Praying Through the Window III -- October, 1997

The Unreached Peoples

Day 19

Uygur Homeland: North west China, Kazakstan, Central Asia
Religion: Islam, Animism

The Uygurs are related in race, culture, and language to the Turkic peoples of Central Asia. Like most Central Asians, the Uygurs practice folk Islam, a blend of Muslim beliefs and animistic rituals. Xinjiang province, the Uygur homeland, is rich in minerals and is a strategic defense zone for China's military. Since coming under Chinese control in the 1880's, the Uygurs and other minority groups have periodically suffered persecution. Chinese national policy tolerates the cultures and languages of minority groups, but a strong current of mutual resentment remains between the Uygurs and the Chinese majority. In recent years the government has brought millions of ethnic Chinese into Xianjiang, diluting Uygur influence. Although government restrictions and Islamic renewal hamper efforts to reach the Uygurs in China, media and translation projects hold promise. Uygurs in Kazakstan show signs of great spiritual hunger and are responding to the gospel. Many have been baptized and entire families converted.

Lord, we pray that more Uygurs in Central Asia and Kazakstan would follow Christ and become missionaries to Uygurs in China.

Kazak Homeland: Kazakstan, North west China
Religion: Islam, Animism

As tent-dwelling nomads, the Kazaks followed their herds across the Central Asian steppes from summer mountain pastures to winter valleys. When conquered by Russian Tsars and eventually incorporated into the Soviet Union, they gradually settled into towns, cities, and agricultural communities, but not without struggle. Soviet "collectivization" brought mass starvation and ecological disasters. Nuclear test sites and space launch facilities built in Kazakstan contaminated many towns with radioactive poison. The secular government allows religious freedom; many Kazak congregations have grown throughout the country. Kazak Bibles and other literature are needed to meet the growing spiritual hunger.

Christ, please keep this window of opportunity open and plant a vibrant church in every Kazak village and town.

Kyrgyz Homeland: Kyrgyzstan
Religion: Islam, Animism

Settled in the valleys of the "world's rooftop," the high ranges of Central Asia, live the Kyrgyz people. Like their Kazak cousins, the Kyrgyz were once nomads but settled during Russian rule. Few Kyrgyz live in cities. Even the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, is home to more Russians and Ukrainians than Kyrgyz, a cause of ethnic tension since the republic's independence from Soviet rule in 1991. Moving from communism to democracy has been painful. Although the country is rich in minerals including gold and coal, it lacks the means to bring this wealth to world markets. The resulting poverty has encouraged some citizens to turn to drug trafficking. Even though the Kyrgyz are traditionally Muslim, the secular government currently allows freedom of religion, but restrictions are tightening. Few of the dozen or so churches in Kyrgyzstan are reaching ethnic Kyrgyz or working outside of the capital, Bishkek.

Spirit, train national leaders, and give them a vision to reach the many rural Kyrgyz.

Mongolian Homeland: Mongolia, China
Religion: Tibetan Buddhism

Seven centuries ago the Mongol hordes of Ghenghis Khan overran Asia from the Danube River to the Pacific Ocean. For many years, however, Mongolians lived in relative obscurity in the shadow of Russia and China. Fewer than two million Mongolians live in Outer Mongolia, while more than five million live in Inner Mongolia, a province of China. Perhaps half of Mongolians are nomadic, living in felt tents they call gers and depending on the strength of their horses, in which they take great pride. Since its independence from Soviet domination, Outer Mongolia has returned to its traditional religion, Tibetan Buddhism. Although many Mongolians have come to faith in Christ in recent years, church growth has been restricted by a revival of Buddhism, disunity among Christian workers, and government opposition.

Jesus, let your body in Mongolia experience the unity you prayed for in John 17 and grant them the freedom to worship you.

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