Thursday, January 31, 2008

UPR Part 4 Latest Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Again, thank you so much for your prayers. This country needs God's help. As do we. Thank you!
Today ******* was quiet. We heard very few shots fired. There was one incident at night, but that was when the power suddenly went off at the police station and the refugees there thought the Kikuyu were coming to get them and everyone started screaming. The police shot into the air at that point but all then went quiet when they got the generator running.
The first time ******** ventured into town we were struck by the bizarre situation. The town appeared to be mostly back to normal. People were in the streets, the taxis were running again, the market was open, many shops were doing brisk business as people came into town to refresh their dwindling stock of supplies. Along the streets were some shops which had been broken open and all the personal effects burned outside: tables, chairs, even bicycles and refrigerator coolers. (They even burnt one …. woman's expensive Toyota Landcruiser!) How would the displaced people feel – those whose lives have been threatened, who have lost everything, may even have had loved ones hacked to death – if they would see the other tribe members just getting on with their lives as though nothing had happened?
In one of the poorer areas of town we came across an unusual sight. Amongst the narrow trails between the houses there were many piles of burnt personal effects outside poor people's houses. The paths had been cleared of the boulders but these were still strewn along the road side as though in preparation for the next wave of violence. But as we drove behind one house we saw on one pile of ash all kinds of furniture and other personal effects. You couldn't help wondering why the things had not been burned. Did the youths run out of petrol? Or had they expended their hatred? Or did they maybe break into the wrong house?
We didn't see the smoke clouds billowing up from the town neighbourhoods like yesterday. Only one huge plume of smoke was evident. But even that makes you wonder if something is about to blow up again. Everybody is very much on edge so the smallest thing is enough to make you wonder if the violence is about to start up all over again.
In the afternoon ********* made another trip to *******. As we approached ******* we suddenly heard gunfire nearby. Motorbike taxis suddenly raced away from the scene. People on the road suddenly began to flee. We wondered if something was blowing up. But fortunately things settled down right away again.
We also saw a small lorry filled with soldiers pass us. As they went by, the vehicle suddenly backfired. Those soldiers just about leapt out of their seats, looked sheepishly over at us once they realised what had happened and that we had witnessed their fear!
We took some more food to the people we know in ****** today. The Red Cross had been there so they had received a little bit during the day. Nevertheless, they were so grateful to see us as the situation in the camp is quite dire. 2000 people have to share four toilets – now you figure that one out! I just do not know how that is possible, especially as the toilets also serve as washrooms – when they get water.
As we dropped off the food our friends took me to meet their extended family. So many had lost everything they had. Now they sit in the …. grounds wondering what will happen next. ******** will eventually return to normal. But the wounds which have been created will take a long time to heal! How will the tribes ever be able to live or work together again? How will we be able to run our multi-tribal (programs) again? (programs) where many members of the "other tribe" attended? …. Their lives have been threatened, sometimes by neighbours they called their close friends. How could they ever be able to find the courage to remain in this neighbourhood? And what we experience here …. is but a small part of this large community? How long till the wounds even begin to heal?
In ******** as in the ******* everybody worries that they are still not safe, that the (a tribe) will attack them at night. This fear together with the hunger cannot be good! ****** lives close to the *******. As the displaced people became hungrier they started roaming further from ******* looking for food. The situation became so dangerous for his wife and child (he was away at a funeral at the time) that she had to flee their house. One man came up to ******** and told him, "we will not forget what has happened to us in these last few days." Revenge is on so many people's minds. It's impossible to blame them for that! And yet, as long as people go down that road it just makes the situation worse.
The people in ******* also do not trust the government. So many believe the Mungiki are being used by the government to help it retain its power. (The Mungiki are a Kikuyu cult whose aim is to call the Kikuyu people back to their traditional ways. Men take secret oaths to bind them to the group. They are responsible for particularly heinous crimes including decapitations of their enemies.) People from different tribes all say that so many of the youth who caused the problems in ********* are not from this area. Others are convinced that powerful individuals are helping the youth. Many were arrested yesterday but today they are back out on the streets after their bond was paid by others with money. You can also see the influence of the Mungiki all around town. Since this whole thing started you no longer see women in town wearing trousers. Many women are also wearing head scarves. These are clear signs of the influence of the Mungiki. What I cannot understand is how the Mungiki have so much power in this community! A very high proportion of the population of ********** would call themselves Christian. Where is that influence? Why do you even hear of pastors encouraging or taking part in the violence? How much influence has Christianity really made on this community?
Anyway, that's what we experienced today. Thank you for standing behind us in this dark time for Kenya.

Dear Friends and Family,
We've heard from some of you who think so highly of what we are doing. It is really hard to hear these things as we see what you say and then look at what we're actually doing and cannot see that we really are doing all that much. I just wish we could do more. When you see all the suffering that so many have gone through, our little help seems so feeble.
But is it right not to help more if you have the means? That is what we are wrestling with. Someone has to take a stand and do something! …….So, what to do? We haven't yet worked out the answer to that problem. On the one hand is the need to help more, on the other the need for protection. We're still working out that one. … We will wait and see, and in the meantime we'll continue to make regular trips to ******** to help out there and make their life just that much more bearable.

