It is often stated that Hui can be found in every county across China. It is debatable whether or not that is true, but Hui do stretch all the way across China from the far northwest of Xinjiang to the far southeast on the beautiful island of Hainan. China is not known for its beaches, but Hainan Island has beautiful vacation spots and a few Hui. About ten thousand Hui call Sanya, the southern city on the island, their home year around, and during the winter months when temperatures drop below freezing in the northwest another 50,000+ Hui travel to Sanya to escape the cold winters of their hometowns.
Muslims are very particular about where they stay and what they eat because they believe that everything must be halal or “qingzhen” (clean and pure). Therefore, in Sanya you do not find the Hui scattered across the nice big resorts along the beaches. Instead, they all rent rooms in the Huihui district of the city.
Traveling into the Huihui district reveals a small unengaged, unreached people group (UUPG) of about 10,000 people known locally as the Huihui. The Joshua Project classifies them as the Utsat people, but they do not know this name. The Huihui identify themselves as part of the Hui minority group in China as the government has classified them. However, they realize they are different. They have slightly different facial features and skin color and look more Malaysian than Chinese. In fact, they trace their ancestry back to Malaysia, Cambodia and/or Vietnam. It is believed that they traveled from one of these countries back in the 18th or 19th century.
Today, the Huihui continue to have their own language that they simply refer to as the Hui dialect of Hainan Island. Most of them also fluently speak Mandarin and many have studied Arabic. For generations the Huihui were simply poor fisherman and farmers but today thanks to the thriving tourism industry their lives are improving. Many have demolished their single family dwellings and built large six story guesthouses on top of their small plots of land for Hui tourists. These guesthouses all have an Arabic greeting over the door and a community sitting area on the first floor. Guests rent rooms for 2-3 months during the winter. Huihui also work in halal or “qingzhen” restaurants in the Huihui district. Women often sell tourist trinkets like seashell jewelry or pearl necklaces along the beach and inside the Huihui quarter.
There are no known believers among the Huihui and currently no one has an intentional plan for sharing the Gospel among the Huihui. About four years ago, God laid a passion for the Huihui on the hearts of several individuals. These believers began meeting regularly to pray for the Huihui. God has given them a passion for the Huihui and a desire to see the Gospel proclaimed among them.
During a typical January day in Sanya, there are probably at least 70,000 Chinese Muslims packed into two small districts. There are about 10,000 local Huihui, 10,000 local Hui and another 50,000+ Hui tourists all who need to hear the Gospel.
- Please pray that God will raise up a church or churches to adopt the Huihui of Sanya and to begin praying for them and engaging them with the Gospel.
- Please pray that God will send workers into his harvest among the Huihui and Hui of Hainan Island.
- Please pray that God will open eyes to see and hears to hear among the Huihui of Hainan Island.