Imagine that you are now leaving the parking lot of your local Wal-Mart. Just before you pull out onto the busy highway you notice a single man walking along the highway with a bed role, back pack, and looks as though he has been walking for days. Now imagine that one person and add to it a thousand others. This is most likely the closet imagination we have to what a nomadic people would look like. Unlike the single man you might have imagined, nomadic cultures have plans, they have purpose in their actions, and they have lived this way for thousands of years spanning multiple generations. The man that you imagined may not have been an imagination. We have all been introduced to these various demographics rather or not we live in big cities. However, imagination or not, both have the commonality of stereotyping. Based on our own culture and beliefs we have certain presuppositions about the two groups of people mentioned above. One of the best ways of dispelling the issue of stereotypes is true understanding based on knowledge and truth. Like most of the western culture our first reaction to the individual at Wal-Mart is to ignore it or at the very most, do the minimum that is expected. The nomad has a rich history and even personal story. The people and their culture of Turkmenistan deserve a closer look and are is desperate need of missionary efforts from the Christian church.
History and Language
How far back in history can you trace your family history? Most people can only go about four generations if they are really giving some effort. Most likely in today’s culture young people haven’t a clue to what their ethnic background is. However, in the scriptures we find that it was a very important ideal. The first chapter of Mathew adds credit to the importance of history in the making of a nation. What makes tracing the history of the Turkmen and Turkmenistan difficult is the fact that they are a very young nation. What adds to the issue of history is that it is likely that the people in Turkmenistan had no input in establishing the area. The area that is called Turkmenistan today gained its defining boundaries in 1920 from the Soviet Union. (See fig. 1) and has approximately 345,000 people in its population. Defining boundaries were important to the Soviets to manage political and military control. Prior to Turkmenistan having the definition of boundaries the territory exchanged power struggles beginning from the 6th century B.C. lasting up to the 11th century A.D.. The process began with the Pesian Dynasty of Akhemenids, in the 4th century B.C lasting through Alexander the Great, Parthia, through the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, the Mongol armies of Genghis Kahn, Tamerlane in the 14th century which lead up to Russian control. Turkmenistan was not considered an independent nation until October 27th, 1991.
The Turkmen originated from central Asia and had resided there for centuries. These Turkmen must not be...