When we arrived at ******** this evening there was a large animated crowd present in one corner of the grounds. Apparently they had just caught an escaped felon and wanted to stone him to death. Lucky for him the police were nearby! This guy had escaped from prison last year. I guess he never imagined that he'd be coming back into the prison grounds again for his own protection because he was a member of the "wrong tribe"! Unlucky for him someone recognised him for what he was.
One more thing. We've just received word from Mombasa that there is a place there offering very affordable packages for those who want to spend some time in the sun at the beach. So, if you want the place to yourself, better take up the offer while you can! We hear many hotels in Kenya have had to close do to the absence of tourists. There's no way of telling how long this special limited time offer will be available! Maybe WE should consider it!

Dear Friends and Family
This morning ********* went into the town for the first time since all hell broke loose on Sunday. As we were driving along I was struck by familiar feelings I experienced during a trip to Rwanda in 1996 right after the genocide there – everything on the surface seemed normal and yet underneath there was a sense of brooding unease, that all was not as it should be. That's how it felt in ********** today. We drove round the town and then decided to make an impromptu visit to the prison. We stopped off at a shop to buy 10 litres of milk and went in.
We met up with ****** and his family there. He introduced me to ******* who was very anxious because her 1 year old baby was sick and she didn't know what to do. ******** friend came up and explained to me how she had managed to hide for 4 days in her house before eventually having to flee to the sanctuary of ********** 'only God kept me safe during those 4 days' she said. My sympathetic noises seemed wholly inadequate when faced with these women who had lost everything and were struggling to make sense of the nightmare they had found themselves in. Their faces said it all – distress, anxiety, fear.
******* then showed me round the 'camp'. It is very hard to describe the scenes there. It just seemed a mass of humanity all living on top of one another. Some were fortunate to have rescued a mattress to sleep on, others simply had the hard ground. Most of the women and children are sleeping in sort of halls (previously dining halls I think) but they were packed in like sardines. Weariness was etched on so many people's faces. A few of the fortunate ones had brought small amounts of food with them that they were cooking on tiny cooking pots. The rest had to make do with a small amount of maize that the Red Cross had delivered the previous day – not enough to feed the whole camp and impossible for the children to eat. There was a long queue for the water tap, I only saw one. We turned a corner and saw a BBC film crew there……. [I spoke with them about the conditions of the road to ********* should we have to evacuate – you hear so many rumours! They said the situation can change so quickly. Today they are free, but yesterday, while things were quiet here in ********, the roads had numerous road blocks. The one reporter gave me her contact information should we need it in future. She suggested they might be able to let us know whether the roads are open or not.]

I have sat at home in ****** before coming over here, perhaps eating a TV dinner while watching scenes of people suffering in parts of Africa. I found it difficult to connect with the images I saw. In many ways, I think that's a kind of normal reaction. Today, I felt moved, angry, sad and above all frustrated at my inability to be able to do more. But I think because we know so many people there, it has made it much more real to me. In fact, we met even more of our friends and acquaintances today.
We left with a long list of supplies (and medicine for the baby) for ****** and his family, and others we had bumped into along the way. ******** went back later to buy the stuff and take it back into them.
When we got back to *******, we heard some shooting and suddenly received a lot of texts telling us not to go into town because there was trouble there. Apparently, something had flared up just after we left. Will there be no end to all this?
I got back and made lunch for my family and looked at the food with very little desire to eat. ******* started fussing about his food, saying he'd had enough (with a full plateful still there). With images of the children in the ********* in my mind, I told him firmly that he had to eat everything up. I remarked to ******* that it gave a whole new meaning to saying to your kids
'eat your food up – think of all the starving children in Africa'!
We're doing OK, but I must admit that I'm feeling very tired at the moment. I'm not sleeping well and last night ******** woke up a couple of times with nightmares 'The shooting men are coming Daddy' he said one time, and then 'I can hear the guns. I wanted to call to you but I couldn't open my mouth'. It's hard to hear him saying those kinds of things. Today, when we heard a few shots ring out ***** said 'but I thought the angry men had gone away'. They are processing things in their own way too…………..

********* told us that she had been sleeping with 10 others in a Volkswagen! …….

[It must have been quite frightening for them when we drove them out of the sanctuary of ****** with all the police standing around with AK47s and headed towards town. ***** had been out yesterday shortly with the protection of two armed soldiers and had gone to their house to see whether they could rescue anything there which had been overlooked by the gangs. ****** hadn't been out since the day she fled. When we got to ****** and they could breathe easier, ******** told me the trip through town had been nothing like he'd expected. The displaced in the prison hear all these stories of gangs of youth roaming about the town and all the roads being blocked. It certainly wasn't like that when we drove through.]
I'm hoping that maybe tomorrow, if all is calm, I'll be able to take the kids and spend the day with some friends who live just outside ************ in a peaceful place that has not been affected by all this. I feel the need to recharge batteries and not worry about gunfire for a while. The kids could do with a break from all this too.
Thank you so much for all your wonderful support. You are helping us to keep going!

