Sherpa in China

Photo Source:  COMIBAM / Sepal 
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Sherpa
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,200
World Population: 190,300
Primary Language: Sherpa
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Sherpa in Tibet have been officially included as part of the Tibetan nationality. The Chinese are conducting an investigation to see if they should be classified as a distinct group. The name Sherpa means "eastern people."

All Sherpa once lived in Tibet before their descendants migrated west in the fifteenth century. "At that time, a Mongol King attempted to force them to convert to his sect of Buddhism. The people fled to the Khumbu region. A Chinese account states, "They believe themselves to be descendants of Tibetans from the Kangba region in Sichuan Province. Many, many years ago, their ancestors, returning from a pilgrimage to Buddhist temples in India and Nepal, settled down here."

What Are Their Lives Like?

To many, the name Sherpa is irretrievably linked to the mystique of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth. The first men to climb Mount Everest were New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Numerous Sherpa guides have since led foreign climbing teams up the world's highest peak. The money they earn from this has made them one of the wealthiest groups in Nepal. The Sherpa in China cremate their dead, as opposed to the Tibetans who practice wind burial. The Gyawa Festival takes place 49 days after the death of a loved one. The Sherpa eat as much food as they can during the festival, believing the food will nourish the loved one who has died.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Sherpa are Tibetan Buddhists, although "with far less piety than the Tibetans. To have ... a Buddhist statue and to recite or chant scriptures is all they do by way of religious practice."

In 1985 a Sherpa boy in Nepal had a vision where he was visited by Jesus. The boy's conversion was followed by the gradual conversion of his extended family and several families in his village. The boy later went to Bible school and returned to pastor the local church in his village. There are reported to be a few dozen Christian Sherpas around the Mt. Everest region in Nepal. Despite this wonderful breakthrough, there are no known Sherpa Christians in China. They are politically and geographically isolated from contact with their counterparts in Nepal.

What Are Their Needs?

The Sherpa people need to accept the warm embrace of the only Savior so they can enjoy spiritually meaningful lives.

Prayer Points

Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders to happen among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project