Introduction / History
The majority of Turkmen live in Turkmenistan, which is located in south Central Asia along the Caspian Sea. Many others live in the surrounding Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and a small number are in Pakistan. Their culture has been strongly influenced in the past by both the Turkic conquerors, who imposed their language on them, and the Arabs, who forced them to convert to Islam. Long ago, they developed a strong ethnic identity as "children of the desert" because they would plunder rich caravans of Persian traders.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Tribal loyalties continue to have a strong influence over the people. The largest descent group is the tribe, then the clan, then the family. Members of a tribe are bound by a strong sense of family loyalty. Tribal loyalty is reinforced by the fact that the Turkmen will only marry within their tribes. Arranged marriages are common, and families often intermarry to preserve wealth. Although there have been political and economic changes through the years, less changes have occurred in the areas of family life and religion. The Turkmen are especially known for their brisk trade in the bazaars, where many samples of their handicrafts can be found. Some of these include metal and wooden household utensils, tools, and furniture. Many have also supplemented their income by producing intricately designed carpets. Oil and gas production are the major sources of wealth. Turkmen tend to be physically strong. They are characterized by their hospitality, sincerity, and trustworthiness; however, they are also known as being hot-headed and revengeful.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Turkmen are officially Sunni Muslim, but they often depend on other spiritual forces for their daily needs.
What Are Their Needs?
There is little awareness of biblical Christianity among the Turkmen, and very few are believers in Pakistan. Laborers and evangelistic tools are desperately needed for the Turkmen. A gospel witness to Turkmen will be most effective coming from other Turkmen who are culturally sensitive.
* Scripture Prayers for the Turkmen in Pakistan.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Turkmen in Pakistan. Pray for the Turkmen to crave true holiness and find that in Jesus Christ. Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among the Turkmen in Pakistan this decade.