There are many ethnic groups living in Siberia. The majority of them follow their own religions, such as shamanism and have never heard about Jesus Christ. OM and other organizations seek to share the Gospel with those, who haven’t heard it yet. One of those ethnic groups are the Shors. They live in hard-to-reach places, surrounded by mountains. They are mainly shamanists. Living in very remote places, often without any means of outside communication, means that many Shor people have no chance of ever hearing the Good News.
Recently OM in cooperation with Wycliffe organized an outreach to the places, where the Shors live, to share hope, we have in Christ, and God’s love. The team, consisting of MDT students and OM and Wycliffe staff members visited several Shors villages.
“To get to one village, you had to go through three mountain passes on a very narrow road. There’s also a river on the way. In summer they cross it, using boats, and in winter they wait until the river freezes”, - shares Alina*, a participant of the outreach. But this river has a current that does not allow it to completely freeze. That’s why the team had to cross the half-frozen river via an improvised bridge made with a boat and boards. The desire to share the Gospel gave them strength to overcome such obstacles.
They spent a night in one village and the next day they had to get to the other settlements. “The night was challenging. The house, where we were sleeping, wasn’t set up for winter conditions and we couldn’t warm it up. It was extremely cold. In the morning we felt despair, and we had a lack of strength”, - recalls Alina. But the team decided to worship the Lord and pray to Him despite difficult circumstances. “When we were singing, we felt encouraged by God and felt His presence”.
The team had yet another challenge to overcome: “We had to get to several villages, but the locals could not help us. And we didn’t know what to do”, – Alina continues. But the Lord miraculously solved this problem. It was the day when the local people received their pensions and all the residents had gathered in one place to receive it. “We were able to distribute calendars with Bible verses in the Shor language, get to know local people, communicate with them and give gifts to residents of other villages. It was God’s miracle and testimony for local people that we are ready to endure extreme temperatures to bring hope to the people”, - says Alina.
Then the team continued their journey to other villages.
“We drove in two cars to the village in the mountain. But one of the cars couldn’t get through the mountain pass”, - Alina recalls. Then they decided to go down and visit the settlement at the bottom of the mountain. “It is a tiny village located in the middle of forest, impenetrable taiga. It would seem that nobody could live there”, - shares Alina. When the team reached this village, they went into one of the houses. “We got acquainted with the owner of the house, talked to her and gave her a calendar with Bible verses in the Shor language”. This woman, Valentina*, was very surprised: “I've been waiting for believers for so long. I miss communication with christians so much”. A long time ago she was in a Russian city, where she visited a church. When she heard the Gospel, she accepted Christ into her heart. But on returning to the village, where no one knows about God and no one supports her, she lacks fellowship. “I read the Holy Scriptures, but I need someone to explain them to me”, - says Valentina. This visit brought great joy and encouragement to Valentina.
While the team was at Valentina's house, she suggested visiting the shaman's granddaughter, who she keeps in contact with. The shaman's granddaughter has problems with her legs and can’t fully look after the house, which is in disrepair. “Even outwardly, darkness emanated from her house. It was hard to look at her. There was no hope and life in her eyes. We talked with this woman and prayed for her”, - says Alina. Many Shors, as this shaman's granddaughter, live with a void in their hearts. Pray that the Shor people will hear the Good News and receive salvation.