Mongol, Khalka in Russia

Mongol, Khalka
Photo Source:  gradlon - Flickr  Creative Commons 
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People Name: Mongol, Khalka
Country: Russia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,300
World Population: 2,551,300
Primary Language: Mongolian, Halh
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 2.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.20 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mongolian
Affinity Bloc: East Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The name Khalka means "shield." The region of Outer Mongolia has been called the shield since the sixteenth century. In the early 1900s one missionary described the Mongols as "well-built and sturdy. He is fearless, and self-reliant; generous, and comparatively honest, kindly, hospitable, and easily approached and understood when treated with proper consideration."

The Khalka Mongolian language is largely intelligible with the standard language spoken by most Mongols in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia. Speakers from the two countries have little trouble understanding each other; however, one linguist points out that the two languages "have important phonological and loan differences."

The Khalka keep carefully preserved genealogies to prove they are descendants of Genghis Khan, their national hero. For centuries they were ruled by a hereditary line of nobles and princes, until these families were stripped of power by the Mongolian and Chinese Communist governments in the last century.

A small group of Mongols now live in Siberia in Russia near the Outer Mongolian border. The Mongols speak Mongolian at home and Russian at work and school. A new revised, Mongolian Bible became available in 2015.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The traditional occupation of Mongols in their homeland is the nomadic herding and rearing of animals. They raise and sell horses, cattle, camels, yaks, sheep, and goats. In Russia, most Mongols still practice their ancient way of life. Some Mongols have moved to Russian cities and towns and work jobs in sanitation, security, factories, transportation, and retail. Some have taken advantage of the Russian educational system and now work in middle class and professional jobs.

Since they are such a small minority in Russia, the Mongols try to keep a low profile. They often have larger families than the Russian majority. The father/husband leads and provides for the family. Women take care of domestic responsibilities. Women frequently have to work outside the home to make ends meet. The Mongols in Russia are slowly losing their ancient customs and language as their children and grandchildren are educated in secular Russian schools.

The greatest festival of the year for all Mongols is "nadam," a word meaning amusement. Mongols from far and wide gather for horse racing, wrestling, archery, and other games.

What Are Their Beliefs?

About one third of Khalka Mongols in Siberia follow Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Lamaism. This form of Buddhism is becoming weaker among the Khalka Mongols in Russia.

Portions of the Bible were first translated into Khalka in the early twentieth century. Early missionary work was slow and difficult. In 1990 the number of Khalka believers was thought to be only in the dozens. Now many thousands of Mongolians in Mongolia have come to the Lord. We can pray that this movement to Christ will extend to the Mongolians in Siberia too.

What Are Their Needs?

In Russia, many indigenous peoples see Christianity as a European religion. The Mongolians must come to understand that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of all peoples. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray that Mongol parents in Russia are able to provide for their children.

Pray that Mongol elders in Russia would be moved by the Lord to read the Bible and investigate the claims of Jesus Christ.

Ask the Lord to send workers to the Mongols in Russia.

Pray the Lord raises up biblical Mongol churches in Russia in this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project