Folk groups.

Originally, the Udmurts were inhabitants of Udmurtia. They belong to the Finno-Ugric family of language. The Udmurts amount to over 700 thousand people. Tragic events that the Udmurts went through in the Middle Ages, put an indelible imprint on their mentality. The characteristics of this nationality are shyness, lack of initiative, fear of conflict, unsociability, and a sort of national inferiority complex. When “I’m Udmurt” is said, it is not with dignity, but with a huge sense of apology. It is no wonder that Udmurtia is one of the highest in number of suicides, and unfortunately is one of the highest in alcoholism.

Since the 16th century the Udmurts belong to Russia. They joined the Russian Orthodox Church, but without any real understanding of the Gospel. The pagan notions of faith are still strong even nowadays, among people in the country sides and villages particularly.

“The Lord let many nations go their ways, so that they would seek God.”(Acts 17:26-27) Many nations and tribes past away, becoming history, but God had another plan for the Udmurts.

In the early 90s, there were only a few number of Udmurts among the believers of Protestant Churches of Udmurtia. But new churches were started as a result of activity of some missions. Thus, a Christian mission “Opportunity” started the “Philadelphia” Church. As it turned out, there were many Udmurts among new believers.

There are church meetings for the Udmurts weekly. On Saturdays many Udmurts want to worship God in their language. Valery Peekulev is the person responsible for this ministry. He has a very interesting personal testimony:

“I was born in a large Udmurt family and was the twelfthchild. The life in my village Baysitovo, Malopurginsky area, was penetrated with spirits of superstitions and witchcraft, typical as any other Udmurt village. Being a child, I would sometimes think: ‘”If there’s witchcraft, than there’s God, too.” I also remember my mother telling me that there is God, she even made me learn the prayer: “Lord Jesus, save me, a sinner, and don’t give way to the enemy, amen.”

After I’d finished school, I moved to Izhevsk and got a job in the “Izhmash” engineering plant. I got in a hard drinking collective and didn’t notice how I turned to an alcoholic. That’s how my “hellish” life started, with regular hangovers and injuries. The last one, a broken spine, brought me to a hospital. Bedridden, with the perspective of becoming an invalid, I started thinking of the meaning of my life seriously. Then, my mother’s prayer came back to me and I prayed it. I was discharged from the hospital fully restored. It was surely a miracle of God.

Once, during a festival, among noisy crowds of people, I heard some unusual singing: some young fellows were worshiping God, playing the guitar. It touched my soul deep inside. They gave me their address and that’s how I came to the church. On August 12, 1990 I was baptized. Then I graduated from a Bible school in Izhevsk in 1994. So, now I’m a missionary in Udmurtia. God also blessed me with a wonderful wife and two sons. Hallelujah!”

The Udmurts, mostly, reside in the countryside. There are churches started within the radius of 50 km from Izhevsk. There are Evangelism meetings every summer. As a result of these meetings, new people, many of them Udmurts, turn to Christ.

Now Udmurts can read the New Testament and the children’s Bible in their native language. The Old Testament is being prepared for publication. There are audio and video tapes, like the “Jesus ”film in Udmurtian. Mayeena Sashina from the “Philadelphia” Church, was earlier the “Udmurt radio” announcer, now she is in charge of Christian programs on the radio. Her way to God was unusual, too:

