WHAT NEXT AFTER MARSABIT? BY SHARLEEN KIPTURU

(Last Updated On: October 7, 2015)

The land was bare, except for few shrubs scattered here and there. It was ridiculously flat, that you saw the end, literally. There was no hill to cover the sight. I wondered where people lived. Later when we visited the manyatta, I realized that their houses camouflaged the surrounding such that you could not spot them from a distance. It was not the roofing sheet that helped you spot a house. There was nothing. Everything was not normal. Women walked bare-chested with changa that decorated their heads and necks and shoulders. Small kids ran toward us with joy in their faces, and clothes that barely covered their bodies. With curiosity, they giggled as they murmured with a strange language. We could not answer. We just stared at them, then faced each helplessly. That is when reality hit home. This was a mission field- a cross cultural mission we had gone to.
Perhaps like me, most of you had never attended a real mission like me. We always go for evangelism since most of the times we go for missions to reach an already reached people group. Well, let me define some terms here, lest I lose you. A reached people group is a people group with a growing number of churches able to evangelize their own people without cross cultural help. So in essence when we go to Nyahururu, Eldoret or even Mwingi, we are going to a group that is reached. The tribes around Marsabit though, are least reached people groups. They do not have a viable indigenous church. They cannot reach themselves without cross cultural help.
I was among those people who prayed to be given the furthest station possible. I wanted the ‘real’ experience. I wanted to know the reality of a mission field and to know what culture shock was. Well, that night when the Mission’s Coordinator told me they had disbanded my station and I was due for an allocation, I prayed harder. My prayer was answered and I was placed in Kargi.
As we boarded the Lorry to Kargi, I was all smiles, as I sang in my heart the commission song; “Here I am Jesus, bowing down before you…” 5 hours later, I was in Kargi, sick, tired and hungry. I began to contemplate the song that was asking Jesus to send me. The scorching sun did not help the matters. Even my light clothes seemed heavy. I imagined myself settling there as a missionary and a war began in my stomach. It made me weak just thinking of it.
Over the next few days, as we interacted with the locals, I realized how incredible they were. They openly welcomed us, and made us changa as they adopted us. I remember going to one manyatta where a small girl, about 4 or 5 sang a chorus. I was deeply moved that I was sniffing back tears literally. I was not crying out of joy though. Every time I thought about this wonderful girl singing, I thought about the early marriages and the female genital mutilation. What if before her 9th birthday she was given off to marriage? What if her innocent laughter was going to be ripped off from her? What if no one gave themselves to protecting her future and it just goes to drain? It haunted me. Her mother coincidentally adopted me [she is my sister now].
That one week was not enough. As we bid the friends we had made goodbye, something had changed. An attachment to that place had formed, and for some of us, our purposes in life redefined. I waved fighting back tears [I am not good with goodbyes].
So, what happens next? Will it just be another mission we went, which will be part of the statistics? You see, as we were being trained in preparation for that mission, it was made clear that one week was not enough. That it would just help create awareness on the need to reach out to the least reached people group.
There is an urgent call to heed the Great Commission. You might say, “But I am a student.” So am I. but I know we can do something as students, as youth to impact the lives of those people. One is to pray. You don’t have to be on the ground in order to pray for a mission ground. You can pray wherever you are, especially now that you know the state of the place and can even mention a few names. You can also give to support the missionaries that are on the ground. I remember well how bad it felt to see young girls and even women go almost naked because the clothes they had were torn. Most of us have clothes in our wardrobes that are doing nothing. If we came together, we can be able to help these dear ones.
When God calls you to go there, do not hesitate to heed the call. You can go as a full time missioner, a short term missioner or even a tent maker. Lastly, think of ways of helping our dear young brothers and sisters to achieve their dreams and to witness the goodness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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