Sorry, I was lost … but now … I’m found (now where have I heard that line before ..?) Seriously, a combination of the weather (Yep it’s STILL SERIOUSLY HOT) and a head that just got overloaded meant that I had to give in to having some early nights and not always very productive days. Now a mozi has just bit me on my ankle, twice, and it’s the middle of the day …. that’s not supposed to happen! Well if that had happened just over an hour ago I would probably have cried … but I haven’t because I’ve just spent some time in “HELP” prayers to my God and coincidentally (or should I say God-incidentally) I have just seen a prayer message on the Elim web site asking people to pray for Judi and Terry who have kept going ‘when they felt like giving up’ and who have seen ‘God guide them through some impossible situations’ Amen! My spirits are being lifted … your prayers must be ‘getting through!’
So why, just an hour ago was I so ready to cry? Well, perhaps it’s because sometimes I’m simply foolish enough to go back to old habits … like reading the daily newspapers…. on the internet! Even though you know you’re only ever going to read “Bad News!” you can convince yourself that this knowledge will help to direct your prayers or even your own actions, especially if it’s a problem you think you can help to solve. But, more often than not, it can simply be hugely discouraging, sometimes overwhelming and actually risk taking you down into a pit of despair. In fact I could now risk losing the few remaining readers of this blog, those of you who have come back to check that we’re still alive, by discouraging you too with a whole series of awful news stories that illustrate why, even though it’s nothing like the scale of the atrocities that happen in Somalia, Sudan or DR Congo, Kenya can still be a really harsh place to live. However, if I did that, I would end up writing at least the first six chapters of a book and I know my ‘blog’ is already a little on the long side to really qualify for ‘blog’ status, so I will just share a story that sadly became personal for one of our church members.
Last week, less than an hour’s drive away from our home, tension broke out on a main road which creates the border between two tribes. There are over 40 tribes in Kenya and, especially in the rural areas, the battle for local power and access to basic resources continues to create tensions and sometimes conflict. Today the papers reported “The clashes that have left at least 6 people dead, 10 people with serious injuries and more than 200 families displaced by violence, was sparked off following the killing of a middle aged man on Thursday night, said to have been part of a gang that raided a homestead in Nyakach district and stole goats….. By the time of going to the press, tension was still high in the area with deviant youths continuing to torch houses on both sides of the districts.” It also went on to state that this latest violence was now escalating because of issues over access to water for people and their livestock. Yesterday, this story became more personal when one of our church members, asked us to pray for his wife because his father-in-law was one of the innocent people who died when his house was burnt down.
So many of these awful events happen because of what is widely recognised as inadequate and corrupt law enforcement. Over the years, we have heard many stories of people taking the law into their own hands. Last year five men were brutally lynched (beaten up and then set alight with a tyre around their waists) in our local town Oyugis. It was believed that they were part of a gang of more than ten men who had been responsible for a series of night time violent robberies along the main road between the towns of Oyugis and Kisii. On that occasion I heard our neighbours and some of our staff recounting the events that they had seen or simply heard and a number of them were laughing at the way some of these men had been set up and trapped by the vigilantes who delivered this instant justice. It left me feeling very uncomfortable, not wanting to judge my neighbours, not certain of what I would want to do if someone dear to me was killed by a criminal who the police would not even search for …. but, at the same time, really troubled by the display of delight that I heard in the voices telling the story. Yet, like I said, who am I to judge? I’m here living in rural Kenya, but safe behind our brick built walls and lockable doors and guarded by two paid night watchmen who generally manage to stay awake! The problem is Kenya is no different to the rest of the world, people suffer as a result of their own bad choices or the bad choices made by others, because we’ve all used our ‘free will’ to choose our own way and not God’s way. All of us find it hard to get even close to ‘loving one another’ in the immeasurable and unfailing way that God loves each of us…. but we keep trying and, just as it says in the words say of a song that we sing most Sundays with our sisters and brothers in the church, “We’re happy to share, happy to share, one another’s burdens …. That’s why we’re here!”
So please forgive the two week absence of news, do go back and look at the lovely photos that should have been attached to the last blog and pray that I have some good news to share next time!
… Just remembered Bad News/Good News Story … last year one of our nanny goats, Annabel, gave birth to her first born which was very sadly ‘stillborn.’ This week she gave birth to twin girls (nannies) and both girls and mum are doing great … see cute picture below! Aaahhh!!!!