A MINISTRY OF AFRICA INLAND MISSION INTERNATIONAL
AIM GLOBAL

The Gabbra of Kenya

The Gabbra live in the Chalbi desert in Kenya close to the border with Ethiopia. They raise camels and other livestock. They are semi-nomadic. The Gabbra believe in a benevolent God (Waaqa) who gives rain as he pleases. Animal sacrifices and ritual prayers are part of their religious practices. They believe in “merciless” justice, where grace is unknown and wrongs are righted by payment. Islam is growing in the area by building mosques in each town and promising education and finances.

Pray that the Gabbra would cry out: “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalms 63:1

Workers continue to distribute Treasures (small mp3 players, with a solar panel on the back) among the Gabbra. The Treasure is an effective tool for reaching Gabbra. The herdsmen especially enjoy listening to the Bible while they watch their animals. Pray for those listening to the Bible, that they may hear and see the truth of Jesus and come to find him as their Savior.

Population: 89,000

Location and Background:   The Cushitic Gabbra live in the Chalbi desert along the border of Kenya and Ethiopia, keeping livestock such as camels, sheep and goats. The camel is central to their way of life and economy, and they follow weather patterns to move their herds in search of water and pasture. Their mobile houses are made of sticks, woven mats, skins and cloth, so they can easily move it all on 2-3 camels, while the woman, children, and elderly remain in semi-permanent shelters.

History:   The Gabbra escaped from Ethiopia around 1900 to avoid conscription into Menlik’s army. Traditionally they moved freely across the border, but life is now more difficult as there is less grazing land available (which is semi-arid), and there are more people and bigger herds. Drought always poses a risk.

Culture:   The camel is at the center of their culture and economy, using it for meat and milk as well as transportation. They build their homes, fencing and household items out of palms, grasses, trees and other local materials which can be carried on camels. Moving camp is all considered “women’s work”. Their proverb “a poor man shames us all” explains why their  mutual support for survival as nomads compels them to allow no Gabbra to go hungry, be without animals, or be refused hospitality or assistance.

Religion:   The Gabbra believe in a benevolent God (Waaqa) who gives rain as he pleases. Animal sacrifices and ritual prayers are part of their religious practices. They believe in “merciless” justice, where grace is unknown and wrongs are righted by payment. Forgiveness is possible, but the penalty must be paid. Ancestors are honored, and may rituals are performed with fear of incorrect practices. “Ayana” worship—the worship of Satan and his angels—is a practice increasing among the Gabbra, with the center of worship being at Dabel. The “Yaa” is the high court in each clan, choosing leaders and overseeing all spiritual aspects of the community. Islam is increasing by building mosques in each town and promising education and finances.

Learn more about the Gabbra at Joshua Project or about Kenya at Operation World.

Latest Prayer Updates:

You prayed…He answered

On Sep 26, 2018 you prayed for this request: “The radio ministry is doing well, but so far we only broadcast for 5 hours a day. We’ve had a great response and the biggest request at this time is more hours. So please pray for us as we try to install two wind turbines next month to increase our broadcast time and scope- we hope to boost the signal from 350w to 1000w.
And God answered: “We have put in the foundations for the wind turbines last week and next week by God’s grace we hope to get the turbines hooked up!”

Closing the mosque?!

In one of the communities where fellowship takes place, there are a few Muslims who are questioning why most of the people are claiming to be Christians and they have even been thinking about closing the mosque. Pray that the Christians show them love as they witness to their Muslim neighbors. Pray that those who are seeking for answers will see God revealing Himself to them, and they will believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

Share This