The Kalmyk-Oirot are a nomadic Mongolian group. They can be found in places like Mongolia, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan, but China is home to nearly 100,000 of them. Their history is littered with tragedy, as they fled conquering armies and persecution, from one country and region to another. Today, most of the Kalmyk-Oirot in China live in the north-western province of Qinghai. They are often looked down upon by neighboring groups.
The Kalmyk-Oirot have a unique culture, even when compared to related groups. They are nominally followers of Tibetan Buddhism. However, their belief system is unique among other Buddhist groups. They integrate worship of a female protector spirit, who they believe protects them from evil, and they honor every New Year. In addition, they practice a truly unique form of burial, referred to as “burial in the fields.” The dead are placed in a cart pulled by a horse, and wherever the body falls from the cart it is left for wild animals and birds.
There has never been a known church planted among the Kalmyk-Oirot in China, or even any recorded believer. In addition, there currently aren’t any modern gospel materials in their language. There was a bible translated more than a century ago, but it has not been in print for some time so it is difficult to acquire. New attempts are being made on a modern translation of the New Testament. However, there are currently no workers, either Chinese or international, engaged with the Kalmyk-Oirot.
Pray for open doors and receptive hearts among the Kalmyk-Oirot!