Belarusian in Turkmenistan

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People Name: Belarusian
Country: Turkmenistan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 5,500
World Population: 9,095,400
Primary Language: Belarusian
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 71.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.30 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Slav, Eastern
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Belarus is a landlocked nation in Eastern Europe. The word Belarus means "White Russi." In 1796 the land now called Belarus was taken over by the Russian Empire. At times the Belarusian language was forbidden in schools in favor of Russian. The Belarus Orthodox Church was made a part of the larger Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Imperial government forced the Cyrillic alphabet on Belarus. In 1922 the Belarus Socialist Republic became one of the founding members of the Soviet Union. In 1991 Belarus became a separate country after the breakup of the Soviet Union, but it remains a close ally of Russia.

Many Christian resources are available in Belarusian including complete Bibles, radio programs and the JESUS Film.

Since 1991 many Belarusians, especially young people, have left their home and immigrated to other nations in search of employment. These destinations include countries in Western Europe, the USA, Australia, Canada, Israel and Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan broke free from the Soviet Union in 1991. In Soviet times Belarusians moved to Turkmenistan to work in the natural gas and petroleum industries. Wheat and cotton are also main components of the Turkmen economy.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Almost all older adults Belarusians and Turkmen speak Russian. Since independence there has been a resurgence of the Turkmen language and culture. Belarusians living in Turkmenistan have learned the Turkmen language.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Nine out of ten Belarusians identify as Christians. The large majority of them are affiliated with the Belarusian or Russian Orthodox Churches. A smaller number of churches subordinate to the Roman Catholic Church are located near the Polish and Lithuanian borders.

Most Belarusians are Eastern Orthodox in name only. They are baptized, married and buried in the church. Most do not attend services on a regular basis.

Eastern Orthodox members and evangelicals have much in common. Both believe in the Trinity, the deity and resurrection of Christ and the inspiration of the Bible. Unlike Roman Catholic priests, clergy in the Eastern Orthodox Churches may marry and have children. There is no position of Pope in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. It is safe to say that most of the members of the Orthodox Churches in Belarus lack a personal, love relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Belarusians have tried to retain their Eastern Orthodox faith in Turkmenistan, a Muslim majority nation.

What Are Their Needs?

Belarusian Christians need to see the love and grace of Jesus Christ demonstrated to them in practical ways. They must be taught or discipled in the ways of the Lord. They must understand that their faith needs to be more than a tradition or system of morality.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Lord spiritually revives the priests and bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Churches leading to a Christ-oriented spirituality.

Pray that the Holy Spirit leads Belarusians to read their Bibles and listen to gospel radio programs.

Pray for the Lord to raise up a disciple making movement among Belarusians in Turkmenistan.

Text Source:   Joshua Project