Day 4: UPGs

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! Psalm 96:3 ESV

Key Terms

People Group: A group of people that has a shared ethnic, linguistic, and religious heritage. The Bible uses the words nations and peoples when speaking of people groups. As mentioned in yesterday’s definition of the “nations,” it’s important not to confuse nations or people groups with modern-day countries and defined political and geographical boundaries. It is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread without significant barriers to understanding.

Unreached People Group (UPG): An unreached people group is one where there is no indigenous community of believers who have the resources and numbers required to evangelize their people group.

Unengaged, Unreached People Group (UUPG): A people group is unengaged when no evangelical church planting strategy is being implemented among them.

Tibetan Buddhist People Groups

The Bible is one big story of how God is drawing people groups throughout the world back to Himself through Jesus.

Now imagine living your entire life and never hearing the name of Jesus. This is the current reality for an estimated 3 billion people in the world today. This is true not just for individuals, but for entire groups of people. It is estimated that there are over 40% of the earth’s people groups who have yet to hear of the love of God offered through Jesus Christ.

Of the Himalaya’s 250 people groups, 239 remain unreached with the gospel.

Of these remaining 239, we are targeting 23 Tibetan Buddhist people groups and 474,680 people belong to these 23 unreached Tibetan Buddhist people groups. NONE of these people groups have been reached with the gospel.

How can dozens of entire groups of people not have access to the gospel? For one thing it is very hard to get to them.

The Himalayas represent a geographical barrier to the gospel. 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world are in there. To reach the villages you have to take a vehicle as far as the road goes and then trek long distances through incredibly difficult terrain.

These mountains are also the birthplace of both Buddhism and Hinduism. These areas have remained a very dark, spiritual stronghold for countless generations. The hearts of the people in these areas are very closed to the gospel. Despite the geographical and spiritual difficulties, we are determined to see these people groups counted among those that are reached.

As God’s people, we have a strategic role to play in seeing God’s purpose realized. The purpose of the people of God is to enjoy God’s grace in a relationship with Him and to extend God’s glory to the ends of the earth.

MUGOM UPG

One of the 23 UPGs in the Himalayas

The villages of the Mugom people are some of the most remote of any Buddhist group in the world. The Mugom people live in the Karan Valley, which is flanked by 5,800m / 19,000ft high mountains on either side. To reach this valley, people need to trek great distances and cross high mountain passes, as there are no roads into this area. Some Mugom people are traders, but most are subsistence farmers. The Mugom people live in unique 3-storey homes. The first floor is for livestock. The second floor is for storing their grain and salt. The third floor is their living space, which consists of a large room which functions as the living area and kitchen.

The Mugom people are Tibetan Buddhist; however, unlike typical Buddhist monks, the priests of the Mugom people are married farmers. The Mugom people worship the God “Chomdendae” which is a 4-legged creature holding a flower and a prayer rosary.

There are 5-10 known Mugom believers, and only 8% of Mugom people have even heard the name of Jesus. Recently, more Christian outreach into this area has begun.

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that more witnesses would come to the Mugom villages and that more Gospel resources would be made available in their language. Pray also for opportunities for the Mugom people to be set free from the delusions of spirit worship and the false hope of idols.
  2. Pray for our new missionary couple, Joe and Julie Mason, who are preparing to go serve full-time in this area of the world. Before arriving in September, their first and only task is to build a team of spiritual and financial partners. Please pray for this specifically.

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