Gelao of Northern Asia

Although the Gelao have an estimated population of more than 700,000, they are a relatively unknown ethnic group in China. Many Gelao are considered to be part of the larger ethnic label of “Chinese.” Between 1982 and 1990, census reports showed an increase in the Gelao population from 53,800 to 438,000. This dramatic increase can be attributed to the fact that the Gelao are scattered across 40 counties in six provinces of southern China.

According to a Chinese folktale, the Gelao (which is translated “bamboo”) are descendants of the ancient Liao race whose king, Yelang, was born from bamboo.

The Gelao harvest maize, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, millet, tobacco and tea. They have no organized religious system.

Prayer Points

— The Gelao are widely scattered across China, making evangelization and church planting efforts difficult among the group as a whole. Pray that committed believers would reach out to each of the provinces where Gelao communities are located.

— The Gelao speak Mandarin, a language in which a number of audio and visual resources are available. Pray that the Gelao would be given a clear presentation of the gospel in each of their diverse contexts.


At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:25-30, ESV)

bforsmanGelao of Northern Asia