Help your family embrace God’s love for the world. Read this story together to learn about and pray for the Buryat (BOO-ree-aht), the largest unreached people group in Siberia.
Come with me to a city in eastern Siberia that is famous for its unique monument to a Soviet leader. A giant bronze head of Lenin looms over the pine trees, grass, and colorful flowerbeds in the town square. In this region of Russia, most Buryat (BOO-ree-aht) families are Tibetan Buddhists. Many believe in powerful spirits in nature as well. Most boys and girls here have never heard that Jesus came to bring them into a relationship with God. Do you see the huge yellow building with the green roof and towers? It’s providing shade for that boy who is looking for a place to cool off…
Hi. I’m Bulat (boo-LAHT). Welcome to Ulan-Ude (ooh-LAHN oo-DAY), the capital of this republic. You arrived on one of the hottest days this summer. Near that opera and ballet theater there’s a huge musical fountain. Let’s go get some ice cream, sit on a bench, and watch water shoot up in time to symphony music. Afterwards, you can come home with me for dinner. I live on the fourth floor of an apartment building with my mom, older sister, baby brother, and grandmother. My father is working in another part of Russia and does not come home very often.
Don’t eat too much ice cream. Save room for dinner because my grandmother makes the best buuza (BOO-zeh) in town. Her steamed dumplings with meat, onion, and garlic are delicious, but messy. I’ll show you the best way to eat them. First you cup your hands around a dumpling. Then take a tiny bite, drink the broth that dribbles out of the hole, and gobble up the rest.
Tomorrow, you can join my family for a trip to the country. We’re traveling by bus to visit my cousins who live near Lake Baikal (BIH-kal). It’s the deepest freshwater lake in the whole world. You won’t believe how blue the water is! We can take a picnic, hike around the lake, and go swimming. On the way, we will pass the Buddhist temple where my family goes. There’s a statue of Buddha at the entrance and a pathway that winds all the way around the temple. My grandmother and mother spin huge prayer wheels along the path.
Once we leave the city, you’ll notice trees with brightly colored cloths tied to them. Those are Buddhist prayer flags that we hang in holy places. As the prayer flags blow in the wind, we hope that our prayers are lifted up to the spirits.
The village where my cousins live doesn’t have any apartment buildings. The homes look like colorful log cabins. My uncle painted their house bright blue. There’s also a shed for the cows, an outhouse, and a bathhouse. When we’re at their house, we get to milk the cows and gather carrots and potatoes from the garden. While my older sister learns how to make sour cream and butter, we can play soccer and hopscotch with my cousins.
- Buryat families are often separated when one parent moves to another region or country to make money. Pray that God will provide for their financial needs so that both parents can stay together with their children.
- Pray that many Buryat families would have the opportunity to learn about Jesus and trust in Him to set them free from sin.
Coming up next: Watch for an activity that helps your family learn more about a common Buryat greeting.