Summary The Hemshin are reported to have been ethnic Armenians whose ancestors converted to Islam in the 1890s through 1920s to save themselves from death. They presently are made up of a number of diverse groups of Muslim (Sunni) and Christian people who originally settled in the Hemsin district in the province of Rize, Turkey. The present community of Hemsinli is exclusively Islamic and are Turkish speaking. Some of the Hemshinlis still speak the ancient Anatolian (western) Armenian dialect in the northeast. Hemshenis are well-known for the clever jokes, riddles, and stories they tell. The traditional occupations are cultivating tea and maize, raising livestock, and beekeeping. There are also Hemshin people living in the Caucasus region and in Central Asia.
Ministry Obstacles The country of Turkey is hostile to Christian witness. Overt ministry to the Hemshin people will be difficult.
Outreach Ideas These Turkish-speaking people have many resources available in the Turkish language. The Bible is available, and the Jesus film, and others. Workers are needed to take these resources to the Hemshin people.
Pray for the followers of Christ There are no known Christian believers among the Hemshin people at present, but pray for those the Lord will soon call to himself. Pray that teachers will be sent to help them become firmly established in the truth of scripture, and help them learn to walk in the power of the Lord's Spirit.
Pray for the entire people group Pray the Hemshin people will increasingly be drawn to Jesus (whom Muslims call Isa al-Masih) as they read the Koran, and will seek to learn more. Perhaps the Lord will visit some in dreams and visions.