Daily Topic for March 12, 2011
In some ways it seems impossible that the Soyot people could bow their knees to Jesus. They are dying off as a people, and the few that remain want to return to shamanism in a twisted attempt to revive their culture. But Jesus’ words, spoken to His disciples following His resurrection, are the claims and commands of One who had proved His authority on earth—He had healed the sick, forgiven men’s sins, and conquered death itself. Doesn’t the One who has power over death also have the power over the hearts of mankind?
Pray that we will recognize and submit to His loving rule by honoring His Name and obeying His command to make disciples of each of the world’s unreached peoples.
What makes a people group a people group? Sometimes it boils down to the unique attributes and cultural identity of the group. The Soyot people were once part of a cluster of peoples that eventually split into three groups. Then the Soyots themselves were nearly engulfed by the much larger Buryat groups that migrated into their homeland from Mongolia.
It was especially hard for the Soyot people to be recognized as a distinct people group by their dominant Russian masters. Eventually, however, they gave them the recognition they desired in 1993.
They have been having many difficulties since they became a recognized people group after the fall of communism. They have been trying to resume lucrative parts of their previous way of life. Before the rise of communism, one of their chief occupations was the reindeer breeding trade. This sets them apart from their Buryat neighbors. After the Russian communists squelched their reindeer businesses for a generation, their youths did not learn how to deal with this kind of livestock. When they tried to revive their reindeer trade in the 1990s, their herds almost died out. They are still trying to revive this trade.
Unfortunately, another part of Soyot identity is in their shamanistic religion. To them, reviving shamanism has made them feel like they have returned to their cultural roots. Some have had contact with Native Americans who are trying to do the same thing. It is important that the believers who try tell the Soyot people about the love of Christ explain to them that accepting Jesus will not mean returning to the days when their culture was in jeopardy from the cruel tyranny of the Soviet Union. Pray for culturally sensitive workers to take Jesus to the Soyot people in such a way that they can embrace Him without jeopardizing their culture.Learn more at joshuaproject.net