Take care and God bless
If you would like to help financially you can by sending a check payable to Soul Sanctuary and mail it to:
Soul Sanctuary
187 Henlow Bay
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3Y 1G4
****Mark on the check KENYA
Or you can use PayPal off our website at

If you use PayPal, please email me ( with the amount so that our accountant will add the gift to "aid in Kenya."
ALL DONATIONS OVER $5 will be issued a tax reciept.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

UPR Part 3

We continue with the letters…
Hello again,
We want to thank you so much for your emails, phone calls, and all your prayers. We are so grateful for you standing behind us in what has once again been an emotionally draining day. But despite the difficult - and even dangerous – situations, we have felt strengthened by the prayers and support we have received. This is a longer email. Sorry. But I wanted to share with you some of the details of the challenges we and those around us faced today.
We are so grateful that things appear to have quieted down. We haven't heard many gunshots this evening (none very close). … next door has been filled with the sound of children playing. It gives us the sense that things are settling back to normal. But the day didn't start like that.
I went to … this morning and collected ****** and ******: He was the one who managed to flee from the vigilantes yesterday as they attacked him. When ****** heard that his possessions had been burned, he fell apart. We left him at ****** where he was safe then went to see if there were any things we could rescue which hadn't been destroyed. We did manage to find a little bit though almost everything of value was gone. I ended up putting … a few things into the car alone as the three men watching us were too afraid to show any support. Youths were watching us from the road and they felt any help from them would be construed as support for the "enemy."
While I was away a group of vigilantes came by our place and went to one of our neighbours. The police then appeared and chased them away, but not before the neighbour was shot in the neck. We were shocked that they would attack in the middle of the morning, also shocked that it was a gun attack since most people have been attacked with machetes!
***** was clearly traumatised. He'd hardly slept at night for worry and fear and had not eaten anything all day yesterday. We almost got him to smile from appreciation when we told him we'd go … later to look for his wife.
…. We could hear gunfire and big plumes of smoke were still rising from one part of town. As we passed the police station we could see 100s of people coming from one of the neighbourhoods carrying suitcases, blankets, and mattresses. Everybody seemed to be on the move. Such a tragedy.
As we approached town we saw many people on the road. I considered turning around as I didn't want to get caught up in a riot but then met a friend who informed us that some government officials had just had a large meeting and were trying to convince people that violence wasn't the way. Wow, some politicians showing their face! We were told that they were going to have another rally shortly. Not the best time to be in town!
Town was filled with people. All the shops were shut and there were not many cars on the road. All along the road sides were boulders which people had used earlier to block the roads. There were also many remains of burnt tyres on the road.
The ***** was filled with a few thousand people, all who had fled their homes for fear of their lives. We were driving along when suddenly ******* called out that he'd spotted his wife! That's the first time I saw him smile since this whole thing began. It was wonderful to be able to reunite them.

As we were in ******* we checked up with other friends. We met up with ***** whose husband had returned to their house with an armed escort to see whether they could find anything which the raiders hadn't destroyed the previous day. Others came to see us. Many wondered how we had made it to ********* ("where is your security?") as they wanted armed escorts back to their houses to see if they could save any possessions. Unfortunately it was just too dangerous for us to be able to help them.
Others asked us for something to eat. Most people had arrived yesterday and had not been able to eat for two days! There was just no food available. Even had it been safe for them to leave the prison grounds, they would have found all the shops closed. Not even the children had food.
…. This time I decided to take another route because of the rally. To the left of us was a neighbourhood where the youth were still running wild. You could see smoke billowing into the air in various places and there was quite a lot of gun fire. Down some of the side roads we could see armed policemen on the look-out for trouble.
As we approached ******** I suddenly noticed that road blocks had materialised in front of us on the road. I thought we'd be able to get around them so didn't turn around. In fact, we passed a number of roads which had been completely closed with strewn boulders! The worst part for us was when we had to cross the main road. Just an hour before it had all been clear! There, thanking God for high clearance on the car, we drove over a number of boulders as we tried to avoid the biggest ones. Once we passed that area all was okay again and we arrived home with the couple happy to be reunited.
Later we drove out a couple of other times, once to check on ******* place. He lives in a dangerous part of town where a number of people had been killed the night before so we were grateful that all was quiet there. He was hugely relieved to find his place untouched. Towards evening we then went to collect ….. ******* is of the "right tribe" but is so fearful as there are so many rumours going about of reprisal attacks. ******** had just received word that they were in the process of burning her place down when we collected her. But she was grateful that she'd been able to rescue a few things the previous day.…. we pray God will protect. We are grateful for the peaceful evening and pray that it may continue.
Thanks again for your prayers!

Dear Friends and Family
Well, today started off quite well. We had a calm night and a good night's sleep which was much needed. Things all seemed quiet in town too so *** started talking about going to see if they could find some food in town both for our extended family and for others we know who have taken refuge in the ***** compound. ******** rang me this morning from ******** where she decided to stay with her husband and 3 year old son. They haven't eaten since Sunday and the Red Cross had only given out a very little food this morning (I gather more was delivered later today). I said we would see what we could do. Anyway, Just as ****** was getting ready to go about mid morning, suddenly there was a lot of automatic gun fire near (us). As this was going on two helicopters appeared out of nowhere and whizzed past us. Next thing we heard was heavy and prolonged gunfire from them joining the fighting on the ground. It sounded so close and so loud. The helicopters then whizzed over a number of areas in town where we could see smoke billowing into the air and shot there as well. We heard from ****** that they'd had a lot of screaming around their place as people looked for members of the **** tribe. When the helicopters suddenly began shooting everybody fled.

