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There are two groups of Yin people, the Yinnet ('-net' means black because they wear black clothes) and the Yinchia ('-chia' means spotty - they wear spotty clothes).
There are about 40,000 Yinnet people living in 20 villages. They believe that they are the descendants of the famous king, Anawrattha.
Yinnet people today still wear the costume of that king. They treasure their clothes so much that young and old wear the same dress. They get new clothes at festival times but they keep their older clothes for relaxing and their very old ones for work.
Each family owns about 2 acres of land. The houses are built of bamboo with roofs of dry grass which reach almost to the ground. Young people normally get married at the age of 14, but because all the girls wear the same clothes it is very difficult to know if a girl is married or not. Married couples may live with their parents for about one year, but in a separate house.
There is only one Yinnet man who has ever finished high school! In one of the biggest villages there has been a primary school for 14 years, yet no one has finished even grade 4. Some adults know some of the Shan language but few speak even a little of the national language.
The Yinnet people claim to be Buddhist but in reality they are animists with some Buddhist beliefs. The Presbyterian church has tried to evangelise them. There are some missionaries, but they have not been able to tell them much about Jesus the Christ because they are still trying to learn the language. However, they have built friendships with them by treating the sick and sewing clothes for them, all free of charge. The people were amazed! "Why do you bother to help us?" they asked. "Because Jesus loves you so much", was all the missionaries could reply. So the people acknowledged that Jesus must be a very good man but they could learn no more because of the language barrier.
At the request of two of these missionaries, GRN workers went to the village to see the need of the Yinnet people for themselves. They went with some fear because they did not know how they would ever communicate. However, God's timing was perfect! They happened to meet the only educated Yinnet man! Coincidence? He helped them translate the GRN script into the Yin language, even though he was not a Christian. Why? Because those missionaries had made friends with him when he was suffering from a serious stomach problem. As they prayed for him, he was healed. They then told him that God had saved him from death for a purpose. God wanted to use him to tell his people the 'Good News' in their own language.
That man also understands another language well and he had listened to the old GRN recordings, so he had heard the Gospel message. He became afraid that God might punish him if he refused to accept that message. Within 5 days he helped the men to finish the translation and the recordings. The recording was done under great pressure and in such a short time that it is not the best quality recording. However, God can use it to win Yinnet souls to Himself, especially as we pray. The missionaries' response was, "God has opened the way now for us to tell the Yinnet people about Jesus, and to hear the 'Good News' in their mother tongue. Thank you GRN!"
Our GRN workers have been attempting to record the Yinnet language for over a year, however they couldn't find anyone to help them.
The Yinnet language was considered a 'priority language' for the following reasons -
- It is the language of a group completely unreached with the Gospel message.
- The Yinnet people cannot read about Jesus because almost 100% of the people are illiterate.
- They are oral communicators.
- There was not one Christian Believer among them.
- No recordings had ever been made in the Yinnet language.
- Missionaries had asked GRN to help record the Yinnet language because they could not communicate.
These criteria fit the guide-lines which GRN has set to determine priorities when considering which languages to record.