|Uzbek||Homeland: Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan|
|Religion: Islam, Animism|
The most numerous of all the Central Asian Turkic peoples. The Uzbeks have a rich language and culture and learned to speak Russian during the years Soviet rule. Only now is Uzbek replacing Russian as the language of education and government. The Uzbeks are proud to be Muslim, but seek spiritual power from traditions far older than Islam. More than 60 years of Marxism have left their mark on Uzbek spirituality, however. Some Uzbeks say, "I'm a Muslim, but I don't believe in God."
Lord, we pray that the millions of Uzbeks who have never heard the gospel might soon hear and believe in the one true God.
|Tatar-Related Peoples||Homeland: Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Ukraine|
|Religion: Islam, Secularism|
Eager to create a new Soviet man, loyal only to the Union, Soviet leaders used genocide and mass deportation to neutralize nationalities they perceived as a threat. Many Tatars were victims of this strategy. Stalin accused the Crimean Tatars of conspiring with Hitler in World War II, and had them deported to Central Asia. Perhaps because of this separation from their homeland, Crimean Tatars have been more Russified, some are indistinguishable from their Russian neighbors. Today more than eight million Tatars and related people live in the Russian republic. The Kazan Tatars and the Bashkirs live along the Volga river. Siberian Tatars are descended from Mongol warriors who conquered Siberia in the 13th century.
Since Ivan the Terrible destroyed the Kazan Khanate in 1552, Kazan Tatars have harbored great animosity towards Russians. Now, an Islamic renaissance among them provides a means to maintain a distinct identity. Kazan Tatars view Christianity as a Russian religion, the few who convert and join the Russian Orthodox Church are considered cultural traitors. The Gospel of John has recently been translated into Tatar and is already in short supply. Other books of the Bible will be available soon.
Lord, thank you for the good response to the Gospel of John. Put a thirst for truth in the hearts of many Kazan Tatars.
The Bashkir were considered lower-class Tatars until the 1920's, when the Soviet Union declared them a separate people. After being looked down on for so long by Kazan Tatars, the Bashkir are proud of their separate status. The Bashkir capital, Ufa, is a center of Islam in Russia.
Jesus, you are lord of the Bashkir. Move among them in grace and mercy.
Many Tatars are returning to Crimea, where they are resented by Ukrainians living there. Those remaining in Central Asia feel threatened by the nationalism of their Kazak and Uzbek hosts.
The Crimean Tatars are helpless and harassed, like sheep without a shepherd. Good Shepherd, we pray for their healing and redemption.
The Siberian Tatars exhibit less animosity towards Russians than other Tatars do, and are consequently more open to Christianity.
Lord of the harvest, increase the openness and spiritual hunger of Siberian Tatars, and lead the Russian church to rightly reach out to them.
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