Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another Story of Legacy

I met Magala (on left) 32 years ago.

In the early days of my work in Pokot I would preach three times each Sunday in three different villages. First stop was in Makutano, where Paul became a follower of Christ and eventually the pastor. I’d travel 2 hours from my home to Makutano, finish the service around noon and then I would then drive to a small village off the escarpment called Mtempur. Under a tree I would play my mandolin and speak to the few who were curious. Nothing came of that work.

I’d be in Mtempur from about 1 to 3 p.m. and then travel on to my last preaching point, which was another 30 miles down the road in a town called Kacheliba. I actually would sing, (Moto), play my mandolin and preach in the center of town. I look back at those days and wonder what possessed me to do such things. I usually arrived home after dark each Sunday, bone tired, covered with dust from being on the road and in the village all day.

One Sunday afternoon in Kacheliba, after my message, I asked if anyone wanted to become a follower of Christ. Magala came forward, knelt at my feet with his hands folded and his head down. I took him by the shoulder and told him he didn’t have to kneel before me as that was a Catholic practice, but on that day Magala became a follower of Jesus.

Magala has an interesting story; much of it is in my dissertation. His wife refused to embrace his faith and a few years after his conversion she left him. About five years later Magala took a much younger wife and he now has a total of eleven kids, ranging from age 30 to 9 months, not bad for a guy over 60. Though a herder and uneducated, he is one of the few Pokot who are moving away from the traditional ways of this semi-nomadic tribe and doing all he can to make sure his children go to school. He told me last month that he has had to sell a lot of cattle these past few years to pay for school fees, a huge indicator of a worldview shift.

Magala’s compound is about seven miles from the town and of course he must walk everywhere as he has no car or bicycle, so he doesn’t make it to church every Sunday. Yet, after thirty-two years Magala continues to serve the Lord, as an elder in the church and a witness in the community.

When he was baptized he took the name “Richard.” In Kacheliba he is still called Magala and I’m still called “Moto.” I’m very proud that my old friend is still following the Name of Christ after all these years.