It’s taken 16 years of hard graft, and of overcoming challenges of drought, regional insecurity, and community displacement. But the Ilchamus New Testament was launched last month in a big community event in Marigat, Kenya. And with it came a sense of tremendous anticipation and hope.
It had not rained in the region for several months, but as the launch event drew to a close, torrents of rain fell from the skies. It became apparent that the rains had only seemingly fallen on the dedication grounds. It was like a physical representation of God’s blessing to the Ilchamus people: the life-giving water of God’s word had arrived among the Ilchamus!
The first public reading of the Ilchamus Scriptures was accompanied by shouts of ‘Amen’, as the people affirmed the sense of belonging and togetherness – and a new dawn for the community. The New Testament copies were received with much joy, with some community members holding it to their chests or even kissing it. That’s how much it meant to them.
The venue, Loitip Primary School, was itself significant. As Rev Dr Robert Lang’at, Bishop of Africa Gospel Church of Kenya, recounted: ‘In 2014, on this hill, I prayed over stones, but today here stands a great school for girls on top of this Ilchamus ground overlooking Lake Baringo. As the community receives the word of God in their language today, may it become a light to their feet for a great spiritual, social and economic transformation.’
There is a real sense among the Ilchamus that the arrival of God’s word in their language can be the catalyst for transformation not just in individual lives, but also across the community.
Professionals from the community led by Dr Solomon Letangule appreciated the impact that the Scriptures will have. ‘The launch of these Scriptures is historic. The word of God will help in preserving culture and weed out negative practices and vices that are hindering the community from prospering and progressing.’
The rains have come: may the living waters of God’s word soak the Ilchamus people and transform their community.
Based on the report first published by BTL Kenya.