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Nguan in Laos


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Nguan in Laos map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
20,000 Khmu Ethnic Religions 1.00 % 0.85 % No   

Nguan in Laos

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Introduction / History
More than 26,000 people in the Nguan ethnic group were listed in the 1995 Lao census. Ethnographer Laurent Chazee, earlier in that same year, estimated a lower population of 12,000 Nguan people. There is some confusion surrounding the existence of the Nguan. Despite the fact they are a relatively large group, and are very ethnically distinct and isolated, the Nguan do not appear in the authoritative Ethnologue, and have therefore also not appeared on Christian mission lists. This is probably due to the fact that until recently, the Lao government counted the Nguan as part of the Khmu, and did not recognize them as a distinct tribe. In the 1985 census, however, the Nguan were treated separately. There is no doubt that ethno-linguistically the Nguan qualify as a distinct group.

The majority of Nguan live in the districts of Nale, Viangphoukha and Luang Namtha in Luang Namtha Province, where their villages are near the Khuen, Lamet and Khmu Rok. In 1975 a number of Nguan families migrated to Houayxay District in Bokeo Province, where today they inhabit several communities. The Nguan live in stilted houses. Craftsmen carve images into the stilts. Nguan roofs are made of wooden tiles, and are not simply thatch as is the case with most tribal groups in Laos. Their villages are arranged with the houses in a circular pattern, facing towards a communal house in the middle.

The Nguan language is a distinct member of the Mon-Khmer family. It is partially related to Khmu and Samtao. The Nguan can understand only a little of the Lamet language.

The Nguan divide into two main clans, which are named after two different kinds of birds: Sim Takok and Sim Ome. To the clan members, these birds are sacred and must never be killed.

The Nguan are animists. They sacrifice chickens to appease the spirit of the forest, kill pigs to placate the spirit of the village, and cows or buffaloes to the spirit of the house. Shamans are still active among the Nguan. Their main job is to preside over the annual rice festival, when a pig is sacrificed.

There are at least two churches among the Nguan, containing more than 200 believers. Most this group, however, have yet to hear the Gospel.

Prayer Points
* Pray that they will choose to follow Christ rather than to sacrifice and worship evil spirits.
* Ask God to empower the Nguan Christians to witness for His glory.
* Pray for an outpouring of the conviction and grace of God to come upon Nguan people everywhere.
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.

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Country: Laos
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:20 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Luang Namtha province, Nale, Viangphoukha, and Luang Namtha districts
(Source: Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Nguan
People Name General: Nguan
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 107284
Joshua Project People ID: 13369
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 20,000
Population all Countries: 20,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
People Name General: Nguan
Ethnic Code: AUG03z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Khmu (20,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): kjg    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity1.00 %(Evangelical: 0.85 %)
Ethnic Religions99.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant75.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic25.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1918–2009
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Khmu
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Nguan in Laos

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Mon-Khmer     Asia, Southeast    
      Nguan Laos    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Nguan in Laos          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Khmu  
    All Religions                              

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