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Map Source: People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
|Online Audio NT:
The Andi live in the high mountains of Dagestan next to the western border with Chechnya. Until 1926, Russia listed the Andi as a distinct ethnic group in the census. Thereafter, it listed them in the Avar ethnic group. Speaking their own distinct Andi language, the Andi live in 13 major villages in their mountain region and in some Andi enclaves in lowland urban regions of Dagestan.
The powerfully-built, broad-shouldered Andi man murmured out loud, “I’m not as tough as my brothers and uncles—I haven’t yet killed a man with my bare hands.” This middle-aged Andi man looked tough enough. He is renowned in his circles for his hard-nosed life and his many wives. The men of the Andi region would resonate with Lamech in Genesis 4: “For I have killed a man for wounding me, and a boy for striking me; if Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”
This story, however, continues with an astonishing twist. One of the sons of this very same Andi man, we’ll call the son Aslan, encountered the far-greater power of the Holy Spirit. “What surprised me most ... was the amazing love of God. When I understood that God is my Father, I received much joy!” Aslan is the first follower of Jesus among the Andi people. He represents the hope of a powerful life-giving strength that is far greater than the old fleshly way of vengeance and violence.
The Andi mix a rigorous Sunni Muslim identity—Islam has been dominant among them for at least 600 years. There are rich elements in Muslim culture, such as strong emphasis on family and hospitality; but Islam has not helped with the crying need for forgiveness and mercy and grace or an end to cycles of violence.
There are great historic strengths in the Andi people—remarkable elements of culture and beauty—but mercy and grace are not in the list of those strengths. Blood vengeance is one of the enshrined values, and cycles of violence have continued to ferment on many levels through the generations.
Pray Eph.3:18-20 for the Andi: “… that you may know the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God—for God is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think, according to His power that works within us.”
Pray for Aslan and his family in relationships with Andi relatives and acquaintances. Pray that the radiance of the Fruit of the Spirit will continue to shine through him and draw many to the light.
Pray for many Andi to see the superiority of the Fruit of the Spirit to the old ways of vengeance. Pray for new heroes among the Andi to realize that real strength is not in “being overcome by evil” but, instead, in the Spirit of Jesus “overcoming evil with good.”
Pray for divine grace on the fledgling beginning of Bible translation in the Andi language. The Gospel of Luke in Andi was published in 2015. Pray for audio recordings to be produced, distributed and understood.
New friendship connections have promise to bring about bridges of grace and salvation into Andi culture.
The Andi live in Dagestan, a land of war. Pray what Satan meant for evil (fighting), God will use for good to bring many people to humility and the saving work of Christ.