For over nine years, AIM has been praying for the 7000 unreached Ik in Northeast Uganda, with the desire to place a Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team amongst them and tell them the good news of Jesus Christ. But why bother with such a small and forgotten people?
From every side
For many years and for many reasons the Ik have been marginalised and forced up onto a tiny ridge in Northeast Uganda. Any closer to the edge and they’ll fall the 3,000 feet down into Kenya. Just north of them is the Kidepo National Park and in the south, the Timu Forest. Both are rich in resources and protected by the government, which means the Ik are continually at risk of being banned from accessing these areas. They are also caught up in the ongoing cattle raids between the Kenyan Turkana in the east and the Ugandan Karamojong from the west. As a result, they are often beaten, killed, raped and plundered. Everywhere they turn they face opposition. Their weakness, isolation and vulnerability has also meant there is poor healthcare, extremely low educational levels and a massive problem with alcohol. Yet the biggest concern is that they have believed the lie that in the face of the worst of life, there really is no hope. And that just isn’t true.
Last September, a survey was carried out to obtain the local leadership’s approval for a TIMO team to work amongst them. One of the TIMO team’s values will be to share the Ik’s identity by living amongst them. What’s instantly obvious about the Ik is their strong community values. They live in small clusters of houses called manyattas, with their homes and protective fencing made from African Juniper. They provide great protection from the outside and a strong sense of family within – so it was a great answer to prayer that the Ik leaders were open for a team to come, live amongst them and share their lives with them. We were also excited that Team leaders, Christoph & Heidi Rauch from Germany were able to locate an area to build their home and agree with local land owner, Angarab Zachary to build a house there.
Lights on a mountain
It’s exciting to see progress being made to reach the Ik, but why have a vision to see a small, vulnerable and forgotten mountain people reached at all? Let us not forget the beauty, pattern and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God so often uses the small things to show us he’s big, the vulnerable to demonstrate his strength and the forgotton to make himself known.
Please join in praying that God would shine in the hearts of the Ik and give them the light of the knowledge and glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Photos from the survey
In September 2014, Joe Morgan and Peter Root from the AIM Europe office were part of the survey team to the Ik. Here are a few photos from the survey.