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:

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.

No Men Yet

Please pray for a certain Samburu village where many women and children have come to faith in Christ and meet for worship, but no men join them. The missionaries have been praying for over a year that five godly men will become part of the church. Please pray for the Spirit to overcome whatever it is that holds the men back from rising up to join that fellowship of believers.

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