Daily Topic for July 30, 2010
Notice what the true God has to offer the Kalmyk people: spiritual strength, and refuge in distress. Some day, peoples like the Kalmyks will come from the ends of the earth and say that their gods are worthless idols.
Pray that this Tibetan Buddhist people will soon understand the worthlessness of their gods, and embrace Christ, their true refuge.
Kalmyk may be a Turkic word for Oirats who did not convert to Islam. The people themselves, however, did not begin to use the word as a self-designation until the late 1700s.
They live mostly in Russia, although some 186,000 of them live in China. They are classified by law as Mongolian, no doubt because the Kalmyk, like the Oroqen, are of Mongolian origin. In China, according to the Joshua Project, they are called Torguts, a sub-group of the Oirat, speaking mutually intelligible dialects of the same language.
In both countries, they are mostly semi-nomadic pastoralists living in tents called gers or yurts. They raise cattle, horses, sheep, goats, or camels. Increasingly, extended families and arranged teen marriages are giving way to nuclear families begun by couples in their twenties. Unfortunately, divorce is becoming more common, as are abortions, their primary means of population control.
Most Kalmyks practice Tibetan Buddhism, but their real religion is shamanism. Shamans “cure” diseases, communicate with spirits and are often possessed by them. In practice, Kalmyks worship spirits as they have for hundreds of years. Although in Russia a few Kalmyks have embraced the Russian Orthodox religion, there are no known Christians of any denomination among this group in China.
Pray for a Christian witness and the translation of the Bible into the Kalmyk language. Pray for health education and expanded health care so the power of shamans will weaken or die out. Pray that this people group will give up abortions as a means of birth control.