Kumyk in Kazakhstan

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People Name: Kumyk
Country: Kazakhstan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 500
World Population: 568,700
Primary Language: Kumyk
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Altaic
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kumyk are one of two Turkic-language peoples among the 34 languages of Dagestan (the Nogai the other Dagestani Turkic language). There is no agreement as to where today's Kumyk people originated. They might have arrived in Dagestan in the eighth century. Others believe they didn't arrive till the 12-13th centuries.

From the 16th-19th Centuries under the Shamkhal Khanate, Kumyks exerted major political leadership in central Dagestan. During those centuries the lowland Kumyk language often served as the lingua franca for many of the highland mountain peoples of Dagestan. In the early 19th Century, the Russian language started replacing Kumyk as the lingua franca.

Today the Kumyk people are located along the northwestern coast of the Caspian Sea inside Dagestan in southern Russia. Smaller numbers live in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

An agricultural people located along the northwestern coast of the Caspian Sea inside Dagestan in southern Russia, the Kumyk people make their livelihood primarily by farming, vineyards, and raising cattle. They enjoy fertile soil on a pleasant plateau. They could potentially have a thriving tourist industry; that is unlikely given the violence and instability in Dagestan.

A religious, cultural mix of traditions is evident in Kumyk art, dance, marriage ceremonies, and folk music, as community and family elders instruct youth in the ways of their people. The Kumyk are historically a proud people, respected in Dagestan for their literary, artistic, and economic accomplishments.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Despite ideal soil, the hearts of the Kumyk have not been fertile to the gospel since the 9th century. Few cultural remnants of Christianity remain for a people whose 1000 years of Islamic beliefs mix with animistic practices to mark the traditions passed down to each new generation.

What Are Their Needs?

At present there are as many as 30 Kumyk followers of Jesus. Kumyk believers risk rejection by their families, as well as a threat to their livelihood, if their identity in Christ becomes known in the midst of the intensely Muslim Kumyk society. For this reason, the church does not exist publicly amongst the Kumyk.

In 2007 the New Testament was published in the Kumyk language, and now Genesis, Psalms and Proverbs have also been completed in Kumyk. The Kumyk need openness to the love, peace, and joy of the gospel of Jesus.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to thrust out workers to the Kumyk people in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Pray that new humility will make the hearts of the Kumyk people fertile to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Pray that Jesus' followers will multiply as the gospel is sown like a seed into the lives of these agricultural people, and that there will be a great harvest of souls among the Kumyk people in Turkey, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Pray blessing on the Words of Life in the Kumyk New Testament and in Genesis-Psalms-Proverbs as they penetrate into Kumyk culture.

Please ask the Lord for more workers to bring in this harvest.

Text Source:   Joshua Project