Thursday, January 3, 2008

On the Ground in Kenya

Missionaries LeRoy and Joann Judd work with African Inland Mission in Nairobi, Kenya. LeRoy is a seminary professor and Joann runs programs for children. Below are excerpts from emails they have sent over the last few days chronicling the violence broken out due to the results from the recent election.

12/30/2007 - 11:00 pm
For several days we have been asked to stay mostly at home due to the election results and violence. This morning we did go out to our church and spent much of the service in prayer. .. Much of the city is dark except for the fires (arson) raging in some slums, including Kibera, near our church, where many of our students and friends live. Some have taken refuge in an Assembly of God church. Pray for protection for God's people and for calm to be restored.

One of our friends says his room has been filled several times with tear gas as the police try to control the crowds. All live broadcasting has been suspended. We expect there could be further trouble tomorrow as the candidate who lost is declaring a victory rally.

1/02/2008 - 10:00 am
We have been basically indoors for almost a week now with just brief trips out to a small mall a few blocks away during the lulls in the violence. One of our gate guards got a phone call from his wife who reported that their neighbor's houses had been burned, the two supermarkets and the hardware store, but that their house and the other on the street were still standing.

We never know what a day or night will hold. We are concerned that the quarrel over the election has taken increasingly tribal lines and there is a terrible backlash against Kibaki's (the candidate who "won" the election) people, the Kikuyu.

Last night it occurred to me that this violence is also spiritual warfare. Churches and mosques and Hindu temples are becoming places of refuge, as as the burning of one church with its occupants shows, Satan is at work here. A spirit of evil and violence is controlling people. We need to pray earnestly that our God will restrain and hold back this evil spirit and that His people will be protected.

1/02/2008 - 5:00 pm
Tomorrow is a critical day, because Raila (the candidate who "lost" the election) has called for a mass rally of a million people in Nairobi tomorrow. The government is saying the demonstration is not allowed, but the opposition is planning to go on with it anyway. This sounds ominous to us. As Kenyans hide in their homes and churches, we urge you to stand with them by gathering in groups for prayer.

1/03/2008 - 7:00 pm
Today the opposition party had called for mass action. their party headquarters are within easy walking distance of our apartment and Bishop Tutu was meeting with them. By noon we had reports that marchers were just a few blocks away and we were grateful for all of you standing with us in prayer. They actually passed on our street and came to our gate asking the guard "what kind of people are here?" Our guard is of the right tribe and political party, so they passed by.

Our night guard just arrived and says that last night he had moved his family. That very same night people burned the block of 13 rooms where they had been renting.

We were greatly saddened to watch on TV the burning of one of our sister churches.

Pray that the international community can bring pressure on the president to allow another tally of the votes and bring in mediation to quell the tensions. Thank you for standing with us.


Anonymous said...

It really makes a difference in how we look at the news. Putting faces and individual perspectives makes it real. How can we help?

pastorfritz said...

What I've heard from the missionaries that I've been in contact with is that prayer is what is appreciated most. Robert Johnson, a Presbyterian missionary serving at Forman Christian College in Pakistan, said in response to the violence there: "Pray. Pour your heart
out to God for the church and world. Your sisters and
brothers in mission depend on you."

Another way to help is by giving money. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has set up an account to help the Presbyterian Church in East Africa feed and house the many displaced residents. More information can be found at