We got up to a beautiful sunrise at about 10:30am. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. No wind. But, the temperature was -35. It felt much cold than the previous day. We awoke to more reindeer meat, more tea and more bread. Many of us had to use the bathroom, but there are no bathrooms in the tundra. So, we just used the outside. We had to be careful because the reindeer CRAVE salt. Guess what’s in urine. We had to strategically walk away from the herd and not look like we were doing our ‘business,’ otherwise they would RUN to you.
We got ready to hand out the Christmas gift boxes at around noon to the few children who were in this camp of three teepees. Then, we had church. One of the men in our group, Boris, preached a wonderful message, then we sang songs, ate again and prepared to head back to Beliarsk. This is the typical food you’d receive in the tee pee — raw reindeer meat, bread, crackers, and tee.
In tee pee living, the woman is the queen of the tee pee. She rules. She sets up the tee pee, keeps the fire going, cooks, takes care of the children, etc. Men are only guests in the tee pee. Their job is to care for the reindeer heard. This particular family owns 500 reindeer. They can sell it for $5.00 per pound, or $10 per pound in the city. The reindeer feed off the tundra, so when all the feed is consumed, they move somewhere else. It takes nearly a day to strike camp, move and set up camp again.
The ride back to Beliarsk was only 3 hours, this time, but still grueling. Each person on our team is sore and exhausted, but truly thankful for the opportunity to explore the world and have a small impact on someone’s life. We arrived back in Beliarsk at around 8:00pm, got warm, ate dinner, had some good fellowship, and traveled two hours back through the winter road to Salehard. It was a great adventure. Now all we have left is sightseeing in Salehard, travel back to Moscow for a little more sightseeing and then home on Saturday.
The tee pee living is quite something. I’m glad you had church among the 3 tee pees. It is really something the women have to work hard. It is wonderful the men can handle the deer. It’s really cute not letting the deer you’re going to do your business. Its a wonder the deer go for all that salt. Nevertheless, despite the harsh conditions, the gospel is being proclaimed.
What A Blessing This Ministry Is!
Be Blessed Beloved Of The KING
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:24-27
Love, Your Brother Joe
God is so great! He asks us to reach every corner of the earth and Russian Missions is doing just that. What a glorious opportunity for MNN to go along and see the power of God at work. Blessings to you all!
Greg-love your blog. Have fun, be blessed and keep those camera batteries warm!
I’m curious about the reaction of the children. It must be very unusual for them to see foreigners.
Sorry… it does NOT look like the woman rules. She is the servant. She does all the work and breaking camp every few days is work. The men just watch the reindeer graze. Or sit in the warm teepee and then go round up the reindeer. Poor Women!
Well, I was there and yes it’s shared work. Taking care of the reindeer — which is how they earn a living — is very difficult work. These men are guests in the teepee, but there’s deep love within the couples we met. These men spend HOURS out in sub-zero temps, traveling miles and miles every day. These women DO rule the roost. However, the work is shared with the other women within the family.
Wow! What a great experience you all had. What was the children’s responses? Are there many believers among the people? Thank you for sharing your experiences.
It was a great experience. I loved being able to see God using nationals to do the work. The kids responses were so wonderful. They were so grateful for the gifts and many were very interested in the Bibles. No, there were hardly any believers among these peoples — but many who were interested.