Leif and Jami G. and their three kids recently moved from the city of Ulan-Ude to a small village populated by Buryats. Tibetan Buddhism heavily influences this unreached people group’s religious beliefs. Our team in Siberia engages Buryats with the message of Christ through community outreach, English classes, and cultural exchanges. Click to explore opportunities to serve with them.
By Jami G. in Siberia, Russia — A dozen people gathered around the table at our English Club, talking about Jesus and his ascension. This was the last week of the school year, wrapping up a series on the life of Jesus. In this club, we help people with their conversational English and at the same time study the Bible together. This particular group of advanced English speakers was able to talk about deep ideas and heart matters.
Erzhena* has been coming to our English Club on and off throughout the year. She is a Buddhist and goes to a lama at the Buddhist temple when she needs direction for her family. In the past she has shared that she believes there are many religions but only one God. She wears a red thread necklace as a reminder to follow the Noble Eightfold Path (a set of key Buddhist practices) and to practice compassion.
On this particular day, Erzhena shared about one of her Buryat acquaintances who had had a dream about Jesus coming down to her. The dream had been very real, and afterwards, this lady knew deep down that Jesus is God. Erzhena shared that as the woman talked with her, her “eyes were alive.” She saw the other lady’s countenance and how joyful she was. Then Erzhena asked the question, “Why can’t I meet him, too?”
A couple of weeks later, Erzhena shared about another encounter she had with a believer. She was in a small village and met a man who sang a praise song to God. She could tell that there was something special about him by looking into his eyes. She knew right away that he was a good person.
We’ve noticed that often Buryat believers will have a powerful story about a dream they had about Jesus as a part of their personal testimony. It is also makes an impact when Buryats meet other Buryats who are Christians. Please pray for the Lord to continue to work through dreams and visions. Pray that more and more Buryats would become followers of Jesus and that they would shine His light brightly to the people all around them.
- We’ve gathered resources about interacting with Buddhists and engaging them in spiritual conversation on our Path to Peace page.
- Intro to Buddhism: A three-part series covering basic Buddhist beliefs, symbols and traditions, and how to engage Buddhists in meaningful spiritual conversations.
- ‘Your God answered our prayer’: Surely he who parted the Red Sea could clear a Siberian fog away to delight a band of weary hikers and show his might.
- When God draws your neighbor near: Our worker wasn’t sure the time was right to start inviting her brand-new Buddhist neighbor to a Christian camp, but God made the answer clear.
- Don’t miss a story in the Path to Peace series! Sign up to be notified each time we post on this blog. (Just enter your email at the bottom of the page on mobile or in the upper right corner on your computer).
* Not her real name