5th Update from Connie
I have always known Kenya was a Country of extreme contrasts. The urban, the rural, the rich, the very poor, the highly educated, the uneducated. And now I see the extreme contrast with the angry, violent people and the loving, compassionate people. The team has heard stories of unthinkable violence and we are seeing the response from the Christians in Kenya of forgiveness and a desire for peace, healing and reconciliation.
Today we were joined by GOA pastor Kinjui in Nukuru. There are many camps in this area from people fleeing even their own communities. The first stop was a Catholic seminary. They had taken in 150 people who were staying in rooms used for seminary students. We saw some for medical and the social workers counselled some while Veronica and Penny did art therapy with the children. The children asked many questions especially about returning home. There was one woman bedridden. Daniel and Paul treated her. Her 6 month old baby died the day they arrived at camp. the priest told us there greatest need was for blankets and food. Also they had water from a tank but it was not safe water. We hope to return with a water dispenser and water cleaner.
The next stop was a very poor church in a rural area. There were both small children and very old men and women. Some of the women wanted to take us to show their homes and buisnesses that had been burnt. We found homes and buisnesses burnt to the ground and in some places they were still small fires. Medical saw and treated people mostly chronic diseases. Art therapy for the children and counselling. Still a lot of fear expressed. We left blankets, food, sanitary pads, and diapers. SN spoke to the local football and volley ball teams and then distributed the balls. You could see how sports is so important in developing countries for young Christian leaders. The captons of the team were obviosly the young leaders in the community.
The third camp was the largest with 250 people staying at a local dispensary. Imagine 250 people showing up at your place of buisness and not going home. Within minutes of getting off the bus the team had organized women in one group, the men in another, the youth gathered together and Nick, Charles, Veronica and Penny had about 75 children gathered singing and laughing. The woman were hungry for words of hope and encouragement. They sat with their babies on their laps listening to Laban, Jane, Penny and others give words of hope and encouragement. They asked me to speak to them. I could only tell them of Pastor Karanja’s prayers and hope for Kenya and that Americans cared for them, loved the country of Kenya and were in constant prayer for them. They all clapped when I told them Pastor Karanja said Kenya will emerge as a springboard for a great spiritual revival. Laban interpreted for me and they laughed when he had trouble with the word springboard and had to demostrate with his hands. The military were there quarding the camp. It is important for everyone to understand the military in Kenya has not been called out. The country is not at war. The military are providing humanitarian help not military service. We spoke with them and they listened to all of the pastors when they spoke to the groups. This camp is managed by a committee. All 250 people were sleeping on a concret floor with open sides and only a roof. Their needs were blankets and food. Paul changed the dressing of a spear wound on a very old man. He was speared in the leg while trying to protect his home. His home was burned and he lost everything. We gathered everyone together before leaving and Jane and Penny led them in worship. You would not know these people had lost their homes, their belongings, some lost their loved ones and yet they sang and danced and gave praises to the Lord as the military men stood by giving protection. It is difficult to tell in an email on a Blackberry the feeling in this camp. It was difficult to leave not because we felt torn and despair as in the other camps but because of what we were receiving – pure love and joy in worship to the God they know and believe.
We returned to Nukuru to stay at the same hotel the April team stayed in When we went with the GOA leaders to Lake Nakuru. After dinner the team came together for sharing of the days work. First the team shared how encouraged with each other they were as they watched each team member do their part. People shared at some points throughout the day they found themselves not wanting to hear any more stories their hearts were so heavy with what people shared with them. But consistent from the people displaced was the hope they had in God. Njokie has become a counsellor. She like her sister Mary Mugo has the compassion in her heart for the hurting. She shared with the team how she listened to a 28 year old woman tell the story of her husband and his brother killing their 6 month old baby because they were of different tribes. She had been married for 10 years and had waited a long time for a baby. But she told njokie she knew God would give her a new husband and anther baby. Njokie thought please stop talking so I can go cry. Pastor Paul Muturi shared how his heart was broken when he heard from a couple of the murder of their child. Pastor thought of how much he loved his own children and how he couldn’t bear to think of something like that happening to his children. One of the Luos with us shared how he was frightened as we left Naiirobi because he feared harm from Kikuyus. But now he felt safe and he thanked the Kikuyus for their love and support. Remember we have four tribes represented on our team. Samuel reminded the team their works would be written in the book and they wiould be rewarded. Much discussion about how they can work towards peace and healing in Kenya. The team also had a very theapeutic laughter when Njokie told of an 84 year old women who had over many years lost 6 husbands due to clashes but she was trusting God for another husband. Njokie said “wow that was faith”. It was good for the team to share laughter as Njokie told the men she would take applications from them if they were not married – but the woman was looking for a doctor!
I personally never experienced anything like this. I always say it is a privledge to serve the Kenyans but this time it is truly at a new level. I ask God why He has granted me favor to be here.
Praying for peace and healing in Kenyan! Connie