The Rendille community has always believed that the ‘Bible’ meant for them had been eaten by a camel. This is the reason why they have not had access to the Scriptures in their heart language for a very long time. On 18th August 2018, this narrative changed as they hosted a multitude of guests from Kenya and beyond to witness the ‘Bible’s’ return by their treasured animal, the camel.
Missionaries and partners from USA, UK and South Africa who faithfully supported this project were in attendance to witness this once in a lifetime occasion. Representatives from Kenyan churches, partnering institutions and mission agency representatives with work in the community were also present. A great highlight was a choir from the Daasanach community, which had traversed the Chalbi desert, for a three-day journey in order to be part of the big day. Jeremiah Intimo, the Rendille area chief could not hide his joy as he welcomed all the guests present at the occasion. “We celebrate the coming of the Rendille Bible today. We have God’s Word in our language and I am glad you are all here to celebrate with us.” He also congratulated the translators for the sacrifice and hardwork that they had put in over the years for the Rendille translation.
The greatest highlight of the day was the greatly awaited arrival of the New Testaments, loaded on the backs of camels that made their way through a colorful procession to the venue. There was great celebration and dancing as the crowd witnessed the offloaded cartons of the Scriptures being placed on the table. It had been an over thirty year’s wait. This duration of the translation process was not just silently passing years, as Rev. Peter Munguti, BTL’s National Director, narrated the many challenges that the Rendille translation team faced while attempting to provide the Scriptures in their language. He pointed out that at some point during the translation process, the team was faced with very long spells of drought and famine forcing them to stop the work. “Choices had to be made between saving a dying population and continuing with the translation; the obvious choice was to save the Rendille people
The unending thirst to have the Word of God in the Rendille language was finally quenched. This was evident on the faces of the elderly Rendille men and women as Rev. David Gargule, delivered the first sermon from the dedicated New Testament. Rev. Micah Amukobole in his address noted the changes that had taken place in the community. Among these were the special increases in the number of colours in their attire. Relating this to the occasion, he stated that the Bible had added even more colour to an already colourful congregation. “Thanks to God for an increase in colours. The work may have taken time, but God was developing His people. The Book that the camel had eaten is finally here. Read and believe it. ”
Church leaders from the Anglican church of Kenya and the Catholic Church from Marsabit Diocese gave their remarks in support of the work of Bible translation and the impact it has in the kingdom of God. Marsabit County Assembly through the Speaker, presented the Marsabit County Governor’s donation of Ksh 100,000/ to facilitate Bible translation and literacy work. Over 400 copies of the New Testament were sold out that day, with many local mission agencies pledging to take more for evangelism within the community.
To God be the glory!
Praise God for the availability of Scriptures in the Rendille Language.
Praise God for making the long awaited dedication happen. Praise God for all the men and women who took an initiative to bring this to fruitful. Pray for the Rendille Church to grow in the knowledge of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Pray that the Word will go forth so that God’s people will experience His daily presence in their lives. Pray for funds and plans to start translation of the Old Testament.
by Jackson Vusaka