When their eldest son was preparing for his Maasai initiation in their village in Kenya, Maria felt hesitant. She talked to her husband. “I told him I was born again and didn’t want anything to do with sacrificing animals or alcohol anymore,” she recalls.
The Maasai community is a tribe of more than 2 million across Kenya and Tanzania. Maasai women are the backbone of their society. They live in polygamous marriages and bear as many children as their spouse wants. Fathers often deny their daughters an education and marry them off early because they view girls as a source of wealth. Domestic work is for the women, while the men are away from home for long periods to find pasture for their cattle.
Through Scripture resources you helped provide, Maria’s view on her tribal traditions started to change. “I joined a Project Philip Bible study in the Maasai language,” she relates. “I liked that the materials connected directly to the Bible. The content is short and simple, making it easier to understand God’s Word.”
Wearing a deep blue dress, fuchsia shawl, and a beaded necklace, Maria doesn’t hide her Maasai ancestry. However, the transformation inside her is genuine. “Reading the Bible made me realize that practicing our traditions has no benefit,” she reflects, “and that we can still make choices and succeed without following old cultural practices.”
Maria adds that God’s Word has spoken to her life. “I love where it says there’s no other God like Him. It makes me desire to live for Him and nobody else. Most Maasai are not educated, cannot read, and lack the knowledge to understand God’s Word. We need people who can translate God’s Word for people to understand His message. We urge Bible League to bring us other reading and writing lessons. These will help our community in life and spiritually.”
Initially, Maria’s husband didn’t want her to attend church or Bible study. But as she kept reading the Bible and practicing her faith, her husband saw her transformation and began to change his opinion. “Amazingly, when I asked him if we could introduce our son to the Christian ways, he agreed,” she says. “He started to understand that if we would follow the traditional rites, we would eventually be lost.”
Like Maria and her husband, many more Maasai are embracing the transforming message of Christ. “We thank you for giving us Bibles and materials in the Maasai language,” Maria concludes. “Many of us are abandoning previous cultural practices. We are now living according to God’s principles found in the Bible!”