As a mostly isolated and unreached people group, the Pygmies of East Africa typically don’t associate with other people. There are often relational and cultural barriers built up, preventing a breakthrough of Disciple Making Movement work in this region.
However, we’re seeing God do amazing things as we first take steps of compassion. One of our leaders in East Africa has been engaging with the Pygmies, and we’re seeing fruit!
It began with Giana,* a well-known lady in the Pygmy community as well as one with government work experience. We quickly identified Giana as a person of peace. God used this relationship to build additional connections with the people in these communities who were astonished that outsiders would be interested in getting to know them. They were grateful.
As we continue to find more ways of engaging with unreached people groups, we’ve learned the value of helping them with the challenges they face. As a result, we brought the Pygmies water filters to clean their drinking water and goats for a sustainable source of sustenance. We learned, however, that while we thought they would use the goats for milk and income, they instead roasted and ate them! We regrouped and gave them rabbits because they are small, reproduce in a short period of time, and they require less food.
As we showed up with practical forms of compassion, the people trusted and embraced us, confident that we truly cared about their welfare. Gianna has since started a Discovery Bible Study along with another man, also identified as a person of peace. That man started other groups, and by God’s grace, within one year of engaging the community, there were a remarkable 131 Bible study groups, 97 new church plants, 32 leaders trained, and 450 disciples.
God helped us reach the Pygmies through the Disciple Making Movement, and it’s been gratifying to see them fitting into the larger community and attracting new disciples and leaders. May God continue to multiply and bless this amazing work!
*Names have been changed for security purposes.