The Rendille of Kenya
Location and Background: The Rendille live in the Kaisut Desert east of Lake Turkana, as semi-nomadic pastoralists. There are two distinctive groups: the northern Rendille, who herd camels, and the southern Rendille who herd cattle as well, and are related to the Samburu with whom they intermarry—Ariaal Rendille live closer to main roads and have more contact with the outside world.
History: The Rendille are Eastern Cushitic peoples who migrated from the Suez Canal and Ethiopia, moving south to escape rivalry and conflicts over grazing land and water for livestock. Their oral history claims they are of Jewish descent and their Passover-type ceremony called Sorio (“sacrifice to God”) includes the slaughtering of a sheep by the first-born son and putting the blood on their doorposts.
Culture: The camel is their essential animal, and the development of boreholes has allowed them a less nomadic lifestyle. They live in “manyattas” or homesteads of 70-100 houses, and they dress in bright colors and wear beads. The men undergo various rites of passage to bring them into adulthood; young girls are often spoken for at an early age and marry very young. There is a place in every village called “nahapo”. This is a place of watching and prayer with a fire burning that is never to go out. Every night the men of the village meet there at 8:00pm and one man is designated to lead them in prayer.
Religion: The Rendille live between the Muslims to the north and Christians to the south. They rejected Islam since Rendille believe prayer should be made with their faces toward the heavens, not on the ground. They practice a traditional, animistic religion which includes prayer to the moon (which is considered a god), animal sacrifices and worship of ancestral spirits. They also have traditional religious practices that resemble those of Judaism. The name of their god is Wakh. The moon plays an important part in their religion. On the night of the new moon the first-born son of each family blows a horn with an accompanying prayer ritual.
Latest Prayer Updates:
The women of our local church held a meeting after church last Sunday. The officials of the ladies presented the year plan, told the women about conferences and seminars to prepare for financially so they can attend without stress. Right now ladies gather at church 4 times a week to meet, pray, sing, and attend church. But the most encouraging thing was that they told the women instead of continuing to gather at church to pray together on Wednesdays, they should gather in their communities. They were also told to ask women who aren’t attending AIC to join them in prayer and fellowship, and to visit widows, orphans and the sick. The goal is to be a LIGHT and to welcome others into the family of God.
There have been several youth camps over the holiday. 24 youth have accepted Christ. And this week, church pastors and elders from AIC Korr/ Tirrim will lead a youth camp in a (unreached) Rendille village outside of Ilaut where our Korr Rendille have been ministering for over a year now. Pray for much fruit and many new Rendille churches to be planted in the new year.