WHO are they? Agriculture is the driving force in the Shan economy. Rice is the major
cash and family crop. Other crops include tea, soybeans, peanuts, coffee, and cotton.
People living near larger villages or towns grow vegetables to sell in the market.
WHERE do they live? Shan farmers live in villages of ten to five hundred or more
households clustered or lined among trees along roads or riverbanks. The Shan have
neither clans nor family lines. Marriages are monogamous, based on the couple's
mutual consent. Newlyweds usually live with the bride's parents for the first two or three
years or until they can set up their own home.
The Burmese Shan are a large group of civilized people who migrated south from China
in the twelfth century and established three small states in Myanmar (Burma). The Shan
language belongs to the southwestern group of tonal languages. The people refer to
themselves as the "Great Tai."
HOW many? 4,084,000
WHAT do they worship? Buddhism was introduced into Myanmar in the fifth century
and the majority of the Shan are Buddhists. The Buddhist's goal is to seek the middle
path to nirvana, or ultimate peace. The Shan view of the world centers on the idea of
'power protection,' which protects people from the consequences of their actions,
allowing them to do as they please. Buddha and Buddhist monks are the most powerful
beings, followed by spirits of the village, spirits associated with fields, households, and
the forest. For the Buddhist, death is not a threat if one has done good deeds; it is
simply passing from one life to another.
The tiny Shan Church needs more leadership and the opportunity to train their leaders
within Myanmar. The Bible is available in the Shan language, as are the Jesus film and
Christian radio broadcasts.
• Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the Shan Christians.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to complete the work of adequate discipleship begun in the
hearts of the Burmese Shan.
• Pray for the effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Burmese Shan.
• Pray that God will raise up prayer teams to break up the soil through worship and
• Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is focusing on
the Burmese Shan.
• Pray for opportunities to train Shan leaders within their country.
• Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio to the Burmese Shan.
• Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Burmese Shan.