Can goats come from sheep? The answer is “yes,” when the sheep are God’s people!
You may recall that Heaven’s Family provided several tons of food last year for hundreds of Turkana tribal believers suffering drought in northern Kenya. Our Turkana family literally danced with joy for God’s lifeline of provision, but when the last kernel of corn was consumed, they were back to where they began, once again facing unrelenting poverty.
It was time for a better strategy.
We returned last month with a plan that would help our Turkana brothers and sisters not just survive, but prosper. The Turkana are simple folk who subsist by shepherding goats. During the drought, many of their goats died, and the Turkana had no choice but to eat those that survived—ultimately consuming their livelihood and primary sustenance. So we determined to help restore some of their goat herds.
After mapping out our plan, we flew to the remote town of Lodwar, where it’s always hot, dry and dusty. With no paved streets, it reminded us of the American Old West (minus the cowboy hats and tumbleweeds).
Before the sun rose the next morning, we headed out into the parched landscape with an empty flatbed truck to purchase 64 goats waiting three hours away. The driver of our truck amazed us as he navigated the signless labyrinth of tire tracks in the sand as they snaked into the pre-dawn blackness.
Because of a two-day delay in our arrival, only 40 of the 64 promised goats were waiting for us at the predetermined rendezvous point. The owners of the missing goats had given up hope that we were coming. So for the next seven hours, we worked to track down the remaining 24 goats. The Turkana do not have cell phones, so runners were sent out across the bush to find shepherds and their goats. Several times we stopped and waited under the blistering sun as one, two, or three goats appeared in the distance and made their way, bleating, to our truck. By four o’clock we picked up our 64th goat, and we headed towards the Turkana village where our distribution would take place.
Thirty families, chosen for their proven faithfulness, Christian character, and neediness, were waiting for us, singing and dancing in anticipation of their goat blessing. Each family received two female goats, and the village chief and pastor were each given two male goats. Counting on the diligent efforts of these four males, each Turkana family can expect to receive at least two offspring (kids) this year from their female pairs. Once weaned, those kids will be given to other pre-selected Turkana families who have promised to do the same, blessing another family with their first two goat offspring.
With God’s blessing, in the years to come hundreds of Christians will be receiving and giving goats throughout Turkana villages, fulfilling Jesus’ commandment, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matt. 10:8). Thank you for being among the sheep who helped start this chain of goat blessings…through your gifts to the Food Fund.