Helambu Sherpa Language

Words of Hope Nepal is introducing a new broadcast program in the Helambu Sherpa language. Words of Hope’s Nepali ministry director first met a Sherpa pastor in 2013 while visiting the Himalayan region for ministry. 

The Sherpa pastor shared his own incredible conversion story. How he had gone from being apprenticed to a shaman to hearing the gospel and becoming the pastor of a tiny church. The pastor shared his vision with Words of Hope—that all Sherpa people would have an opportunity to hear about Jesus. 

Since that initial meeting many years ago, the pastor persisted on his own, working with his small congregation and producing Christian songs to share. 

And now, after many years of friendship and prayer, Words of Hope is starting radio programs in the Helambu Sherpa language. The first series of sermons will be on the air soon. 

The Sherpa people are a small group of only a few thousand speakers. They are 97% Buddhist, and live in the Himalayas. Their primary source of income comes from leading people on treks through the mountains, and providing these tourists with food and lodging. 

The Sherpa people love to listen to radio programs while trekking. Pray that many Helambu Sherpa would soon hear of Jesus’ love for them and choose to follow Christ!

Fast Facts about the Helambu Sherpa Language:

  • The Helambu Sherpa language is similar to Tibetan. The Sherpas migrated from Tibet to Nepal in the 15th century, and Tibetans and Sherpas can still communicate on a very basic level. 
  • In addition to helping tourists, the Helambu Sherpa also work as farmers, growing corn and potatoes.  
  • Helambu Sherpa villages are at the base of the Himalayan mountains. Here they can grow plenty of food and have access to clean mountain water. 
  • The women wear colorful aprons and wrapped dresses called bhokkus that come to their ankles. The men wear bhokkus that are shorter in length, coming to the knees, with trousers underneath. Sheep-skin jackets are also common. 
  • Nearly every Sherpa home has a decorative corner dedicated to Buddhist worship. They also write prayers on flags that they fly in high places.