The Jamshidi of Iran
The Jamshidi are primarily concentrated in the Khorasan province, south of Mashhad, the main Aimaq city. Mashhad is one of 100 strategic cities, or "gateway cities," of the 10/40 Window. Once it has been penetrated with the Gospel, it will become a doorway into the surrounding unreached people groups.
Ignoring national boundaries, the Jamshidi roam freely on nomadic journeys across the dry, rugged mountains of Iran. They inhabit an area known for its world famous trade routes. As a group, the Char Aimaq speak a form of Persian called Farsi, with some Turkic (Aimaq) vocabulary. Most of them have pronounced Mongoloid features.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Jamshidi lifestyle centers around their herds, which provide them with meat, milk, fat, cheese, and skins for tent-making. As in Biblical times, wealth is measured in livestock. Even those who have taken up farming go out in their tents during the spring and summer months, wandering through the mountains with their herds. In the winter, the people live in brick huts in towns, and their herds eat stored grain.
The nuclear family is the most important social unit among the Jamshidi. It usually consists of a man, his wife (or wives), their children, and his parents. A woman joins her husband's nuclear family when they marry.
The primary occupation of women is carpet weaving, although they may also help tend the flocks. Carpets from each tribe have their own distinctive patterns. Mothers teach their daughters to make the carpets from wool on portable looms. When food sources are low, money made from the sale of carpets is used to purchase additional food. The carpets, along with livestock and cash, may also be used as marriage payments.
Traditionally, a khan is the head of a Jamshidi tribe. He is able to trace his ancestry to the founder of the tribe. Today, however, the Iranian government is pushing to break up this patrilineal ruling system (based on ancestry). Important decisions now reside officially in village councils. Although the old structure remains, the real power has shifted to Teheran, Iran's capital city.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Iran is an Islamic theocracy run by religious leaders who are very hostile toward Christianity. The country has been ravaged by internal revolution, war with Iraq, and religious upheaval. These horrors are blamed on evil Western influences, no doubt synonymous with Christianity. The previous Christian population has been exiled.
What Are Their Needs?
The Jamshidi have had very little exposure to the Gospel. Neither the Bible nor any Christian broadcasts are currently available in their language, and there are no missions agencies working among them. Prayer is the key to seeing the Jamshidi reached with the Gospel.Prayer Points
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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