I ran back to the house to be with the children. They were standing at the door. ******* was completely fascinated with all the noise but ******* became agitated and said 'I don't like it Mummy, I don't want to hear the guns'. I sat down with them and read them 3 stories. Don't ask me what I read or how I managed to get through those books. I'm afraid that after that I had a meltdown moment. I sat the kids down reading books and locked myself in the bathroom for a while. It was the first time that I really just wanted to leave.
Needless to say, ******* decided that perhaps it wasn't the best time to venture out and look
for food. That could wait.
Since then everything has calmed down again. The army has come to town and a measure of control has been established. I sat down with ******** this afternoon. She was somewhat relieved because she heard from her husband that not all of her things had been burned. Sadly she later told me that because her husband wasn't able to carry all their things the first time he went back (with police escort), when he later returned what was left had been burned. ********* is quite traumatised apparently because she saw people being beaten up and killed outside her house and she can't get it out of her head (not surprisingly). ********** too is very traumatised. It will take them a long time to get over what they have seen and experienced.
There were a couple of things that really lifted our spirits today though. We have some British missionary friends who live in ****** (a town about ½ an hour away from us) that has so far escaped any real violence.
This morning, ****** sent me through some credit for my mobile phone. We can't get out to buy cards to top up our phones, plus all the shops were closed, so this was a real God send. Then late afternoon her husband ******* turned up at the gate with a whole load of food for us and our friends. The shops are still open in ****** so they decided to bring us some supplies. We couldn't believe it, God is taking care of us!
As things were calm this afternoon, ******* ventured out again to town. ******* said there was an eerie sense of normality apart from the fact that they saw a couple of men walking along the road, one with a steel pipe and one with a machete – this was in broad daylight. ******* said they just stared at him. They also saw a soldier standing "guard" beside a burning pile of someone's personal effects. They managed to find one shop which was open where they were able to buy several loaves of bread and some vegetables. These they took into ***** to give to ****** and her family, ******* and his family and some other people that we know well. I'd also made a couple of Thermos of tea which was shared out amongst people. It's a drop in the ocean really, there are so many people who need help, but we do what we can. [It was such a blessing to have been able to do that, to help people out in such a small way. The fact that we had been able to get to ******* without a security escort also showed the friends there that things appear to be calming down. They were SO grateful to see us. As we passed out what food we could a crowd gathered around us, all hoping to receive something. Unfortunately we are able to help so few. But they do appreciate it. The one sad bit of news on the trip was that we saw that one of our friend's shops had been burned out during the day. Everything gone!]
When ***** returned home ****** said to him, "Daddy, tell those bad men to go away…and not to shoot guns from the helicopter."
It's hard to describe the feelings we're going through at the moment. I have a fairly constant feeling of tension which gets deeper of course when I hear the gunfire. Some people have been asking us if we're planning to leave. Well, we're holding on at the moment but do not intend to take unnecessary risks. I have packed a suitcase and gathered our passports and money together in case we need to make a run for it. We will see how things go.

Well, I'll end for now and try and get some sleep. Thanks again for your prayers. Will be in touch tomorrow.

Dear Friends and Family

I thought I'd write the first email of the day while it's still calm outside and while I'm feeling a bit calmer! It was a quiet night and we got some sleep. I'm finding it hard to get to sleep these days and last night was so wound up I wondered if it was safe to get ready for bed in case we had to make a run for it. Anyway, so far this morning it has been quiet. The children came through to our bedroom and the first thing they asked was 'have the angry men gone away now?'

We heard from ******(our friend) that there had been a fire by her business in town was and she didn't know how much was left. Her son ******* had spent the night down there in case of trouble. It turned out that the shops next to theirs were set on fire and ******* had spent most of the night trying to stop it from reaching their place. They have a small timber yard and didn't want to lose that. Fortunately, ******efforts to keep dousing water over everything allowed them to save the place from destruction. After breakfast, ******* went down into town to help them salvage the rest and they're going to move it somewhere safer.

This morning ****** came out and did a bit of work in the garden. ***** really loves ****** and usually spends a lot of time with him in the garden – they are great friends (rafikis). When ****** saw ******, he really wanted to go and be with him, but I saw him hesitating at the side. The last time he had seen his friend he had been crying and he didn't know if ****** wanted him nearby. I said to ******, 'look your rafiki wants to be with you'. ****** looked up and gave a big grin 'come, come' he said, beckoning him 'he is my rafiki' he said proudly. Somehow, I think little children can bring a measure of healing.

****** just had a call from a friend of ours within *********. He is sheltering many people.... They have now run out of food and, as it is still too dangerous for them to leave the security of *******, ***** will go out and get some things for him (assuming that all remains calm).

I've tried to do a few 'normal' things this morning like painting and drawing with the children. They need a bit of unstressed attention!

So we continue to wait and see what the day will bring us. God bless.

We talked to ***** today and they would welcome any help, financially, to help with the hungry and also those close to them that lost all their possessions. I have been asked to put an appeal out for them so...

