Joshua & Ruth
Alitzah, Hannah Gail, Eliana, Zerachiah, Ahaviah, Shalviah
Joshua and Ruth Barron are currently in America preparing to return for a fourth term of service in Kenya. They began work partnering with the Maasai but now work with many tribes as the Maasai believers are sharing the gospel across borders of tribe & culture & language. They arrived in Kenya in January 2007, together with their two wonderful daughters, Alitzah (2003) and Hannah (2005). But now they have six wonderful children! five daughters and one son. Eliana was born in Nairobi, Kenya in July 2007, and Zerachiah was born in Tennessee during furlough in March 2010. Ahaviah was born in Matasia, Kenya in September 2012. Shalviah followed in January 2015.
Ruth earned a BA in English and psychology from Milligan College (1997). She swore that she would never go to the seminary across the street where all “the weirdoes and bare-foot missionary-types” were, strange people like Jonathan and Joshua. So she naturally enrolled at Emmanuel School of Religion (now called Emmanuel Christian Seminary) the following Fall, completing an MA in religion with a concentration in Christian Doctrine (2000). The following August, she and Joshua married – and his now-second-best friend Jonathan was best man. Currently Joshua is working on a PhD at the Centre for World Christianity at Africa International University in Nairobi.
Joshua likes to think that he is a bibliophile, but he is really a bibliomaniac. Unable to limit himself to a reasonable course load, he received a BA in Bible & Ministry and also a BS in Chemistry from Milligan (1995). After teaching Chemistry laboratory to college freshman for a couple of years while working in two graduate programs (seminary & Chemistry), he narrowed his focus and earned an MDiv from Emmanuel (2000).
Before they were led to serve with the Maasai, Joshua served a missions internship with Pioneer Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea (1993) and spent two summers (1996 & ’98) working with churches in northeast India. Three months into their marriage, Joshua and Ruth spent a little over a year ministering in South Africa, where they taught at a small Bible college and worked with local congregations. Upon their return to the States, they entered the very challenging & cross-cultural field of youth ministry until they began support raising full time to join the CMF Maasai team.
Joshua with the students of his NBTI course on the Spiritual Disciplines. (The Barron girls brought the students some homemade cookies.)
The Barrons spent their first term living in the bush in the village of Endoinyo Erinka on the Loita Plains, adjacent to the Maasai Mara. The first year was devoted to language and culture learning. Focusing on discipleship and leadership training, one of their primary roles has been the development of curricula for the Maasai churches in the Maa language. The Barrons have ministered through teaching at the Narok Bible Training Institute and the Discipleship Training School. They have also taught various seminars in village churches and at the Ewaso Ng’iro Conference Centre. They have completed their first book of lessons in the Maa language, Enkinosata Ororei Le Nkai (“Eating the Word of God”) and an adaptation into Swahili, Kula Neno La Mungu. The first draft of a church history in Nga Turkana (provisionally entitled “The Camel has Four Legs”) has been completed. By the end of 2013 they hope to publish both a stewardship curriculum and a short introduction to the books of the Bible, both in Maa. But most of their current term has focused on training church leaders and teachers and implementation of the Enkinosata curriculum.
The Barrons were in America on furlough during 2009-10. They were able to serve as resident missionaries (teaching courses and mentoring students) at Nebraska Christian College for the Spring 2009 term. They returned to the field in June 2010. They lived in the town of Narok, a major center in Maasai land, for over year. They now reside in Enoomatasiani (“the place where the matasia bushes are;” the matasia is one of the “tooth brush trees” for the Maasai) in Kajiado County, which is abbreviated to simply Matasia in English and Swahili (and misspelled as “Matathia” on google maps). Joshua makes occasional trips to Turkana Land (in northwest Kenya), three to four weeks a year, to train church leaders at the Turkana branch of Community Christian Bible Training Institute (CCBTI). Besides continuing their previous work, they also are working to train church leaders as curriculum developers themselves and they hope to develop a prayer ministry.
During their third term they oversaw the re-birth of the Discipleship Training Institute and the foundation of two new branch campuses of CCBTI, one in Ewaso Ng’iro in Narok County and one in Ng’atataek in Kajiado County, and expanded their publishing of curricula from Maa to Swahili and Turkana.