One major challenge in sharing the gospel among the unreached Laarim is that less than 1% of people are literate – they simply haven’t been given the chance to learn.
As the Laarim are interacting more with the world outside of their communities, more resources are being created for learning literacy and more parents and children are seeing the value in attending school. Nevertheless, the cultural priority of cattle-rearing, means that for many children that takes first place.
“This ministry holds potential for the spread of the gospel…”
Delight in learning
For the boys who care for the sheep and goats (likely ranging in age from 10-15), my fellow-worker Jacob Borgelt from AIM USA is regularly holding a basic literacy class. It occurs as and when a group of boys are free from their responsibilities and the class size can range from two boys to twenty. Jacob writes vowel sounds on a blackboard and then puts them with consonants to form basic Laarim words. The boys are delighted as they slowly pronounce the sounds and then realise that they have said a word they recognise; Jacob and I have been really surprised at the zeal they have had for learning. This ministry holds potential for the spread of the gospel as there are already five translated Bible books available in the Laarim language; there is simply a lack of people able to read them.
The role of women
The young girls and women of Laarim have so many expectations of them in bringing water, firewood, cooking and countless other chores. There are very few girls in school for this reason, in fact, many parents will not send their girls to school because of the dowry they receive when the girl is given in marriage. They fear if a daughter is educated then she will go off to the town and they will never receive cows for her. There is a stronghold of subjugation of women in this society which we continue to pray will steadily be lifted.
Being able to engage with the written word of God is such a precious gift that we so often take for granted, pray with us that more Laarim people would have opportunity to receive this gift for themselves.