If you would like to help financially you can by sending a check payable to Soul Sanctuary and mail it to:
Soul Sanctuary
187 Henlow Bay
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3Y 1G4
****Mark on the check KENYA
Or you can use PayPal off our website at
If you use PayPal, please email me ( with the amount so that our accountant will add the gift to "aid in Kenya."
ALL DONATIONS OVER $5 will be issued a tax reciept.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

UPR Part 2

Dear Friend

We are safe. But around us the situation appears to be deteriorating rapidly. The newspaper today pleads for the leaders to find a solution as the country seems to be "racing to anarchy". You may have heard about the escalation of the violence in the last couple of days in ******. The stories we are hearing from the news and from work colleagues, of people's houses burned, of decapitations, of burned corpses filling the morgue, of many in hospital following horrendous machete attacks, and of groups of young men in control of sections of town with the police just standing by, it all sounds unbelievable and shocking.

We were considering making a business trip to *********. Thank goodness that did not happen as that was the day the violence started. The main highway was blocked, cars were stoned, and many businesses burned. The violence has spilled over into our community as well. Thursday night two were killed by machete attacks. Gangs of youth went through some of the poorer areas in town looking for members of the other tribal group, terrorising the neighbourhoods.

Two youth … shared with us yesterday how they were almost caught up in some of the violence when the police responded with live rounds of ammunition as they tried to disperse attacking gangs of youth. We were grateful that they were able to get back home safely… had to cancel church service. The deterioration in our situation has just made it too dangerous to be out and about. We have heard that youth have gathered again in town and the police have been trying to disperse them all morning. We have been hearing a lot of gunfire, some quite near.*****called us this morning to share that one of their workers was killed in a machete attack. Another was admitted to hospital seriously injured. So far these attacks have been inter-tribal …. so although we feel anxious, we don't feel in any direct danger as long as we're here ….. But we are very concerned for some ...who are members of tribes which are being attacked.

One...had to go into town while there was all this shooting happening. He went to move the family (business) as they feared that it would be set on fire. Others have asked for our prayers for members of their family who have had to flee from their homes due to the violence.

We are also trying to shield our children from what is going on. They hear the gunfire and ask about it. ***** commented, without any concern as he doesn't understand the implication of what he is saying, that people are going to come and shoot us. We thank God he doesn't understand what he is saying though it does show he is trying to process things in his little head.
Please also pray for Kenya, that the leadership would put aside their differences for the sake of the country and work for peace, truth, and justice.

In the words of someone in Nakuru as reported by Reuters:
"There is nothing we can do. All those who are fanning the violence are staying comfortably in their luxury homes while we burn," said Nakuru resident Urunga Maina, who rushed his nephew to hospital after he was hacked by a machete-wielding mob.
"We are being used as sacrificial lambs," Maina told Reuters. "What matters is that the politicians take what they want. They don't care about the wananchi (ordinary people)."

Please pray for Kenya, for us, our workers some of whom are living in constant fear, and that people would desire peace rather than violence.

Dear Friends

Please pray for us. The situation is deteriorating in ******. The police appear to have no control over the gangs roaming the areas. It appears that, due to excessive violence in other areas of the country, the police have been told not to shoot people. So the youth know that the shots are intended to do no more than scare them. The youth have therefore continued their rampage of violence.

There have been a number of people killed in town. The police have evacuated members of the minority tribe and have brought them to ******* for safety. One of our friend's is now there and has reported to us that several neighbours have been killed. Now that their homes are empty people are looting what they have and setting many places on fire. We have tried to contact a number of our friends … some of whom are members of the tribes being targeted. We have been unable to get in touch with some of them so fear for their safety. The police have called for a curfew tonight. We pray that it will keep the situation calm and that it won't explode.

Dear Friends

This is the third email you've had from us in one day, it must be a record! Actually, it is a sort of relief to be able to write things down to you so I hope you don't mind if we keep writing these updates. What a day it has been. We just can't believe what has been happening around us today. I've been feeling this huge knot of anxiety in my stomach all day and trying very hard not to show it to the children. At the same time, I feel guilty for being anxious when I know that there are so many people who have really suffered today, people that we know personally and I am fortunate enough to have a roof over my head tonight. The children have picked up on the fact that something is going on. I said to ******** that I wanted her to stay close by where I could see her today and not to go too close to the gate. 'Why Mummy?' She asked 'Is it because of the gunfire?' I said that it was. Then ****** says 'Why are those guns making noise Mummy?' How do you explain to children what's going on? I told him that there were some angry men outside so we had to stay safe inside the house today. Later this afternoon, ******** went out … to help … and ****** asked 'Why has Daddy gone to see those angry mens Mummy?' He doesn't miss a trick.

I think the thing that has shocked us so deeply about today's events is not only that it has all been happening on our doorstep but that it has been happening to people that we know personally. This morning, ****** rang me to warn me to stay inside as there was trouble going on. She later rang me to tell me that she had had to flee her house with her husband and children and was at the police station. I just called another …. “I am now a refugee at the prison. I was staying in a … compound but they (group of vigilante youths) chased us out and then took all our things out of our house and burned them'.

