The Laarim of South Sudan
Location and Background: Also known as the Boya or Narim, the Laarim are a Nilotic people living in the Boya Hills. It’s a rugged and hilly terrain with rich savanna, high grasslands and scrub bushes. They live in small settlements, with the main town being Kimatong.
History: The Laarim are close relatives of the Didinga, Murle and Tenet. They believe they came from Ethiopia in the 18th c as part of a group that separated from others because of a dispute over gazelle soup. Cattle-rustling continues to fuel hostilities with the Toposa, and efforts for peace and reconciliation have borne no fruit, though they continue to look for ways to end the long-standing conflict.
Culture: Social and cultural life is centered around cattle, with livestock being their only known natural resource. They breed them, eat their meat, use them as dowry to get a bride, drink their blood and milk, and sleep on their hides. Raiding and stealing of cattle is a question of honor and valor. The do also grow some food, and also hunt and fish. Hereditary chiefs are highly respected. The Laarim share the same rainmaker as the Didinga and perform rain-making rituals in common. The culture is patrilineal, with strong ties of community solidarity. Initiation rituals are followed for passing into adulthood, and dowries are paid for brides.
Religion: The Laarim practice Africa Traditional Religion with some Catholic influence. They are highly aware of spiritual forces, and believe in a supreme being who controls all of life, including the health of their cattle. They believe spirits of their departed ones roam the earth and they can communicate with them through prayers and offerings which they perform collectively in designated ritual places.
Latest Prayer Updates:
One 8 year old girl, Nawuyo, who accepted the Lord as her Savior and was baptized 6 months ago, has been sharing her new joy in Jesus, and the Bible stories which she is receiving weekly. Through her witness others in the village have also chosen to follow Jesus. Last week another 11 people from her village were baptized. Pray for continued multiplication of believers in this community which is very open to the gospel.
One of the Laarim believers, Logwe, has been blind since an infection attacked his eyes when he was a child. Recently a Christian doctor offered him hope that perhaps his vision could be restored to give him “navigational vision” by laser surgery. However, upon arrival the ophthalmologist’s further studies revealed that there was nothing available to restore sight. Although disappointed, Logwe still steadfastly clings to his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has already witnessed to many in his village, composed multiple songs in the local traditional style, organized believers to meet regularly, and recently assisted in baptizing a group of new believers. Pray that his limitation of physical blindness will actually be redeemed by Jesus to enhance his spiritual vision and bring glory to God.