The Missionary Society of St Paul of Nigeria arrived in the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar, in the North Western part of Kenya, on September 17th, 2015. Upon our arrival, we were assigned to a parish that had been abandoned over the years, due to the parish's isolated location and extremely difficult terrain. Our church, St Stephen Catholic Church Losajait is located in the rift valley of the Turkana desert. At the moment, the parish has 1 commissioned Catechist and 9 church assistants. The Parish has 13 outstations (sub churches). We cover a distance of 60 kilometers North-South and 80 kilometers East-West to access these substations.
Lodwar diocese is said to be the largest in term of landmass, and the poorest diocese in Kenya. It was occupied by the nomad tribe called Turkanas. The diocese is bound by the Diocese of Torit in South Sudan to the North, the Diocese of Moroto in Uganda to the west, the Diocese of Kibish in Ethiopia to the east and the Kenya dioceses of Baringo and Kitale to the south. The Diocese of Lodwar is what can be referred to as a "Mission Diocese". This is because over ninety percent (90%) of her pastoral agents are missionaries from various missionary congregations or institutes. Also the people here, unlike what we have in some other places, depend on the church for virtually all their entire needs, material and immaterial. Thus, the Church here hardly get any support from the locals. Consequently, various missionary institutes have resulted into seeking support from sources outside the diocese to enhance their apostolate. And over the years missionary institutes have contributed immensely to the development of the diocese through the construction of schools, churches, health facilities among others.
The pioneer members of the Missionary of St Paul to this mission were Revd Frs Benedict Samuel Umanna and Joseph Taye Ibiwoye MSP. However, due to ill heath, Fr Benedict was withdrawn from the mission on the 21st of October 2016. After about a year of Fr Benedict's withdrawal from the mission, precisely on the 22 nd of September 2017, Rev Fr Francis Sunday Akpomedaye MSP, arrived Lodwar to join Fr Joseph in the Mission.
Our work as a missionary congregation in Lodwar is basically pastoral. And since our arrival at our parish in Losajait, the parish has witnessed a lot of growth, material and immaterial. Parts of our achievements in the parish includes
Some of the challenges we face include:
Prior to our arrival at Losajait parish, the pastoral life had witnessed a lot of setbacks. With our presence in the parish now, the narrative that has changed. We sincerely thank God for giving us the privilege to serve as missionaries to the Turkana people. We also thank the missionary society of St. Paul who gave us the privilege to serve. May God continue to bless the work of hands and make our labor fruitful.