This afternoon ******** came to the gate visibly shaken. He could barely speak to us he was so afraid. He was waiting for his wife and children to come and join him from … where she works. ******* decided to go back with him to his house with the car to see if they could pick up some of his things. As they approached the main road they saw a large crowd of youths milling around. ******** didn't recognise them and said 'those people are very bad, turn back quickly, let's go to the police station.' At the police station …. there were hundreds of people. One … friend of ours told ******* that he had been confronted by a group of youths this morning who began beating him but he managed to run away. Another …. went looking for some missing children and confronted a group of youths in the process of burning a house. In fact they threatened to kill him until they realised he was (a certain tribe). He reported seeing several burned bodies lying around the area. ****** also said that there were lots of people walking along the road with bags and suitcases and strings of bewildered children following them. We're going to see what we can do to help tomorrow.

This evening I was walking back to the house and I looked up and saw big black clouds. I started singing in my head that song 'let it rain, let it rain, open the floodgates of heaven'. Sure enough it did rain, a heavy downpour. Perhaps not so good for those poor souls who had to leave their homes today, but hopefully it dampened some of the enthusiasm for violence.

We've heard tonight that the army has come into town and together with the police have stopped the violence for now and removed the illegal road blocks. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. There are rumours that people are going to try to set shops on fire in town. I hope and pray that doesn't happen.

Thanks so much to all of you who have written encouraging emails and texts to us. And thanks for all your prayers, we are very much aware of them, - you're being a lifeline to us. We'll let you know how things develop tomorrow.

Good night and God bless.

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your prayers, emails, and phone calls. We do appreciate it! I just thought I would let you know how things are in ******* this morning. I understand the television has shown some scenes from *********. Maybe it is good that we are not able to see that. The international news has also confirmed the stories we heard yesterday from our friends, that 20 people were chased into a house which was then shut up and set alight. Apparently there were 11 children inside along with the adults. Of course the Kenya news keeps saying that only a few people have died.

We had a curfew last night. However, that apparently didn't stop some people. Around four in the morning we heard a lot of gunfire. Somehow it seems so much worse at night than in the day time as you don't know what is happening, where, or how close it is. [Actually, we didn't get too much sleep. ****** was restless and the gunfire woke me up straightaway. It was pretty scary]
******** woke up this morning full of questions. They were trying to understand why I had gone out with ******* yesterday to where those "angry men" are. ******* wanted to know why they don't leave. [I think they're picking up on our anxiety as they are very sensitive and having more squabbles than usual] This morning there have been more gun shots, not sure exactly where from. We hear on the news that the politicians still believe it is all about them and that they are throwing around recriminations and threats. They have unleashed something in Kenya which is much bigger than who won or lost the election. It will take a long time for those wounds to heal. They talk from their armchairs and luxurious homes while people die or lose all they have.

The human face to this makes it so much more tragic. …. yesterday …. ******* went to his house to see if he could collect some of his things. He'd fled the place in the morning with just the clothes on his back. We'd even considered going out again while it was raining so hard to see whether we could get to his house. But in the end we thought it would be too dangerous to go out in the dark. This morning we heard the news that ***** still has not been able to find his wife. Also, youths went to his place during the night and burned it down. ****** has lost everything!
It appears that much of the shooting we heard was happening (around us). Apparently there were a group of youth who were looking for members of the other tribe who live in this area. The police were made aware and came and shot to chase them away.

I've just been in touch with another of our neighbours… I was concerned for them…They are very frightened and got very little sleep last night. We have offered them what assistance they need. But what can you do when others are looking to do you such damage?

We will see today if there is more we can do for those around us so tragically affected by the situation which has overwhelmed this country.

Thank you again for your prayers and concern.


.... It has been hard to hear the stories of what they've gone through over the past 48 hours. This morning, ******* was barely coherent, he was so traumatised. We were getting him settled with somewhere to sleep, when suddenly he broke down and began to sob. It was heartbreaking…
I put my arm round (a young child) and gave her a hug. She nestled into me and gave me a shy smile - so hard for an 8 year old child to have to run for her life. They were all exhausted and hungry… Meanwhile, ****** have been dashing around finding food, blankets, sheets, etc. for them all. Fortunately… we should be OK for a while.

I have found this day hard. I'm tired and have felt tearful at times. I had to go into a corner every so often and pray hard that God would keep me strong and not get tearful in front of the kids or the others. I haven't felt very brave! I just wanted to say that your emails and texts have been such an encouragement to us. I don't know what we'd have done without them. Thank you, thank you. So far, all is calm tonight. We could all do with a good night's sleep so I pray it remains calm.

God bless.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Urgent Prayer Request

This is an urgent call for prayer! Not too long ago we had a missionary couple from Kenya visit our spiritual community and share what GOD is doing in Kenya and how he is using this couple to help in the community where they live. The following is excerpts from many emails that have been edited…but they give you a sense of what is going on overseas. I have taken great pains to edit the emails but I trust you understand the big picture!

Dear Friends,

Please pray for Kenya . And we'd appreciate your prayers for us as well.

So far things have been calm here in ********** save for riotous youth burning down the opposition's office after the voting results were announced….

However, I'm writing you tonight as we've just heard a lot of gunfire in our neighbourhood. It's dark and there is no way of knowing what is going on. But it is a clear indication that we are not immune from what has been happening in other parts of the country.

