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|Christian Adherents:||0.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|Affinity Bloc:||Turkic Peoples|
The vast majority of the Kumyk people live in Russia’s Dagestan region, but a small number are in the nearby countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.
An agricultural people, the Kumyk people make their livelihood primarily by farming, vineyards, and raising cattle. As a whole they've chosen to live close to their ancestral home on the upper terraces of the Kumyk Plateau in Dagestan for over 1000 years. The reason is most likely due to the fertile soil that this pleasant plateau has always offered their people. Despite ideal soil, the hearts of the Kumyk have not been fertile to the gospel of Jesus since the 9th century. Few cultural remnants of Christianity remain for a people whose 1000 years of Islamic beliefs mix with pagan practices to mark the traditions passed down to each new generation. Starting in the 10th Century the Kumyk gained increasing power in Dagestan, and from the 16th-19th Centuries under the Shamkhal Khanate exerted major political leadership in the region of 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. 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 for their literary, artistic and economic accomplishments. This pride, however, is tempered today by the disillusionment from the destabilizing elements of overwhelming violence/chaos amidst the 'graceless' elements of present-day Dagestan. At present there are believed to be as many as 30 Kumyk followers of Jesus. In 2007 the New Testament was published in the Kumyk language, and now Genesis, Psalms and Proverbs have also been completed in Kumyk. 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 of Dagestan. For this reason the church does not exist publicly amongst the Kumyk.
The Kumyk people are Sunni Muslims who believe that the One, Supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah. In most of the Muslim world, people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. The often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
The Kumyk people in Russia and nearby countries, all need the chance to hear and respond to the gospel. They need to know that Jesus Christ offers them life to the full.
Pray for many Kumyk to come to new openness to the love, peace, and joy of the gospel of Jesus. Just as the land they live on is ideal for growth, pray that new humility will make the hearts of the Kumyk people in Turkmenistan 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 from those God has working among the Kumyk. 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.