Songs of hope in a heart language
April 2021

Among the Buryat in Siberia, it’s the older generation that’s coming to Christ. 

“In the Buryat culture, elders have authority over the young,” explains Daniella, who worked among the Buryat for 12 years. “If a young guy is the first one in the family to become a believer, he will be mocked. But if grandma and great aunt and uncle become believers, the younger ones will pay attention. That’s what God is doing now! There are lots of elderly believers, and they are very active in evangelizing others.” 

Some of these elderly folks have drawn closer to Christ through a project that’s been in the works for years: the Buryat Praise Workshop. 

In 2013, Daniella and three others started a music group to help their Russian church feel more welcoming to Buryats. 

“There is a misconception that you have to become Russian to be a Christian,” Daniella said. “We wanted to show that this is not the case!” 

But most of the songs at that time, even if they were performed on Buryat instruments, contained lyrics translated from other cultures. The Buryat needed their own songs, in their heart language, to connect with the influential older generation. In 2018, the Praise Workshop was born, to write, perform and distribute these songs.

“Writing a new song is a very long process,” Daniella says. “We have to persevere because there are five dialects in the Buryat language, and not all the members of the Praise Workshop are fluent. Also, there is no complete Bible translation into Buryat. We have a lot of discussions about fundamental questions like how to translate terms like ‘God, Jesus, sin, blessing, and resurrection.’”

The Praise Workshop singers and its children’s choir have now recorded six music videos, releasing them on YouTube and social media channels, where they’ve been viewed more than 25,000 times, mainly by people in Russia and Mongolia. 

We might never know the full impact of this music, but we do know that in one family, three sisters came to trust in Christ after hearing these songs and watching the Praise Workshop videos!    

The Praise Workshop, which includes musicians, an adult choir, and a children’s choir, reflects unity in diversity among God’s people. 

“We are from up to 10 different churches and at least three denominations,” Daniella said. “We have mostly Buryats, but also some Russians and two Westerners. This is a true miracle we didn’t even dream of even five years ago!” 

Click here to see other Praise Workshop videos on their YouTube channel.

Read other stories of how God has provided and his people have persisted in our 2020 Annual Report

We welcome you to Eurasia, a land where we see God bringing people out of the darkness of their Communist past and into his glorious light! Learn more about SEND’s teams in Eurasia.

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