Long-time missionary, Patricia Caroom, has enjoyed the support of MAF while she works tirelessly to reach the Toposa people with the gospel
Patricia Caroom is a full-time missionary from the United States, working with E3 Partners in South Sudan among the Toposa people. Their mission is multiplying disciples and churches across the globe until every person and place has been reached for Christ.
The Toposa are an ethnic group in South Sudan, living in the Greater Kapoeta region. They have traditionally lived by herding cattle, sheep and goats, and in the past were involved in the ivory trade. The Toposa believe in a supreme being and in ancestral spirits, who may assist in overcoming problems such as drought or epidemics of disease among their herds.
When Patricia began working in Kapoeta in 2007, there were no Toposa disciples, or churches and the people practised their traditional way of worshipping ancestral spirits. The locals were not welcoming but after many engagements with the local leaders, the people started building acceptance towards Christ.
“I have been working towards making disciples through sharing Bible stories with the people of Toposa. The disciples born of this mission, also share the word of God with other members of the community who are not believers and we have seen the hand of God change many hearts,” Patricia said.
Since the literacy level in the area is low, Patricia began with 16 audio Bible stories at the start of their mission, which were translated into the Karamajong language which is a closely related dialect to Toposa. A few years later, more Bible stories were translated into the Toposa language and recorded as audio Bibles. They also use audio Bibles that have the full Turkana Bible recorded in them.
“We have 150 audio Bible stories translated in Toposa to cap the language difference among locals. This has made it quite easy for the local communities to learn and share more about the word of God. Mission Aviation Fellowship Kenya (MAF Kenya) has helped us in the transportation of the audio Bibles from Nairobi to Kapoeta with their flights,” Patricia said.
During her mission, Patricia walks together with a Toposa translator to break the language barrier among the locals as she spreads the gospel of Christ and fulfils her calling. The translator is a woman from Toposa with whom the community identifies with. Her interaction with fellow women creates a space for sharing openly and in-depth, the matters they face.
Together with her partner, they are working towards teaching the Toposa people non-dependency, empowering them to use readily available resources to improve their lives. The Toposa keep herds of cattle, sheep and goats that can give them milk and meat for their own consumption. They also have huge pieces of land that they could start cultivating. Some locals have already embraced kitchen gardening which means they can provide their families with a plate of green leafy vegetables to increase their nutritional value.
Transport to Kapoeta
“I have travelled on road to Kapoeta in South Sudan from Lokichoggio Airport and the journey takes approximately three hours which is dependent on the seasons. During the rainy season, the roads are nearly impassable and there are two rivers that must be crossed to get to the other side, but the problem is that none of the rivers has a bridge, making it very difficult to pass,” Patricia said.
Bandits also make travelling by road unsafe. “Last year, our pastor was robbed at gunpoint and all his possessions were taken away from him. This happened again recently to another pastor,” she added. Since the beginning of her mission, Patricia has enjoyed using the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF Kenya) flights from Nairobi to Lokichoggio Airport in Turkana County. From Lokichoggio, she boards a MAF South Sudan flight to Kapoeta. This has made travelling smooth, safe and short. The whole journey by air takes approximately three hours.
“This past week my partner and I trained forty women on discipleship and how they can strengthen their relationship with God. Due to the rising numbers of domestic violence cases against women in the area, the spiritual leader, Pastor John decided to hold a class for the men (husbands) to learn how God intends husbands and wives to respect each other. Pastor John used the Bible to reference the Lord’s teachings to men about how they should treat their wives and children,” Patricia said.