…one of our workers who lives on the compound with us was just out visiting a friend when the shooting started… He ran back immediately and is now safe with us.
We've had our news somewhat censured here so don't hear everything that is happening around the country though we have heard reports of a church being set on fire in another part of the country leaving something like 50 people dead. You may know more from your news sources or from the internet.

Please pray for this country!

Hello again

Since our last email to you much has happened. Sorry if I repeat myself but just wanted to fill you in on how life is for us here at the moment and for Kenyans that we know. Life here has pretty much come to a stand-still. Though things are slowly returning back to normal it still has a way to go.

The situation became even more real to us on Tuesday night when we heard prolonged bursts of gunfire in our neighbourhood. It was dark and we hadn't a clue what was going on but it certainly raised our anxiety levels a few notches. Since then the police have imposed a curfew – no one is allowed out after 7.00 pm and things have quietened down again. Today I met with the …staff … They were all very worried and scared, and gave me their version of what happened on Tuesday night.

******** heard that there was a group of … young men armed with machetes and knives, who decided to fight … and drive (others) from the town. ******** told me that the rumours are in fact true that some members of the sinister (and dreaded) ***** sect are in ******** . This sect caused a lot of problems last year. They want people to return to traditional …. beliefs and they carried out several grisly murders around ……, including many beheadings. The police clamped down on their activities and many of them fled to the ******** area. Although the police managed to catch many of those that came to ******** a few remained in hiding.

****** is based at the prison where (a relative) works so is relatively safe. …. told us though that hundreds of people are camped out in the staff dining room within the prison compound as they are afraid for their lives. Others are camping out near the police station. The father of a little boy******** … received a death threat this week. He … lives with his wife around the corner from *******. They are so afraid that they are moving house to be near the prison.
…The news is filled with stories of atrocious acts of hate being perpetrated throughout the country. But when it affects people close to you and those living around you, the seriousness of the situation really hits home.

This is tragic. We keep asking ourselves how this could be happening here. We have felt many emotions over the past few days – disbelief, anxiety, sadness, frustration. The underlying question is: how is this all going to end? While the politicians exchange rhetoric, everyday people are suffering and life has been put on hold…Meanwhile, in the shops, supplies are running out and there is no petrol or diesel in town. Prices of basic goods have shot up. The Red Cross has set up a distribution point in town to help those displaced by the violence. While these are minor 'hardships' compared to what many have suffered in this country, it is still a reality of life here at the moment.

We have tried to protect our kids from what has been going on here but the couldn't help but hear the gunfire the other night and were full of questions. They are definitely aware that all is not as it should be and yesterday, when I was tucking ****** up in bed, he said to me 'Mummy, will Jesus save us from the giants, the guns and all the bad things that happen?' Out of the mouths of babes…

Thanks for praying for us. We're aware that Kenya is moving away as a main item of news but things are still going on here. Please keep in touch. We love hearing from you and will do our best to respond.

THOUGHTS? Prayers!

Monday, January 21, 2008


I visit this site occasionally ( when I need a good laugh. However, the above poster struck me in a number of different ways. First of all I am struggling (if you have not noticed) with some of the ‘unwritten rules’ of the church world in which I find myself. In a conversation with a friend the other day, I walked away wondering what was more important in some people’s minds; the unwritten rules of ‘church world’ or how we learn to live out our faith in a culture in which we are called to be lights?

I have maintained that not everyone sees the world through the same glasses theologically. I have friends who are Calvinistic to the core, you would think that you are talking to John himself, as well as friends who are very Arminian in their theological perspective.

A ministry of balance is what I feel that I am attempting to live out in my personal life as well as the community in which I lead. I choose to seek the Biblical middle ground between the extremes of Charismainia (you read correctly) versus Charisphobia, emotionalism versus traditionalism, and Calvinism versus Arminianism and what I find is that there is no final solution possible. Great theological minds have debated the issues like free will versus the sovereignty of God for centuries without ever being able to reconcile the two. Arguing for one side at the expense of the other is foolish (in my opinion) because by nature it is not provable, and therefore is an argument which no one can win. Can’t we all just get along?

I, myself hold a theological viewpoint that I am very comfortable with, to the point that I can ascribe to a ‘denominational’ statement of faith. My issue goes further than this…
What I really find puzzling is how people will put emphasis on ‘tradition’ and ‘history’ as their statement of faith. I know that my view/interpretation of what it means to “be in the world and not of it” of may differ from some of my contemporaries, but why is it if one’s methodology is different and not their theology, that one could imply that someone is being divisive?


Monday, January 14, 2008

Break the Rules?

I had the opportunity to listen to Pastor Craig Groeschel at a conference a few months back and I have been sitting on what I heard for quite a while. So now, it is time to share what he said that has put a fire within me.

Craig opened up his lecture by reading Mark 2 and breaking down the story of four friends who broke through a roof of a house to get their friend to Jesus. It was interesting that we do not know how far these friends walked or for how long, but what we know is that they were on a mission. They saw obstacles and desired so desperately to get their friend to Jesus that they did desperate measures. Think about it, they did something that got others angry.

So the question was posed “When was the last time you busted something up to get someone to Jesus?” Why is it that the Christian culture has set up so many social and cultural rules….the do’s and don’ts….and many of these rules are the very same things that keep people from experiencing Christ?

