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— Mark M., FL

Animists in Kenya Find Meaning in Christ

April 6, 2018

Indigenous missionaries bring the gospel into homes throughout Africa.
Indigenous missionaries bring the gospel into homes throughout Africa.

In the midst of a long drought, the birth of a girl in western Kenya had created quite a dispute in her family about what to name her.

On the one hand, due to malnutrition she had been born prematurely, which among the Bukusu tribe called for the name Nambuswa. On the other hand, she cried for long spells during the daytime, which the Bukusu took to mean an ancestral spirit on her mother's side was trying to signal that the child should be named after her (as mothers are the primary care-givers of the young during the day). And there were no maternal ancestors named Nambuswa.

Then one night a prolonged crying fit seemed a sure sign that an ancestral spirit on her father's side was insisting the baby be named after her (as fathers are the primary care-givers of the young at night). The family of animists in a village near Chwele town, on the remote western edge of Kenya, was torn.

The patriarch requested the visitors pray again
and ask for salvation for the entire family.
The ministry team prayed again.

The patriarch, the girl's paternal grandfather Orucho, would have the final say. She would be named after his long-gone aunt Khayanga, whose name was rooted in the tribal word for "sun." The girl's name would be forever associated with the drought.

The next day, native Christians from another tribe arrived with gifts of food, water and other aid for the drought-stricken villagers. They also came with a message, and they asked Orucho if they could share it. Suffering from various illnesses, Orucho was overjoyed at the unexpected aid. He called his 15 children, most of them grown, and his many grandchildren, most of them hungry and in need, to the house of the first of his three wives.

"We shared the good news of Jesus and prayed for the whole family," said the native Christian, director of an indigenous ministry. "Orucho was also sick from ulcers and sugar-related diseases; we prayed for him, and he started feeling okay."

The patriarch requested the visitors pray again and ask for salvation for the entire family. The ministry team prayed again.

"The whole family then made confession of the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and the Savior from their sins," the director said. "We distributed the Swahili Bibles and gifts and invited them to come to the house church that we had planted in a nearby village."

Khayanga's name now would be associated forever with the light of Christ.

In other remote villages the indigenous missionaries visited in recent months, 620 people put their faith in Christ. Training their own evangelists and church leaders, the ministry and others like it in sub-Saharan Africa bring hope and healing to needy children and their families. Please consider helping them to reach remote peoples in their respective countries.

Evangelism and Discipleship in Kenya
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