Send Me

Last month (in February), I (Joshua) was able to spend a week in Olepishet, teaching my History of Christian Mission course at a missionary training school founded and run by our Maasai friend and colleague, James ole Sinkua.  Last year, we all visited Olepishet as a family as Ruth and I had a planning and curriculum development meeting with James (for more, see our November newsletter).

MIEA Maasai choir

As usual, when I teach I have just as much of a learning opportunity as my students.  Besides learning new Maa vocabulary, my students taught me this wonderful song, Irriwayioki ! (or “Send me!”). In the Maa Bible, in Isaiah 6:8, the prophet answers God’s call:  “Irriwayioki!  Send me!”  While this hymn has innumerable verses, I learned five of them plus the chorus.

The first verse is especially powerful:  Send me to our Maasai people, Send me even to the Agĩkũyũ … .  The first phrase is a call to evangelize and disciple one’s neighbors, kinfolk, and fellow countrymen.  But the second phrase asks God to send the singer to the Kikuyu!  This is significant because traditionally the Kikuyu and the Maasai are tribal rivals.

(Properly speaking, Agĩkũyũ is the name of the people and Gĩkũyũ is the name of the language.  In Swahili, Kikuyu is the name of the Gĩkũyũ language spoken by the Agĩkũyũ.  From this Swahili usage, “Kikuyu” is commonly used in English to refer to the Gĩkũyũ language and “the Kikuyu” is used to refer to the Agĩkũyũ people.)

While the two tribes sometimes intermarry, often the Maasai and the Agĩkũyũ are about as affectionate toward each other as are supporters of rival political factions in America.  This song is a radical invitation, asking God to send us that we might join God in God’s mission in the world — not only to our friends but also even to our enemies.

Give it a listen, and scroll down for the lyrics and translation:

To those of you who saw our “Sing or Dance?” post from last month (20 February), accept my apologies for only having an audio file instead of a video file.  

This recording has six verses.  Here is the Maa translation, with English translation, of five of the verses plus the chorus.  (When my students sang it for me to record, they added what is the fifth verse here, and for the life of me there are a couple of words that I just can’t hear.  I didn’t have a chance to ask them to transcribe that verse for me.  When I figure out that verse, I’ll edit this post.)

chorus
Irriwayioki, irriwayioki!
Irriwayioki, Enkai ai!
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Send me, send me!
Send me, my God!
So that I may go to your field, Jesus,
and I will go, send me!

(repeat chorus)

verse 1
Irriwayioki ilmaasai lang,
Irriwayioki ata ikokoyok,
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Send me our own Maasai people,
Send me even to the Kikuyu,
So that I may go to your field, Jesus,
and I will go, send me!

(repeat chorus)

verse 2
Irriwayioki Tanzania,
Irriwayioki ata Uganda,
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Send me Tanzania,
Send me even to Uganda,
So that I may go to your field, Jesus,
and I will go, send me!

(repeat chorus)

verse 3
Irriwayioki Ingirisa,
Irriwayioki Iltalia,
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Send me to the English,
Send me to the Italians,
So that I may go to your field, Jesus,
and I will go, send me!

(repeat chorus)

verse 4
Irriwayioki ata Asia,
Irriwayioki o Australia,
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Send me even to Asia,
Send me also to Australia,
So that I may go to your field, Jesus,
and I will go, send me!

(repeat chorus)

verse 5

Irriwayioki ???,
Irriwayioki ???,
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Send me ???,
Send me ???,
So that I may go to your field, Jesus,
and I will go, send me!

(repeat chorus)

verse 6

Irriwayioki iltamoyia,
Irriwayioki ilaing’okok,
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Send me to the sick,
Send me to the sinners,
So that I may go to your field, Jesus,
and I will go, send me!

(repeat chorus)

chorus with reprise
Irriwayioki, irriwayioki!
Irriwayioki, Enkai ai!
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Naa kalo, irriwayioki!
………. Naa kalo, irriwayioki!
(Papaai lai) Naa kalo, irriwayioki! ….. (O my Father)
………. Naa kalo, irriwayioki!
Olchampa lino, irriwayioki!
……… Naa kalo, irriwayioki!
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!
………. Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

(gradually slowing … )
Irriwayioki, irriwayioki!
Irriwayioki, Enkai ai!
Olchampa lino mashomo Yesu
Naa kalo, irriwayioki!

Send me, send me!
Send me, my God!
So that I may go to your field, Jesus,
and I will go, send me!

Bible Training REMIX

Community Christian Bible Training Institute (CCBTI) has two new campuses.  In addition to Turkana Bible Training Institute (TBTI) in Lodwar, we have successfully opened two new branches serving the Maasai churches.  The Ewaso Ng’iro campus, in Narok County, opened classes in August 2016 with six students.  In September the campus in Nga’tataek, in Kajiado County, offered its first class with 17 pastors attending.

I taught our Enkinosata Ororei le Nkai (“Eating the Word of God”) class at Ewaso Ng’iro in October.  Here’s a two minute video of a worship chorus, in Maa, which I composed during the class:

holiness is what I long for

While we spent a week earlier this month in the bush with our Discipleship Training Institute, I started singing the chorus “Holiness, Holiness is what I long for …”, except I sang it in Maa and taught to the DTI students and our dear friends Francis Yenko (the DTI Director) and Moses Mashipei (the DTI Assistant Director).  It made for great campfire music, along with the song of the night-time grazing zebra, under the Southern Cross.

Here are the lyrics (see below for the audio):

esinyatisho, esinyatisho enayieu
esinyatisho, esinyatisho ninye ayieu
esinyatisho, esinyatisho, eniyieu te nanu

intayu oltai lai, intobira
intayu enkishui ai, imbelekenya
tolino, tolino, li Aitoriani !
tolino, tolino, li Aitoriani !
tolino, tolino, li Aitoriani !

intayu oltai lai, intobira
intayu enkishui ai, imbelekenya
tolino, tolino, li Aitoriani !
tolino, tolino, li Aitoriani !
tolino, tolino, li Aitoriani !

esinyatisho, esinyatisho enayieu
esinyatisho, esinyatisho ninye ayieu
esinyatisho, esinyatisho, eniyieu te nanu