“I was born in the countryside, into a teacher’s family. My father was a school principal and an atheist. He was an authority figure to me and I never even thought of God’s existence. After graduating from school, according to our family tradition, I went to a University, then graduated with honors. I started working at school, got married, and gave birth to two children. In general, my life seemed to be like other people’s lives. But there was something hidden underneath this visual well-being. I was terribly discontent with everything, endlessly searching for something. I tried to turn to many things, but nothing ever helped. Finally, I ended up in total misery: becoming addicted to alcohol, my family was breaking into pieces, I had problems at work, and so on. I was full of hatred with everyone and everything. I even decided to put an end to my life. But praise God!, I did not. God knocked on my heart at that very moment, and I opened it to Christ! One women, a stranger, told me about God and invited me to come to church. While I was listening to God’s word at the church meeting, I realized it was what I had been searching for, for all these years. My life turned to the right way. God restored my family. Now I know what to live for, and I want to serve my Savior. In 2000 I started working on Christian programs for radio in the Udmurt language. In 2000-2001 I went to a Bible school in our church. God granted me a wonderful ministry- I translate Christian literature into Udmurt language and prepare information about our church life for this site. Praise the Lord! ”

 

Our vision and prayer requests:


  • To have good Praise & Worship in the Udmurt language.
  • To have new leaders from God and people from Udmurt intelligence of creative activities.
  • To organize productive Evangelism and outreach for the countryside in the Udmurt language.


Some information from the history of the Udmurt nation.

 

 

The true story of this nationality starts when it first appeared on the pages of literary monuments. “History”, written by Herodoth, an ancient Greek historian, living in 5 B.C, contains the earliest references about the Udmurts. He called them ”boodiny” and “arymaspy”. The ancient name of the Udmurts is “aryee”, meaning-“man” (it became the name of the inhabited area-“Arskaya”). In the 12th century, Russians called them “votyakee”, when they started colonization of the “Vyatskaya” area.

A more authentic information about the lands of the Southern Udmurts appear in the works of Arabian scientists, travelers and missionaries in the 9-12 centuries. According to these sources, the Udmurtia was a nation with highly developed economic potential. The branches of production, like fur-trade and craft helped them to develop friendly relationship with neighbours and distant countries. Thus, the Arskaya land started its life on equal terms with other famous Slavic centers, like Veliky Novgorod and Kiev, with starting stages of political system formation.

In 10-12 century, however, the independent process of original development of the Udmurt culture was stopped. It’s true, that by the 12th century, the Arskaya land became a part of the Volga-Bulgaria. It marked the beginning of a centuries old trial for the Udmurts. In the beginning of the 13th century Volga-Bulgaria became a part of the Golden Horde. Under the circumstances of a cruel military-feudal terror, a part of Arskaya land population, those who survived started settling down in the deep woods of Prekamye region.

By the 14th century, Vyatskaya land, a peculiar political organism, the place of inhabitance of the Northern Udmurts, became famous among Russian principality. An intensive Russian colonization of the Vyatskaya land led to a further superseding of Udmurts from their homelands. As a result, the Udmurts for one or two generations had to move to a different place all the time, leaving their households and having to go into dark and wild forests, fighting with nature for a new place to live.

There are some irretrievable changes, that occured in their psychology, and attitude to the world within the ethnic Udmurt character. The nation was broken and it gave birth to self-humiliation and a second-grade sense. Their relationship with stronger neighbours, when the nation was often exposed to insults and injustice, made them withdraw into themselves, retreating into their own world, causing their distrust to strange things. Also they lost flexibility and the ability of adaptation in changing conditions. Obviously, that’s the reason why one tries to forget the Udmurt background. Wanting to become one with stronger ones. First of all, with Russians, but only if they are merciful enough to accept you into their world.

The genealogical fund of the Udmurts suffered great damage too. The most initiative and active part of the Udmurt nation died during wars and rebellions, Tsarist genocide and Stalin’s repressions. Poor farmers were the only ones who went through the historical survival. But “the ” work is going on and on by the famous Udmurt “khoomyshka”(a type of alcohol). Udmurts have always been defending their rights to home brew production, being completely sure that “the koomyshka” is their inheritance from ancestors and the ritual. To stop its production means to betray the faith, customs and gods.

Unfortunately, the methods of Evangelism used here in 1920’s were violent and the Udmurts turned to their pagan gods even more.

But, praise the Lord, through His Son Jesus Christ, He has loved this nationality too, and He wants it them be saved!