For over 30 years, TIMO has been a major factor in AIM’s strategy for reaching unreached people groups. But how does it work? One thing is clear; it takes time. So where do you start?
In Uganda, there are still three people groups who are identified as unreached. Eight years ago, we chose the Ik people as the next group on whom to focus AIM’s attention. They live in the north east corner of the Karamoja region, where Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda meet on the edge of the great Rift Valley.
“We’re looking for people with a passion for church planting among the unreached; almost any skill set will fit – from practical skills to health-care to education to linguistics.”
The Ik (called “Teuso” by their neighbours) are a small farming and hunting community squeezed between the large, powerful Karamojong, Toposa and Turkana pastoralist tribes. As well as facing problems with their neighbours, the Ik have struggled to survive in harsh ecological conditions—droughts and floods. Now, they continue to fight against isolation and marginalisation to enter Ugandan national life as a people with their own culture and voice.
With any TIMO team, it is important that there is an invitation from the local community. Teams are only placed when welcomed with the understanding that the team are Christians, who desire to live among and learn both their language and culture. As relationships are developed, so opportunities arise for the gospel to be shared in culturally appropriate ways.
One key step is the identification and appointment of suitably experienced and gifted people to lead the team. Finally, after a long search, leaders have been called by God and plans are underway. The Rauchs are currently working with our partner mission, Diguna. They will begin work among the Ik in 2015, in preparation for the team’s arrival in 2016.
So what next? 2016 still sounds a long way off, but it takes time to select, prepare and send a team of people to Africa. And that starts now. We’re looking for people with a passion for church planting among the unreached; almost any skill set will fit – from practical skills to health-care to education to linguistics. Do you or does someone you know fit that description? As we begin the process of assembling a team and equipping them for service with the Ik, please pray for the Spirit of God to prepare the hearts of the people to receive the gospel message.