|22 January 2008
FACING DESTRUCTION, ESCAPING DEATH
Compiled by John MaleyaFollowing the announcement of official results of the presidential election in Kenya last month, the country has descended into bloodletting that has seen over 600 people killed, thousands injured. Over 300, 000 people have been displaced as their homes, farms and property have been looted, taken over or torched. One of the worst hit areas has been the town and environs of Eldoret, where there is a church of 160 disciples. The disciples have not been spared in this sad, sadistic and sorry series of events. Here are a few accounts.
FORCED TO THE FRONTLINE
Peter Kariuki, his brother, Nashon Muthee, and their wives, Druscilla and Anne - all disciples - and their four children lived in a village that was targeted for attack due to the ethnicity of its residents. As violence raged throughout the surrounding area, one day Peter and his family were surrounded by enemy warriors. They had to do something to stay alive and protect their families.
The women and children made a run for it while the men remained behind to defend their land. Those attacking Peter's village had poisoned arrows and bows. The men from Peter's village brandished machetes and makeshift shields in defence.
Because of their Christianity, Peter and his brother they didn't want to fight back, but their fellow community members forced them to stand guard and become vigilant soldiers for a time. The option of neutrality was not made available. Before their very eyes, these brothers saw a neighbour of theirs killed by an arrow right through his chest. They saw others fall fatally.
Peter and his brother stood guard. They survived. They didn't kill anyone. But they couldn't stay there anymore. They and their families became part of the twenty-seven displaced disciples who sought refuge and shelter in the evangelist's house.
They have since moved on to a camp for displaced persons 200 kilometers away. Away from their homes. Away from the church.
"My family and I have been living and working at Kimuri Farm. We were part of a community of 12 adults and 26 children. The children attended a school on the farm.
"As the year 2007 was drawing to a close, disaster struck. On the 30th of December (the day the election results were announced) Satan struck, forcing everyone to flee for dear life. Arrows filled the air and hordes advanced, machetes in hand.
"No time to plan. Ponder or pack. We took to our heels with nothing more than the clothes on our backs. Everything on the farm was destroyed - cows, goats, chicken, our harvest of maize, and our house. Nothing was spared.
"We now live in a camp for displaced persons and survive on relief food. We sleep outdoors and the children are getting sick. Some family members have managed to travel to our rural home thanks to assistance from the church.
"May God come to our rescue."
Johnson Kahiga and his wife have 3 children. They had put up a beautiful big house, had 2 cars and a successful business. They were planning a wedding ceremony to renew their vows and had bought the wedding gown and sent out invitations. That was life up until late December.
They became targets because of their tribe, which in the post election violence in Eldoret became a tribal war. Their home was attacked and torched one night. They were hurriedly able to pack a few clothes and then escape through the fence. A kind neighbour hid Johnson's wife and children, while he joined other men and kept vigil though the night.
The family got a lodge to stay in for three tense nights before Johnson was able to get his family to safety far from Eldoret. From the ashes of his house, he must now rebuild his life.
Benson Chakava, a brother, lived in the annex of Johnson's house. The annex is no more. It, too, was totally vandalized. The brother is now homeless.
LOSS OF LIVELIHOOD
3 others brothers, Fred Atiti, Dickson Okiy and Duncan Bulimwa, had their stalls burned down. They remain without any source of livelihood now. A sister, Peninah Njehia, fled with her husband and 4 children (including a months old baby) to a town about 400 kms away.
Appeal For Prayers
These are painful stories of bitter realities with which our brothers and sisters are faced. They are internally displaced but also Eternally In Grace. They are under siege but not overcome.
True faith is not trusting God when all is calm, but trusting God while in the storm. We salute the faith of these brothers and sisters. But we also feel their need. The Eldoret church hardly has the resources to significantly help these hurting saints. Any assistance from anyone in any way would help a lot.
Please pray for calm, peace and healing in Eldoret. Please pray for reconciliation and reconstruction throughout the country. Please pray for affected disciples in Kenya. PLEASE PRAY!