interesting, and admittedly very frustrating, phenomenon. It seems that no matter how much I try to emphasize and articulate the clear differences between salvation by faith alone in Christ and what I have just been told about Islam and good works, the response is almost always the same, “Yes, we believe the same thing.” I cringe each time I hear this…

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“Lord, My Heart is not Lifted Up”

It is common for people to feel overwhelmed. We can feel overwhelmed with huge life issues such as the death of a loved one or we can be overwhelmed with smaller issues like that quiz that you forgot that you had tomorrow morning.

Doing work among Muslims can be overwhelming sometimes. The Hui. 15 million people. Most of them have never heard the Gospel. Their huge micromanaging government, their several-thousand-year-old culture, their friends and their family all discourage them from believing in Christ.

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Christmas in Costumes

Over 7,000 miles away from where the Hui people reside, a small group of ladies wanted to take part in sharing the Good News with this unreached people group. Meanwhile, our team was anticipating a busy Christmas season, full of festive parties and opportunities to share the Good News with big groups of people. These ladies got together and utilized their gifts of sewing and creativity to play their part in this endeavor. They formed ideas, cut patterns, and worked at their sewing machines to create costumes that represented each person of the Christmas story.

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“And that’s why I know my sins are forgiven…”

“And that’s why I know my sins are forgiven.” I ended the gospel presentation. The Hui girl looked up at me. She had been very attentive as I explained the gospel. She then went on to explain her own opinion. I’ll summarize it for you:

“I don’t care.”

It wasn’t a mean-hearted apathy. It was just a content, blinded apathy. She was spiritually sick and dying and did not have any desire to seek healing.

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A Meal with the Hui

What is one thing, besides Islam, that Hui people are passionate about?

Food.

They love it. They make a big deal about it. Their holidays, celebrations, and even weddings revolve around it. My good friend spent three days cooking lamb for the wedding guests of her friend’s brother. Three days! And this was only one portion of the feast that was served at the celebration.

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How Should We Think?

The Hui are 15 million people who have no present hope. They have not heard the gospel. One Hui person dies every 5 minutes. By the time you read this article one more Hui soul will have left the world and plunged into eternal damnation with no second chances. This is heart breaking. We should feel broken for the Hui. We should have a real urgency which reflects our care for every last Hui soul. We should live sacrificially for the Hui, we should weep in prayer for the Hui and we should mourn for the Hui.

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Same, Same, But Different

Traveling in Southeast Asia, it is easy to find knock off name brands. From shoes and clothing to bags and electronics, look alike products are everywhere. Vendors insist that their products are the same as the real thing as they drive a hard sale. Customers insist that the products are in fact different as they negotiate for a good deal. This back and forth bargaining style and popularity of shopping for knock off goods has made “Same, Same, But Different” a popular slogan.

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Pray for the Hui

 

  • Pray for laborers called by God to reach the Hui – laborers from other countries as well as Chinese Christians currently living among the Hui.
  • Thank God for ongoing gospel proclamation efforts among the Hui. Pray that effective strategies can be identified and implemented to make Christ’s love known to the Hui.

  • Pray for God to tear down the barriers that keep the Hui from hearing the Good News of Jesus’ forgiveness and love.

  • Pray that Hui believers will gather together and form churches that will multiply.
  • Pray for followers of Jesus to boldly proclaim the gospel to the Hui, believing that God is at work among them.