Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Pokot People

     Andy just returned from a trip to the Pokot Region of Kenya.  I sat down with him and looked over all the pictures of the trip that a fellow missionary took out in the bush.  Each picture flashing across the screen made me say, "That's my favorite picture."  After many favorite photos, I gave up and just studied the people and surroundings.  In this blog, my hope is to allow the pictures to tell more of the story than my words.  (I want to credit our fellow missionary friend, David Barthalow, with all the photos.  My hubby forgot his camera and so David graciously allowed us to use his gift for picture taking for our blog.) 
    First I will give a tiny bit of background.  The Pokot are a tribe of people found in Kenya.  Their region flows between two countries: Kenya and Uganda.  From our home in Nairobi, you would head northwest and drive about 500 kilometers on not so nice roads. (Understatement!)   The people live very simple and poor lives.  In the area where Andy visited, they have not seen rain in 3 years.  By the pictures I will put up, you can tell they have not had rain.
     Andy drove our Speed the Light car and packed it full of people and rice.  Our neighbor, who coordinates Convoy of Hope, donated the rice packets.  Two Toyota Landcruisers filled with Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) pastors, visitors from America and AG missionaries headed off to a land that was dry physically and spiritually.  The objective of the trip was to access the condition of the few churches that had been recently built and the pastors who moved up to the region to reach the people.
     On the first day of touring, the men went to this church site.  The people managed to get walls up around their meeting place but no roof.  The pastor met the group and told the touring onlookers that they needed sponsors to help finish the roof. 

     This is the area around the church.

 The group continued on in their journey.   

The next church had a roof but the walls were a little less sturdy.

Then the next church had no walls but a roof.  (pull up a long and sit awhile)

     Whenever the troop would arrive in the next village, they were brought into the facility to see the place where church members met each Sunday.  The site was often vacant at first but it did not take long to attract a crowd.

     A woman carrying a baby and a drum began to beat the signal that visitors had arrived.  As she walked around the village, people stopped the chores they were busy with and came to church.  The laundry, cooking, and other house duties could wait since visitors were such a rare treat. 

Before long, the members of the church were singing and enjoying an impromptu worship service. 

     After introductions and a time of fellowship, the men began to hand out the rice.  As I mentioned earlier, it has been 3 years since the people in this area have seen rain.  Only the strongest trees and people can make it through the lean years of drought.  One woman in particular stands out among the crowd.  Elizabeth is her name.  Ten years ago she accepted Jesus as her Savior.  She was 40 years old when her life changed.  The Lord spoke to her and told her to plant 10 churches among her people. 
     The Pokot tribe is unreached in many ways.  In some areas, trucks do not deliver goods, cars do not pass by, and the outside world is only spoken about and not seen.  Elizabeth has a mission now.  She wants to reach her people with the love of Jesus.  Her home is in a city nearby and she is married with children.  The Lord told her to go back to her people and so on certain days of the week, she gets on a bus and takes it as far as it goes.  Then she walks down the dusty, dirt roads from village to village.  Many of the primitive churches that you have seen in the photos are a result of her faithfulness to tell others about God. 

Elizabeth is right behind the children in the pink shirt and blue jacket.

     The one item that Elizabeth would like to have as she walks among her people is a Proclaimer.  The group of men on the trip only had a few with them to deliver to the pastors of each church.  The Proclaimer is a device that is solar powered or hand cracked and it has the Bible recorded.  The people were amazed when the men opened up the machine and it began to speak to them in Swahili.  Most of the people in this area do not have a Bible to read.  The Proclaimer is an amazing tool to help people without the means to have a Bible.  For most, even if they had a Bible, they would be unable to read it because they have never been to school. 
    With that story, I will end this blog.  I will have to make part 2 another time.  The day has become night for me and even though I have many more photos to share and scenes to describe, I must wrap this up.  Between power outages that have kept me from uploading photos and the daily chores of homeschooling and cooking, I have run out of time.  It might not seem like it took all day to upload the photos and write the few lines that I typed out, but alas, it did.     - Stacey


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