The Samburu of Kenya

Population: 240,000

Location: Remote North Central Kenya greatly dispersed between Mt Kenya and Lake Turkana.

History: The Samburu are a Nilotic people who originally migrated from Sudan, settling in Northern Kenya centuries ago.

Culture: Their name comes from their traditional leather bag they carry called a ‘samburr’. They are related to the Maasai. They are semi-nomadic pastoralists, keeping cattle, sheep, and goats. They especially love their cattle. Like the Maasai, they believe all cattle belong to them, and cattle raiding is a major preoccupation. Young unmarried men are warriors, charged with protecting the village from lions and hyenas, as well as raiding other tribes’ cattle.
Both men and women adorn themselves with colorful beaded necklaces and the young men braid their long hair and coat it with ochre.
Elders rule the clan and their curse or blessing is taken seriously.

Religion: Animism. The Samburu believe in a creator god ‘Nkai’. They pray and seek his blessing. Their beliefs are expressed in their traditions and rituals, which they are very careful to follow. It is not uncommon for children and young people, especially women, to report visions of Nkai. A few children gain a reputation for prophecy throughout their lives. Samburu also have ritual diviners, called ‘loibonok’, who divine the causes of individual illnesses and misfortune. Sin has a very restricted meaning and therefore, many would say they have no sin.

Latest Prayer Updates:

2 men!

We have prayed for Samburu men of northern Kenya to come to Christ. There are currently two attending a Bible study in the our living room, while 17-27 women regularly attend. Pray God’s Spirit will work in the hearts of those attending, that they may understand their need for a Savior and Christ’s great love for them. In the last year, we have given out approximately 300 solar-powered audio players called Treasures. Pray that those who have received a Treasure will listen to them and hear God’s voice. Pray they will seek to understand more about Jesus and decide to follow Him.

Bible classes

Some of the women in our church have expressed interest in baptism. In May, a Samburu pastor came from Maralal to explain to the women the meaning of baptism and how our church practices it. He also taught the first Bible lesson for those desiring to be baptized. Since then we have a Bible class in our living room almost every Saturday morning. Usually twenty or more women and two men attend. We are excited that some may be ready for baptism this fall. It is especially exciting that one man has faithfully attended the meetings. Pray that God will open hearts and minds to hear and understand His Word. Pray that God will call some to follow Him whole-heartedly and make their commitment to Christ known through baptism.

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