Unengaged People Group … the Kenyan Teso

This is a neat story of some work for the Gospel made possible by God connecting a lot of different people…….I love seeing how God works.

A friend of mine, Randy, was investigating the ethnicity and language data available on the people in western Kenya, near the LSH orphanage and he noticed a people group named that Teso that existed along the Ugandan / Kenyan border, southwest of Kitale, the region where the LSH orphanage is.  On the Ugandan side, they are well engaged with the gospel, have a complete Bible and many churches. The data shows that the Tesos of Kenya are only marginally engaged with the gospel.  It seemed ideal that the Ugandan Teso could be helped and encouraged to evangelize their Kenyan relatives.

Questions were asked of Pastor Moses and The Lord’s Ministries (TLM) group that we work with in Kenya about this apparent opening for the Gospel and it was investigated.  Pastor Moses’ associate Pastor Ben visited the border town of Malaba and he met Pastor Godfrey of the Portable Bible Center (PBC).  Pastor Godfrey is a Ugandan Teso who moved across the border to Malaba and established the PBC in Malaba with a mission to train Pastors to reach the Kenyan Teso people.

We met Pastor Godfrey and several students of the PBC during our recent mission trip as we were traveling from Kenya to Uganda.  There are fledgling churches among them established in the past few years of effort.  They are a determined and passionate group.  Pastor Ben, from Kitale, Kenya has been led to adopt the Teso as his mission.  He will work to encourage and help them.  I hope that we can help in some way, possibly providing digital audio media and printed tools through Pastor Ben to help the PBC reach the unreached Kenyan Teso.

“…….I established  there are many  people  who have  a  zeal  for  the   gospel.  This was from  the way I  was received  and  found   out  from  a number  of   Pastors  around.    In   conclusion   brother,  there   is  a   great   task   ahead.    God   bless  you,          Brother Ben – Kenya TESO MISSIONARY”

From Wikipedia….In Uganda, the Teso live mainly in Teso sub-region, i.e., the districts of Amuria, Soroti, Kumi, Katakwi, Ngora District, Serere District, Pallisa, Bukedea and Kaberamaido, as well as Tororo District and Busia District. They number about 3.2 million (9.6% of Uganda’s population). Until 1959, they were the second largest ethnic group in Uganda.  As of 2002 they were the fifth largest.[2]  The Teso in Kenya, numbering about 279,000, live mainly in Busia District, Teso District.[3]  Teso traditions relate that they originated somewhere in what is now Ethiopia and migrated south West over a period of centuries.[4] They were part of a larger group of Nilotic peoples who migrated from Sudan in several waves.  A splinter of this group later formed a branch called the “Karamojong Cluster” or Ateker.  The Ateker further split into several groups, including Jie, Turkana, Karamojong and Teso.[5]  The Teso established themselves in present-day north-eastern Uganda, and in the mid-18th century some began to move farther south. During the course of this latter migration, conflicts ensued with other ethnic groups in the region, leading to the split of Teso territory into a northern and southern part. In 1902, part of eastern Uganda was transferred to western Kenya – leading to further separation of Teso.[4]

Please pray with us for Pastor Godfrey, Pastor Ben, and the Teso people.

Men from the Teso

Men from the Teso at the PBC

Showing the Jesus film as an example of media technology available in Ateso language.

Showing the Jesus film as an example of media technology available in Ateso language.

Greg and Pastor Moses giving a message to the Teso Pastor Trainees

Greg and Pastor Moses giving a message to the Teso Pastor Trainees