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Feb 2, 2007

Lifting Our Eyes

"I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from?" Psalm 121:1

ik.valley-children

According to Lewis Thomas, two "disas­trously conclusive things" happened to the Ik people of northern Uganda: the govern­ment chose to have a national park in the valley where they lived and hunted, push­ing them up into the mountains to farm the poor hillside soil, and they were "visited for two years by an anthropologist who detest­ed them and wrote a book about them." *

The Ik (rhymes with stick) now num­ber more than 10,000 and live high in the mountains in the northeastern corner of Uganda. They are a peaceful group, but are poor, isolated, and oppressed, surrounded by tribes known for violent cattle raiding.

The Ik have only a few small Catholic churches (without buildings), no pastors, no Bible teachers, and of course no Bible. Just 25% of the children go to school and we are not aware of one Ik person who has attended university. And most Ugandans are ignorant of their existence. But there is good news.

Several mission organizations, including a newly formed indigenous Uganda mission organization, Africa In­land Mission, and Wycliffe, were recently part of a scout­ing trip to Ik land to see how they might approach the work together to serve and minister to the Ik people. It is exciting to watch these organizations recognize a need and work together to map a way forward.

While there was one who may have detested the Ik in his visit forty years ago, there are now several groups who love them to­day, and are seeking the best strategy to reach them. Pray for the Ik as they lift their eyes to God and wait. We all think they've waited long enough.

* The Lives of a Cell (1974) in reference to Colin Turnbull's The Mountain People (1972)

 
 
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