Introduction / History The name "Kyrgyz" means "the descendants of 40 maidens." The flag of Kyrgyzstan has 40 sun rays to represent this heritage. Although they are related to the Kazakhs and other Turkic peoples of the region, the Kyrgyz look very much like the Mongols.
Where are they located? There is a Kyrgyz diaspora that is mainly in other Central Asian nations and Russia, but a small number have migrated to Italy and other countries in the West. Many of the Kyrgyz people in Italy live in Milan, a city in Italy's north.
What are their lives like? There is an award-winning Kyrgyz club in the US, Germany and Italy that promotes charities and Kyrgyz culture. It unites the Kyrgyz people into one community.
Music, dance and story-telling are important parts of the Kyrgyz culture. Verbal folklore has been very well developed over the years. The Kyrgyz have the longest oral epic in the word entitled "Manas." It contains 100,000 lines of verse. They sing folk tales accompanied by a three-stringed guitar called a dombra.
Kyrgyz women enjoy more freedoms than do most other Central Asian women. For example, they are not required to wear veils. They are allowed to talk to men.
What are their beliefs? Consecutive waves of Islamization have taken place since the Arabs first invaded Talas in 751 when many Kyrgyz tribes were still in Siberia. Northern nomadic tribes were able to skirt many of the Islamic traditions until recently. Within the last 200 years, the majority of the Kyrgyz people converted to Islam. Currently, in Kyrgyzstan there is an effort to bring the Kyrgyz people to a more orthodox form of Islam. Since 1990, over 3000 new mosques have been built in Kyrgyzstan. This movement is not affecting the Kyrgyz who live in Italy.
Soviets were never able to change the Kyrgyz beliefs, even though they tried a number of methods including changing the alphabet, outlawing religious activity, and propaganda.
Today, most Kyrgyz still consider themselves to be Muslim, although shamanism is a powerful force among the Kyrgyz people, even those who have left the country. (Shamanism is the belief that there is an unseen world of many gods, demons, and ancestral spirits. Many Kyrgyz people still turn to mediums and seers to cure sickness with magic, communicate with powers and control events. Almost all Kyrgyz believers have to go through a breaking of demonic powers over their lives once they decide to follow Christ.
What are their needs? Kyrgyz people in Italy need to be trained to work in the 21st century. They need skills to work in an urban environment. Their background, which is rural, does not prepare them for life in the cities of Italy.
Prayer Points * Pray that God will provide finances for training materials in the Kyrgyz language.
* Pray that the Kyrgyz people would renounce the forces of evil that possess them through the occult.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers to the Kyrgyz and other Muslim peoples in Italy.
* Ask God to grant favor and wisdom to mission agencies focusing on the Kyrgyz.
* Pray for effectiveness of the JESUS Film among the Kyrgyz in Italy.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts towards believers so that they will be receptive to the gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Kyrgyz people in Italy.