I stayed with a national family in the rural north of Kenya, where the Samburu tribe resides, during the summer of 2009. Due to harsh living conditions and frequent tribal warring, expats of any kind are nearly absent. Nearly.
Rick and Carrie Maples, missionaries with AIM (Africa Inland Mission), along with their two daughters, lived in a small cinderblock home in the town of Kurungu. They worked with the Samburu people for seven years, bringing the Gospel into this lost valley through story groups, baptism classes, well projects, and some basic medical care. I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and work with the Maples during my few months in Kenya. In a community where demonic rituals, female circumcision, and idol worship are prevalent, the Maples showed me what it means to bring light into darkness.
Story telling is a vital part of life for the Samburu people, as in many other cultures across the globe. The Maples used Bible stories to introduce God to the Samburu people, showing them His character and His view on sin and what solution He provided through Jesus Christ. Their Bible story groups, which always concluded with the Gospel message, met regularly with committed groups of attendees for seven years. For those who chose to give their lives to Christ, baptism classes began that focused on discipleship and basic Biblical training. In conjunction with the story groups, they also provided basic medical care as a practical method of loving a broken and desperate community. Well projects helped provide water for the Samburu people in this harsh, dry land.
In an extremely lonely and challenging setting, the Maples brought hope into a community of fear through love and service. The Maples chose to live their lives sacrificially in this place where there are so many physical and spiritual needs. They demonstrated their deep love and confidence in Jesus Christ and in His Great Commission to the Samburu people. The Samburu people accepted them as close friends, and the light of Jesus permeated the entire community.
-Written by Laura Newbrander, TEAM Missions Coach
-Photos by Laura Newbrander