Pray for the unreached Digo people

Who are the Kenyan Digo?

The Digo are an East African tribe, concentrated on the southern coastal strip of Kenya between Mombasa and the border of Tanzania. They have gained income through trade with Muslim Arabs as well as farming and fishing. Their principal crop is ‘manioc’, a small shrub with thick roots that are eaten like potatoes. They also grow sesame, corn, rice, and beans. ‘Palm wine’ is a popular drink produced from the palm tree. 

What do they believe?

Islam is widely accepted among the Digo but tied in with traditional practices, such as animism and ancestor worship. Blood sacrifices are very significant to the Digo, especially in the exorcism of evil spirits and witchdoctors are also consulted regularly. Most Digo people only have a superficial knowledge of Islam’s principles and doctrines. Although they know no religious significance for wearing the black veil, Digo women wear it to show respect for their husbands.

What is being done to reach them?

The entire New Testament was successfully translated into Chidigo, the language of the Digo people, in 2005, and now there is a need for literacy training to put the gospel in their heart language to use. An AIM Focus team has just ended among this people group. Some of the team are returning to carry on the work of reaching the Digo. There are several small churches of Digo believers meeting across different villages.

Prayer from AIM’s Daily Prayer:

Emily Bushell is a short term member serving alongside a team amongst the Digo in Kenya. She writes “Mama H and Mama S work next door to me. They and their children are constantly in and out of my house. I long for their families to know Jesus. The barriers for them are their hearts and wider family. Constantly they have had Christians in their lives but something isn’t shifting. They point out the difference Jesus makes. The other day I had opportunity when asking Mama S some questions to explicitly share that we can never pay off the debt our sin racks up by good works – we need someone with spiritual riches and a blank slate to do it for us. That is Jesus. The next day when I asked her to practice reading a Bible verse in Swahili with me she expressed that she would never be a Christian. I left it, instead of probing why. Pray that this naturally comes up though. Pray that the Lord would soften her heart and that she wouldn’t clam up over the subject of Yesu. Mama H is more receptive but there is still something in her heart holding her back. Pray for transformation. She sits with us and tells her story, how she ended up where she is now. She has recently started her own business but it is struggling. We help her a little but the greatest help for anyone is not business advice or financial assistance but the saving grace of Yesu. Pray that this grace would slice through their beliefs.”

Emily is a short term member serving alongside the Digo TIMO team helping with home-schooling. She writes of her recent experience meeting a Digo believer “She became a Christian after missionaries came when she was a small child. They helped her get healing from an infection. And this began her personal journey. She faced family difficulties yet from a young age has declared that she will never leave Jesus because even if you kill her you can’t take him away. She is a Digo. This is the reality of many Digo Christians. I also got to visit a Digo led and congregated church. This is a small village church whose Pastor risks his life daily just by remaining in the area with his wife and kids. But he knows God’s presence, God has spoken to him in many ways including the dream that led him to follow Jesus in the first place. Beyond what I can bring to this community are those Digo who are already Christians. They have left Islam whether they were following it fervently or nominally and they face a challenging life but they know God, they know the cost and the blessings and they know how to relate to their neighbours far better than I. Please pray for me to know how to witness well to my neighbours but also for the local Christians here. I am teaching the American kids, getting to know my neighbours, visiting other areas, open up my home for kids’ ministry each Saturday, have been visiting the SEN school and meeting with friends for tea. Please pray for intentionality and fruitfulness in my moves.”

Suzanne is a short term missionary on the Digo Focus Quest team. “Before I set off for this trip, I felt that some of its purpose was to give me more opportunity to grow in my relationship and dependency on my Heavenly Father, and to learn to listen to his voice more, especially with regards to my future decisions about whether mission in Africa is where God wants me to be for the long term. He has definitely put me with people who have shown me what this looks like and as a result I have learnt more about the power of prayer, faith and the Holy Spirit… I thank him so much for his faithfulness and the people I have come across during this trip and the joy of true Christian community. I now have more of a realistic view of what it is really like to leave your friends and family and move overseas to an unreached people group, who speak a different language, wear different clothes, eat different food, think a different way and live in a different culture and climate. I am better prepared for what it might cost long term but never as much as what it cost Jesus himself!” Please pray for Suzanne “that I will be able to discern and listen to what plans God has for me next, and for an open heart that does not fear being vulnerable and is humble enough to keep learning.

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