A year amongst the Samburu people
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F* is part of a multinational Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team, working amongst the unreached Samburu people of Northern Kenya. They have been there a year now. So how has it gone?
“…we have also had many opportunities to share something of the life of Christ.”
Who do you say I am?
Once Jesus asked his disciples who people said he was. If we were to do a similar questionnaire with the Samburu people, we would usually get the answer, ‘The child of God.’ ‘Great,’ you’re thinking, ‘They’ve got it.’ But probe a little more, dig a little deeper and you realise that this is the only thing they know about him. They don’t know why he came to earth. They don’t know why he died and they really don’t know how they can have a restored relationship with the Living God. This is simultaneously tragic and exciting. Tragic, because, how can it be 2015 and people still have no idea about Jesus? Exciting, because God has put a hunger in their hearts for him and we have the privilege of sharing it with them.
God has been working
J*, from the Samburu TIMO team, shares how God has been working in the lives of their neighbours, the Lenkoyo family.
Over the past 10 months, we have seen how God has been working in the lives of our neighbours, the Lenkoyo family. We have got to know them really well, especially the children who visit our home every day. Many of them attended our Holiday Bible Club in August.
We praise God for the way he softened the heart of the husband. He knew that we owned a children’s Bible in the Samburu language and approached us with a genuine interest to hear these stories since he cannot read. Despite our broken Samburu proficiency, he was a great listener who repeated our sentences as an indication that he understood the stories. We thank God for the amazing privilege to read through the entire children’s Bible with him. Pray with us that this seed would bear fruit some day. Pray for us as we plan to engage in more storytelling within our community.
Sharing something of Christ
It is very early days for us, despite being here nearly a year. We are still in the swampy mire known as language and culture learning, still trying to get to know our neighbours, listen to them and find out their struggles and hopes for life. But in the midst of all this we have also had many opportunities to share something of the life of Christ. We are blessed to have resources in Samburu, especially Luke’s gospel, which has enabled us to bring God’s Word to the people. We’ve shown the ‘Jesus’ film several times in our area to different people which has excited them and helped them to remember some of the events of Jesus’ life. On Sunday mornings, a group of women and children gather under a shady tree to sing songs, pray and hear one of our team read from the Bible and explain it to them. We’ve run a couple of Holiday Bible Clubs with the children. But often it is in the personal encounters that we can share Jesus. A group of children sit on our porch and listen as we read a story. A woman asks her friend on the team what God thinks about certain practices. A man asks a question to one of us about the origin of evil. These are examples of countless opportunities to share little bits of good news to people who are hungry to know.
‘But what about you? Who do you say I am?’ Jesus asks his disciples. It is our hope and prayer that along with Peter, the Samburu will be able to say, ‘You are the Christ, the son of the Living God’ to understand it, embrace it and give their whole lives to him.
* F & J’s names in this article have had to be removed for security purposes. Following the conclusion of this two year TIMO team, both F & J have gone to work in creative access locations with AIM, continuing to be passionate about sharing the gospel with those yet to hear.