MAF was able to fly with our Norwegian MAF representatives to visit the Baptist Mission’s project in Kaabong. The clean air and desert colours of Karamoja, splashed with pink flowered trees made me think of all of the diverse traits of Africa that I love..one part is verdant and laced with jungle and water, another, arid and harsh, but with a photogenic beauty that is stunning. It reminds me of our God who is varied and many-faceted, who gave us variety in seasons, countries and also in people, each with some reflection of His character if we look long enough.
Baptist Mission is one of our partners who have been forming a strong relationship with the Karamojong in Kaabong. The people are similar to their environment… strong and resilient being from an ancient warrior tribe.
The Baptist Mission team, led by Selvin and Laurel Jeremiadoss, took us to one of the villages they have been in relationship with.
We arrived on a day when one of the villager’s family were receiving the bridal dowry owed to their groom. The groom’s families were surrounding the outside of the village while the bride’s family sent out the livestock they’d been waiting for. Many of the women let out their signature melodic shriek in celebration of this event.
We then entered inside the village via a small hole which you had to crawl through in order to enter the carefully designed village. We discovered a fascinating confined world of food pods and huts surrounded by more walls made of bracken with other holes you needed to crawl through to enter the very heart of the village… the centre ring where the Karamojong keep their livestock safe from cattle thieves. At night they block the holes with thistles to ensure cattle thieves can’t easily bust in without being discovered.
This age-old tribal way of life reminds me much of the parallel Jesus spoke of when he talked about the wolf and the sheep. Interesting that the way into the safe haven was through such a small hole you were required to bend down without carrying any burdens to enter in, much like the Eye of the Needle Gate in Jerusalem. It made me think about ‘The Way’ being small and narrow, but also that ‘He who saves his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for His sake will find it’.
The Baptist Mission have been bringing this same life changing gospel of coming empty handed to the cross to these remote villagers in Kaabong. Many are coming to God through the testimony of one of their first converts, Simon. Simon began working alongside Baptist Mission 5 years ago when he first became a Christian. He has been a catalyst for planting 3 churches and is a strong evangelist and leader, helping bring his fellow Karamojong to the Lord. Baptist Mission’s vision is to allow every Karamojong access to a church and to help disciple them.
A few weeks ago MAF helped fly in team members for training that was offered to a neighbouring village. 13 came to the Lord and 17 were baptised. Selvin commented, “We are working at building discipleship between older and younger believers. We’ve also just planted 2 churches in the last 6 months.” He went on to describe how they began a clinic 2 years ago, now run by a Ugandan missionary/nurse. Many villagers are being drawn through its doors. Baptist Mission is also incorporating ‘Bible Story Tellers’ who are presenting a ‘Story Together’ project which is also hosted next door to the clinic. “We have 8 men and 8 women who are the ‘Story Tellers’. We’re also using local sim cards to spread the bible stories via villager’s phones.”
When teams fly in for training offered by Baptist Mission, MAF often fly Baptist Mission various time in a week. Selvin mentioned flying back and forth with MAF 5-6 times a year at least and explained how economical and safer it is for him than going by road.
Please continue to pray for the ground breaking work of Baptist Mission, particularly for the churches to grow stronger with Karamoja leaders at the helm who are attempting to bridge gaps between the younger and older generations through accountability.