|The Nenets minority group has a population of around 45,000 people. Half of them live in Russian-speaking villages, while the other half are nomadic reindeer herders who live on the tundra and speak the Nenets language. Translating the Bible has been a complicated process, but today four books of the New Testament are in print, while others are in progress. OM East also published and illustrated two Bible storybooks.
‘Then I understood the meaning of light’
“I moved to Arctic Russia during December, the darkest month,” Elena recalled. “One day when I was testing translations, the electricity suddenly cut out. We sat without light all day. It was dark! Then I understood the meaning of light.” For Elena this experience of the Arctic winter darkness is a picture of life without Jesus Christ. Her desire is for the Nenets to know Jesus as the light of the world.
“I want every Nenets child to have a Bible,” she says. Over the past years she has distributed thousands of Bible storybooks. Wherever she came, the children took more interest in these Bible storybooks than in the chocolate she brought.
Their nomadic lifestyle makes it difficult for the reindeer herders to carry a collection of Christian literature. “They don’t have extra things – just the minimum,” Elena explains. “They have one pot, one kettle, and they don’t need a freezer!” However, they do have mobile phones. Her solution is to develop publications into applications so they can be stored on mobile phones, also allowing individuals to listen to the text. OM East plans to help provide these resources digitally.