The Rendille – Learning as I went

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So why did short termer, Steve Titterton bother to go and live with the Rendille? He tells us about Chulayo. Chulayo is a teenager who is zealous for Jesus, but has never really been discipled. Thankfully, he was more than happy to read the Bible with Steve.

Learning as I went

Keep in mind that I am far from being any kind of discipleship expert, I was learning as I was going along. As we met every week to search the Scriptures and pray together, he began to grow in his faith and share his passion with others, in ways that I never expected. The fire began to spread.


The Rendille

The Rendille live in the desert of northern Kenya, and the biggest settlement is called Korr. They are semi-nomadic; those in the north herd camels, and those further south herd cattle. They practise a traditional, animistic religion which includes prayer to the moon (which is considered a god), animal sacrifices and worship of ancestral spirits.


Chulayo met with Steve Titterton every week to pray and study the Bible together.

Within every village there is a place called ‘nahapo’. This is a place of prayer where a fire burns that is never allowed to go out. Every night the men of the village meet there at 8.00pm and one man is designated to lead them in prayer. The Rendille believed that they are descended from the Jews, and as such, also have traditional religious practices that resemble those of Judaism. However, the Jesus film has been having a great impact. There are now believers among the Rendille and even several churches.

Download a prayer sheet on the Rendille

Thinking opportunity

Great ideas seemed to come to Chulayo from nowhere. He joined with five other boys to meet before sunrise to listen to the Bible and to worship, and soon dozens were meeting together. These boys also go out to the villages to preach. Also, from Monday to Friday, during a 30 minute break in lessons, he would gather some of his classmates under a tree and teach them from the Scriptures. Chulayo even gets asked by the Headteacher to lead assemblies for the whole school. In particular, I was struck by Chulayo’s willingness to share encouraging verses with his entire peer group, including many devout Muslims, before the biggest exam of their lives. Everyone else was thinking ‘exam’ and Chulayo was thinking ‘opportunity.’ Would we think ‘opportunity’?

Just like Gideon

Everyone always comments on his smile; he has a face that can light up a whole room. But he has not had an easy start to life by any means. Born into the forgotten desert lands of northern Kenya, he belongs to one of the poorest tribes in the world, the Rendille. His own village does not really even have a name, but identifies itself with the nearby settlement of Nagan. It takes six hours to fetch water and another two for firewood. He is the fifth of seven children. He jokes that he is like Gideon, the weakest boy, from the poorest clan. ‘We have goats, sheep and camels, but they are very few in number.’ Chulayo has virtually no possessions, apart from a few clothes and items for school.

Chulayo wants to be a pastor, because: ‘People need to be saved!’ He may only be fifteen (and a three-year-old Christian), but it’s hard to question his heart for the Lord. I asked him what he liked about Jesus: ‘He died on the cross of Calvary because of my sins and he won the crown for me and you. He overcame death and he is alive.’

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There are so many ways you can be a part of reaching Africa's unreached peoples with the good news of Jesus Christ.