Kyrgyz in Uzbekistan
Primary Religion: Islam (95%)
Known Christians: 5% (13,350)
More than any other Central Asian people, the Kyrgyz have clung to their traditional way of life as nomadic livestock producers. They have also maintained their tribal organization. The basic unit of their society is the "extended family," which consists of between five and fifteen families who have all descended from a common ancestor. Villages are formed by combining five to seven extended families. The Kyrgyz depend entirely on their animals for survival. Not only are the animals used for food and exchange, but they also provide the only means of transportation in the region. Outsiders visiting the region are often vulnerable to altitude sickness ,which causes severe headaches, nausea, breathing problems, and even death. The Kyrgyz women enjoy more freedoms than do most other Islamic women. For example, they are not required to wear veils; they are allowed to talk to men and they may freely ride about on the grasslands. The men devote themselves almost entirely to caring for the animals.
Music and story telling are important parts of the Kyrgyz culture. Folk tales are often sung, accompanied by a three-stringed guitar called a komuss. Today, most Kyrgyz still consider themselves to be Muslim; however, some Shamanistic practices still exist. Many people still turn to mediums and seers to cure sickness with magic, communicate with powers, and control events. Almost all Kyrgyz believers have to go through a breaking of demonic powers over their lives once they become Christians. The relative openness of the Central Asian Republics has allowed evangelistic efforts to take place. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into Uzbekistan. Pray that God will raise up prayer teams to go and break up the soil through worship and intercession. Ask God to grant favor and wisdom to missions agencies focusing on the Kyrgyz. Pray for effectiveness of the Gospel as it goes forth via radio and television. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts towards Christ.
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