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:
Praise the Lord for Jacob’s recent outreach in a village called Kerenge, where six children who professed faith in Jesus asked to be baptized. Pray for many others in all the villages in Kimatong region where the gospel has been proclaimed to “repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20).
We praise God for all that He is doing among the Laarim! Pray for the 20 Discovery Bible Studies that are meeting in different Laarim villages throughout Kimatong. Pray for Angelo and Loboy who will continue to lead some of these weekly meetings, as well as for the chiefs who have stepped up to lead the gatherings meeting in their compounds. Pray these churches will be truly indigenous, led by the Laarim, and reaching far beyond where we could ever go as missionaries.