I loved that Craig endorsed “That we all need passion for people, passion for Jesus and passion for the Word of GOD and add to that integrity and be willing to break through some barriers…” in our culture. We need to be driven to reach people for Christ.

Craig pointed out that “we have everything that we need to reach the people that GOD wants you to reach.” And so, as believers and leaders we need to care deeply but do we really care deeply about people? We have to ask ourselves if we are like one of the four friends that cared about the paralytic? Or are we so self absorbed that we are oblivious to what is going on around us? “When was the last time you had a non believer in your home? And the plumber does not count?” So, who is GOD calling you to reach that no one around you is reaching?

If you are a believer we must build within other believers an increasing passion for people who do not know GOD or else those Christians will they will resist anything new that we do. In order to reach those that no one else is reaching we will have to do things that no one else is doing. It is about time that some leaders and believers care more about reaching people than what other people think about ‘your’ particular ministry….we must care deeply.

Not only must we care deeply, I wonder if we need to break rules! Wow, that opens a whole can of worms here doesn’t it? So often the church preaches the example of how Jesus spent time with the outsiders of society in their places of comfort, their homes, etc.

“The church at large has not represented Jesus well and maybe it is time that we need to break some rules? We need to care enough for our friends to break through the roof to do something. Martin Luther broke some rules when he put the bible into the hands of the common person. John Wesley broke the rules when he took the message of the gospel outside the church.”

“We need to care more about reaching people than what we do about man’s stupid rules. The church historically puts more man made rules and limitations on itself than any other organization around. We can’t do that, we have to do it this way, we have always done it this way.” “We cannot contain the Gospel… believers we look at what people are doing and we study and learn and when GOD leads you…you may have to break some rules….”

Craig went on to add that “when you care deeply about people, and this causes you to break some rules, and when this happens…be prepared that you will offend some Pharisees….” Whenever you do something different learn to duck because people are going to start firing at you.”

In the Luke 13 Jesus healed on the Sabbath and it was the Pharisees who were offended, so the Pharisees got together that day and began to plot his murder. The irony here is that you can plot murder on the Sabbath, but you cannot heal on the Sabbath. And what we find is that in our culture today, as in the culture of Jesus’ day, there are people who feel that their religious man made rules are more important than what scripture really teaches.

Things that are closest to the heart of GOD is most offensive to the Pharisees. Like When you hang out with “those kind of people”…or when you try to do things to reach “those kinds of people” you will be criticized…and the majority of the criticisms come from the religious ones.

If you think about it, most of what is accepted today was “hated” in the church world years back. Having drums and electric twangers, worship teams (cheer leaders) doing drama, wearing jeans in church could have gotten you shot in some places, clapping or even laughing in the church was not allowed, but snake handling was!!!! And still is if you live in Kentucky.

Craig’s exhortation went something like this: “Some of the things that GOD may call us to do will be hated for a season, but we must endure it, and put a smile on our face just like those who have endured so much more and paid the real price of sacrifice and not just a little bit of criticism.”

We must not worry about criticism. We do not have to defend ourselves… Worry if you are not being criticized by the Pharisees!!!!

I believe that there are many false believers today in our society, who really don’t know Jesus who throw stones at other churches, at pastor and other Christians and maybe even you, because they see people trying to move the gospel forward in different ways, and that is what we need to do. We must do this however with love, and we must continue to move the gospel forward even if it does offend the Pharisees because when it comes down to our faith it is all about reaching people who don’t know Christ.

So who is GOD calling you to reach? What is GOD calling you to attempt that hasn’t been done before? What new thing is GOD calling you to do that will be hated today and embraced tomorrow? Just as I finished this my inbox bell went off. It was an email from Todd A. Rhoades the editor and Publisher of And this is what he wrote…

In his book The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell (McGraw-Hill), Oren Harari quotes former Secretary of State Colin Powell as saying, "Being responsible sometimes means ticking people off." Well, okay, I cleaned that quote up a little for this article, but the point remains the same: Sometimes when you're a responsible leader, people will not like what you're doing. Sometimes people will get quite angry. Unfortunately, in a church leadership setting, many times this means that people will get so angry that they'll leave your church.

Powell goes on to say: “Making people mad was part of being a leader. As I had learned long ago…an individual’s hurt feelings run a distant second to the good of the service.”
Harari summarizes: “Leadership can’t be a popularity contest. Trying not to offend anyone, or trying to get everyone to like you, will set you on the road to mediocrity. Why? Because leaders who are afraid to make people angry are likely to waver and procrastinate when it comes time to make tough choices. Leaders who care more about being liked than about being effective are unlikely to confront the people who need confronting…They won’t challenge the status quo. And inevitably, by not challenging tradition, they hurt both their own credibility and their organization’s performance.”
Clearly, in ministry work, people’s feelings are important. But the work God has called us to do for the kingdom is equally important. Many churches are deadlocked in tradition and will never change because there’s a group of people whose feelings (or even sins) will never be confronted.

Is your church on “the road to mediocrity”?


1 Corinthians 9:22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Feeling Fresh

We had the opportunity to go South (FLORIDA) for the holidays! It was awesome. We drove over 7500 kms and went through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. We laughed and we played hard. A great time and we wished it didn’t end. Enjoy the pics…