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How Water Buffaloes Point to Jesus

The Baiku Yao used to eat the flesh of the deceased.
At least, that is what an old Baiku Yao legend says.
The Baiku Yao are a minority people of the Mekong region who primarily reside in Southern China. Only 0.3 percent reportedly follow Christ, and there is no church among them.
The Baiku Yao don’t yet know the story of Jesus, but the concept of an atoning sacrifice is not lost on them. In fact, it’s a central tenet in their folklore about death.
Speaking of the legend, here’s the full story:

One day, a little boy caught sight of a mother cow in labor. Through the day and into the night, he cared for her and saw how much work and pain the mother endured to give birth.

He asked his own mother “Did you suffer as much in giving birth to me?” His mother replied, “Every mother on earth suffers that much to give birth to her child.” After hearing this, the little boy vowed not to let anyone eat her flesh, as was their custom.

When she finally did die, villagers came looking for her body. The boy refused to give them her flesh and explained that if she suffered that much on earth, no one should eat her body. The villagers still demanded a meal, since the boy also had eaten from all of their relatives before. To satisfy their demand, the boy offered to provide a water buffalo instead. The villagers accepted this substitution, and since then, the Baiku Yao tradition calls for a water buffalo sacrifice every time someone dies.

This Baiku Yao legend acknowledges a reality that the gospel asks us to grapple with: there is a demand for our flesh that requires a sacrifice. But, in Christ, the demand has been fulfilled.
“We have been made holy though the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” -Hebrews 10:10
Join us in praying that one day, the Baiku Yao would know the Lamb of God, who loves them and has given himself for them.

Ways to pray:

  • Pray that many Baiku Yao will be saved through the single offering of Jesus Christ made once for all.
  • Pray that Baiku Yao hearts will see clearly that Jesus is the better sacrifice for all the peoples of the world.
  • Pray that this redemptive analogy found in Baiku Yao folklore will be an effective means to share the gospel with the Baiku Yao.

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Want to learn more about the Baiku Yao people and how you can pray? Download this FREE 5x5x5 Prayer Guide (pdf).

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