The flights of Loglogo-based MAF pilot Melvin Peters mean a lot to the Andersen family, who have served in northern Kenya for several generations—Eddie Andersen’s grandfather started the work at LogLogo.
Eddie and Rachel Andersen and their six children work amongst the Gabbra tribe in Northern Kenya, a people group who are spread over a vast geographical area with towns separated by large desert plains. Based in the remote village of Dukana since 2014, their work involves church planting and discipleship through any means from gardening to automotive repair, from Bible study to basic medical care. Rachel describes their home area, “The terrain varies from rocky, scrub land to flat, desert, salt pan. An occasional acacia tree dots the horizon and a few mountains rise in the distance. We count the distance in hours to travel, not kilometres, due to the fact that the poor condition of the road slows us down to 50 kph and at times, a crawl”.
Strategically located on the border with Ethiopia, Dukana is the newest outreach centre for evangelical work among the Gabbra. Approximately 20,000 live in the area and herdsmen constantly come and go. Mainly nomadic, the Gabbra keep camels, goats, sheep, and some cattle. They build small houses, called “min daase”, which can be moved around with the help of three camels; and according to tradition, they move at least once a year. Since the 1990's they have begun settling into town centres in order to provide education for their children as well as seeking medical care and famine relief.
The work of establishing the gospel amongst the Gabbra is a long-term commitment. At Dukana, a few faithful members of the community attend daily Bible study and church on Sundays. As part of their outreach, the Andersens make use of a small solar powered audio device loaded with scripture recordings, known as the Treasure. Designed to withstand hostile environments, including the heat of the desert, and capable of holding up to 800 hours of material, the Treasure has proved a very effective means of bringing the good news of Jesus to the Gabbra. “The Treasure has opened up doors in various communities and led to a growing number of Gabbra seeking Christ and how to follow Him”, says Rachel. “We hear of audio Scriptures traveling up to 200 miles. Everyday people come to our door asking for Treasures”.
Living, working and raising a family in such an isolated and challenging environment as Dukana requires great faith and perseverance. “Work among the Gabbra is hard and demanding”, said Rachel. “As missionaries living in a remote area, we have found ourselves pushed to the limit. Our children have had various illnesses, with little or no medical care available to us. Our car is often shaken to pieces by the roads, but we have no access to auto parts or towing service. And as we become a part of our community, we often watch helplessly as our friends suffer from cycles of drought and famine. We feel a sense of urgency to get the message of Jesus Christ to the Gabbra, knowing that they live on the edge of disaster and possibly death”.