Making an Impact in Turkanaland

December 9th, 2018 by

This wooden shelter on a patch of dirt may look flimsy, but it is the future home of the Global Teams Turkanaland Women’s Center.

The Turkana are a nomadic people group who raise camels and goats and follow their herds. The arid region in which they live — Turkanaland — is far less developed than the rest of Kenya. Living conditions are harsh for everyone, and the education of women has traditionally been discouraged.

One way that Turkana women help their families to survive in this arid environment is by making handicrafts that are purchased by tourists. Women come to the new center to learn skills such as beading and weaving, but they also learn to read. In addition to being better equipped to provide for their families, they are able to read the Turkana translation of the Bible themselves, to hear the Gospel, and to teach others.

This project, like all Global Teams’ projects, is the result of a partnership of diverse Christians around the world.

Elizabeth Agumba and a Turkana friend
Elizabeth Agumba is a 65-year-old widow, mother, grandmother, pastor, counselor, and the Kenya Country Coordinator for Global Teams. She grew up near Kisumu, a big town in western Kenya. As a teenager, she attended a Christian boarding school in a nearby town, Ng’iya. Two teachers there had a profound influence on her, and she made a decision to follow Jesus. At 17, she received a word from God that she would minister cross-culturally to the Turkana people. She taught at a school in Turkanaland from 1975-1978. Living in the region was challenging, but she learned the Turkana language, taught Sunday School, and made friends in the community. Eventually she moved back to Kisumu and Ng’iya, but she continued to minister to the Turkana people. She gathered together a group of people who were interested in ministry to the Turkana, and they started going to Turkanaland for ministry. Two or three times a year, Elizabeth and a group of about 15 people from Ng’iya make the trip north to Turkana. (It can take from ten to twenty hours.)

Elizabeth and her team started thinking about the need for a center that could serve Turkana women. They started looking for land around Lodwar, the biggest town in Turkanaland. In 2011, a Christian Turkana family alerted Elizabeth to an opportunity to purchase available land. Elizabeth worked with her local church in Ng’iya and raised money to purchase the land. This money was supplemented from a grant that Global Teams received. After the land was purchased, the first project was having a fence installed around the half acre property. A neighbor, Pastor Peikai, had access to water. The team put up a temporary shelter and held worship on Sundays. Now, the first ever kindergarten in this area meets there.

Yvonne North, Global Teams North America Partner Care Coordinator, frequently accompanies Elizabeth’s team on trips to Turkanaland. Yvonne has witnessed how each time the gospel is presented, the message resonates with people, including a few who have the gift of evangelism. She recalls how, on one trip, a young Turkana boy spent time with the men and youth from the team. This boy was saved and called to the ministry, and Global Teams sent him to Bible School. He returned to his village where he reached more Turkana people. Global Teams’ goal is to equip people from unreached and partially reached people groups and mobilize them to share the gospel within their own culture and surrounding cultures.

Your giving now makes a double impact!

You can join field partners who are working in communist countries, Hindu background believers in India, a Bolivian couple serving in the Middle East, indigenous Central Americans spreading the Gospel in the rain forest, and a young man teaching the Bible in Turkanaland, Kenya. With a matching grant from our Board of Directors, through December 31, 2018 your gift goes twice as far!

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About the Author:

Global Teams equips and sends field partners from many nations to multiply disciples of Jesus within cultures least familiar with the Gospel.

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