How a Samburu warrior opened a door for the gospel in Kenya

‘I learnt that Lord does not often go in for quick fixes. Miracles do happen but progress which lasts he brings about through prayer and patience ... Our God is a God who answers prayer.’ Bob Beak

Turkana, Kenya

Bob and Eileen Beak arrived in Samburu, Kenya in 1956. The red earth, dotted with scrub trees, stretched out flat for miles until Mount Kulal broke up the horizon and hippos and crocodiles wallowed on the flat muddy banks of Lake Turkana. The Samburu people lived in mud huts in hamlets called manyattas. After just a few weeks of language study, Bob started travelling out with Paulo Lekaran, a Samburu Christian, to stay with different clans.

The Samburu people

On one visit, Paulo and Bob met Ramri, a Samburu warrior chief. He had dyed red ochre hair in long braids and wore coloured beads round his arms and ankles. They gave Ramri a Samburu translation of ‘The Way of Salvation’ booklet. Ramri couldn’t read so summoned a fellow warrior to read to him.

A month later, they met again and Bob handed over a gospel in Samburu to an eager Ramri. But Bob’s next contact with him was to hear that he was in hospital, gravely ill. ‘It’s all right,’ Ramri told Bob from his hospital bed. ‘I know I am going to die, but I know that God has made a way for me to have life with him forever in heaven, through what Jesus did for me when he was put to death. I am forgiven.’ Ramri died the next day.

Ramri would never know the impact his short life of faith had. At his funeral, Bob preached the gospel of Jesus so powerfully that the different clan leaders present asked the mission partners to send people to give them ‘Ramri’s message’ and the Suguta Lolmarmar church was planted.

Kenyan evangelist preaching to the Samburu people

Bob also helped plant a church in Merille, on the Marsabit road, just north of Samburu. While that church didn’t last long due to raids by Somali bandits, the strong Crosslinks connections with north Kenya continue to this day.

Today, Marsabit Diocese is the size of England. 60% of the population are Muslim, 35% follow traditional African religions and just 5% are Christian. There are only 18 trained clergy for the whole diocese. Crosslinks supports Jomo Nderitu, the diocese youth and children’s worker, who is responsible for the 53 churches spread across the huge region.

 

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Polly Standring

As the communications content developer at Crosslinks, Polly helps mission partners connect with both Crosslinks and their supporters back home. As well as ensuring Crosslinks' internal communications run smoothly, she also oversees the writing of our external communications, including the Crosslinks blog.