The lifestyle of Uganda’s Karamajong can be traced back through the generations. Surrounded by a circular wall of bracken, local villages can only be accessed by crawling through a hole which is blocked with thistles each night to deter cattle thieves.
Story and photos by Jill Vine.
The value attached to livestock ownership is also on display during dowry negotiations to secure a bride, with the community’s women emitting joyous shrieks and ululations when an agreement is reached during a special ceremony.
With the help of MAF Uganda's flights to remote Kaabong, the Baptist Mission is however bringing the transformational news of God’s redemption and all-forgiving love to this ancient warrior tribe.
Planting churches on dry ground
Led by Selvin and Laurel Jeremiadoss, the Baptist Mission team are committed to planting indigenous churches among the Karamajong. The vision remains simple but challenging – that each villager will have access to a church where he or she can be discipled. Baptist Mission’s ministry is greatly strengthened by Simon, a Karamajong who became one of the first converts five years ago. A strong leader and a gifted evangelist, his personal testimony of coming to faith has been a catalyst for bringing others to the Lord and ultimately planting three local churches.
We’ve planted two churches in the last six months.
Selvin Jeremiadoss, Baptist Mission
In this impoverished, semi-arid region, Baptist Mission are following Christ’s example of combining words and deeds to communicate the Gospel. Two years ago, the organisation launched a clinic, which is now run by a Ugandan missionary nurse.
As the facility attracts villagers, they are also drawn to another Baptist Mission initiative next door, involving male and female ‘story tellers’ who present passages from the Bible in a way that is easy to understand. This material is being further disseminated by SIM cards, which local people can place in their mobile phone to access additional Christian resources.
Arriving to bring Christian teaching to the surrounding villages, Baptist Mission workers are frequent MAF fliers.
During one such outreach earlier this year, 13 people accepted Christ as their saviour and 17 took the decision to be baptised. 'We are working at building discipleship between older and younger believers. We’ve also just planted two churches in the last six months,' Selvin adds. Pausing to reflect on the partnership between aviator and mission worker, Selvin performs a quick mental calculation to tally how often he flies with MAF during a typical 12-month period. 'It must be about five or six times a year,' he announces.