In Kenya, the Massai people have traditionally worshipped tribal deities. Courage and strength have been held in the highest regard amidst their volatile terrain. Recently though, one of our partners has been building a relationship with a tribal leader. Up until now, there has been a great deal of resistance to Jesus’ teachings. Entrenched in tradition and skeptical of the Westernized world, the Massai people weren’t interested. And then Covid-19 arrived.
The Global Impact of the Coronavirus
In the United States, it’s easy to lament the loss of a favorite restaurant or inconveniences in our day-to-day lives, but we can’t forget how truly devastating the impact of the pandemic and the lockdowns have been on the most vulnerable communities, both here and globally.
When the market closed down and the Massai’s access to food became even more limited, the threat of starvation began to permeate the tribe. Our partners came with words of hope and food rations to help ease the hardship. As is often the case, this expression of generosity without any expectations of reciprocation took the Massai leaders by surprise. In an area often fraught with infighting, threats to survival, and harsh conditions, no strings attached offerings are looked upon with skepticism and curiosity.
But for the Massai leader, this was the opening he needed to give our partners the chance to speak about the word of God. He was finally interested to learn of the faith that brought these people to him in his tribe’s hour of need.
For the first time, our partners in the local church were welcomed in and allowed to speak about their beliefs. It’s been shared that the Massai leader sat for an hour in silence, absorbed in the message. They shared that he expressed his wonder of Christ’s love like this:
“I have killed three lions and I have never felt this way.”
The leader’s wonder led to action when he offered a piece of his land for a church so he could further explore and grow in his new found faith.
Courage and Strength
The Massai tribe’s driving values did not have to be abandoned when pursuing their new found faith. Accepting God is an act of profound bravery, especially when it challenges previously held beliefs. The strength comes from choosing to do something about it when God calls.
Accepting Jesus isn’t about abandoning all previously held values, it’s about incorporating them. Through God we can express any virtue. The Massai can still live strong, courageous lives that contribute to the prosperity of their people.
As all of us are confronted with information and situations that challenge our minds and our hearts, we have to remember that the soul can still flourish while we grapple with the struggles this world presents. Courage and strength are something God emboldens in all of us and we have to draw on His perfect expressions of these characteristics as we face whatever is thrown at us next.
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