Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Saga Continues

I am safe and still at home, but there have been three days of demonstrations during which people have been killed or injured. So I have remained in my house except for the morning dog walk with Bush. Friday, the Kalenjin radio station put on the air pastors who were praying and pleading with people to stay home and not participate in the demonstrations. Probably some did, but most did not.

Remember the church that was burned in Eldoret where 50 people died? A friend sent me a World Christian Ministries Newsletter that adds more to that story. The church that burned belonged to Kenya Assemblies of God. There were 300 people inside. One hundred were seriously burned and 16 had burns over 90% of their bodies. And that was only one of the 98 churches the Kenya Assemblies of God lost through fire or destruction. More than 64,000 of their church members were displaced. In the Mt. Elgon area 15 churches belonging to the Kenya Evangelistic Team were lost. Many other churches of other fellowships were destroyed, but a definite number is not available. None of this was reported by the media because the government banned most of the reporting.

All of our Baptist churches are OK in Nandi Hills. Only one has been in peril because it is located in the valley below the Nandi escarpment where sugar cane fields have been burned, along with several homes. The church is in Kimwani, and is the brand new building that the mission team built in July. They met last Sunday for the first time in a few weeks because they feared being burned alive. Several of the church members, however, have lost their homes to fire and are in need of food and blankets. Right now they’re staying with neighbors.

I’ve told you about the pastor at Lengut, Duncan Karinde, a Kikuyu who was taken away along with his wife and little boy, and Samwel Kiarie, another Kikuyu, who was pastor of a church in Tinderet. They are both being moved to the Nakuru area where their family homes are located. They will be fine, but we’ll probably not see them again.

Also we’re losing another pastor, Joshua Ebei, of the new church in Nandi Hills town. Stealing and other crimes are still going on in the town against anyone who voted for Kibaki, no matter what tribe they belong to. Joshua told me he must take his wife, who is pregnant, and their two children back to his family home and safety in Turkana which is in northwest Kenya. He plans to start a church there. Isn’t persecution the way the early church grew in the New Testament? Our awesome God always brings good out of bad. Could this be the beginning of revival in Kenya? I pray it is!

Henry and I went to Nandi Hills town this morning (Saturday) to get more gas for the generator, check the mail and get five days’ worth of newspapers. We were told it was safe and the roads were unblocked, but we saw more burned buildings from the recent riots. The gas supply was low, but we were able to get what we needed. However, the Post Office has yet to receive any mail since all the trouble began on December 30. I receive only two things in the mail regularly—my bank statement and Celtel bill—so I wasn’t missing much. Henry, however, is studying some missions courses by correspondence and internet at a school in South Africa, and they sent him some information in the mail which he hasn’t received. He’s suffering a double whammy now because his computer must have a virus and the technicians are in Kisumu, a town that’s still too dangerous to visit.

I must share one amazing scene of destruction in the Kibera slums in Nairobi. The people tore up 2 km of railroad tracks that run through the slums on the way to Uganda. It’s a main artery carrying goods and supplies to Uganda from Kenya. The pictures were amazing. The cross ties are made of steel like the tracks, so the whole thing came up together and looked like fencing. After my amazement subsided, I thought, If the tracks are that easy to pull up, how safe is it to travel on them!
The tea estates continue to suffer because the opposition has told the people not to work even if they don’t attend the demonstrations. They’re afraid to go against such demands because people have been killed or injured if they do.

Good news: The opposition party leader, Raila Odinga of ODM (Orange Democratic Party), announced yesterday that they were going to stop the demonstrations since so many people are being killed. Instead they’re telling everyone to honor an economic boycott against any business that has anything to do with President Kibaki and his Party of National Unity (PNU). Kofi Annan, whose original visit was postponed by illness, is due to arrive here on Tuesday to start some dialogue. We’ll see if it happens. So the tunnel continues to lengthen with no sign of light at the end.

The Bible tells us in Exodus 9:16 that God raised up Pharaoh for this reason: that I might show you (the Israelites) My power and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Let us all pray that because of what’s happening here in Kenya, God will show His great power so that everyone on earth will know He is the only true God!

Thank you for your prayers!

Mungu awabariki!

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