Mikhail Chevalkov was a man of great moral courage and integrity. He was a pioneer both in his missionary work and in the establishment of the Altai language as a vehicle for literature. Chevalkov was illiterate until his late teens, when he largely taught himself Russian, yet he became an invaluable translator to the missionaries and to the orientalists who studied his people in the 1860s. He served as a deacon and priest; his work and travels as a missionary took him all over the region. His translations in the Altai language of the Bible, prayer books, religious songs, and service books were published in the 1840s. He became well known beyond the Altai but never lost his humility and modesty.