Word like rain to Gabra desert-dwellers

By Tohru Inoue | Kenya in East Africa

The crows perched on the trees all lean into the wind. The wind here is strong and incessant. We are on the edge of the desert in a Gabra region of northern Kenya. It’s flat and arid with mountains and hills in the horizon.

It’s hard to believe that people live here. I suppose people wouldn’t be in this precise area if it hadn’t been for fighting in the region. Many were displaced from their original homes.

A family we visited said the house he left is still standing, unlike his neighbour’s which went up in flames. He has a four-bedroom house back home but he’s here now and he can’t go back home yet. There are still tensions.

To compound things, the recent droughts in Kenya also decimated his livestock. He had 500 goats, but their numbers were decimated to a mere 10. How does a man like that maintain hope?

“We’re here to tell you that God loves you.”

They were words shared by a church member going house to house to share the Good News.

The words sometimes feel empty. Easily said, and maybe just as easily carried off by the strong winds here. Will the words make a difference? Will they stick?

I read the lectionary readings for that week:

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return
to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish
what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

(Isaiah 55:10-12)


We went up the hills there. The wind was so strong it whipped us back. There, on the summit, the sound rushed by our ears, and it was almost like the mountains were… singing. But not quite.

When the wind blew through the trees, it made the leaves rustle. Almost like they were clapping… But not quite.

As night fell, and the winds were stilled, the Jesus Film lit up the night. The Word sprinkled down like rain from heaven.

Maybe some of the words will stick.

And one day, when the time is right, the mountains and the trees of the Gabra will worship.

Just you wait.


The Jesus Film lights up the desert night in northern Kenya.


•For the Gabra of northern Kenya.

•For the curious who come by night with questions, like Nicodemus in John's Gospel, chapter three.

•For more labourers in the fields of northern Kenya.

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