Our friends James & Chao work with families in Kenya providing marriage education, counseling and family services. They send this encouraging email today Monday March 3, 2008 and I had to share it with everyone.
For about two months now, you have stood with us in prayer and especially for our nation Kenya. Many of you have cried with us as we have watched our nation go up in flames. You have wondered with us about the fate of our nation and specifically, our personal safety. Some of you opened your homes for us, should there be need. We cannot begin to tell you how much we thank the Lord for you. For the nights we would go to bed with our passports and some extra cash tucked under our pillows. The many times we would wake up in the middle of the night wondering … The days we would leave the house and less than an hour later we would be right back because we were asked to stay in our homes – those are the times when the only voice we had was to ask God to remind someone to pray for us. The Lord answered our prayers, because time and time again, His peace would return and our weariness would be gone.
From the bottom of our hearts, we say THANK YOU!
This last Thursday, under the leadership of Kofi Annan (former United Nations General Secretary), our president and the opposition leader together addressed our nation. Many of us were glued onto the television, as we waited to hear from the two leaders who have pretty much held the country ransom since December 29th last year. Tears flowed freely as we heard the opposition leader addressing the president as, “your Excellency the president”, for the FIRST time since the disputed election results on December 29th, 2007. We watched as different parts of our nation broke out into shouts of joy, jubilation and relief. People took to the streets, this time instead of machetes and fire bombs; they held twigs and waved their hands and clothes as they ran.
Today, Sunday, at our church, we had several members return to church after being absent for the two months. Most of them are of a different tribe from the majority church members. One of them, a key opposition politician and one who appeared on TV several times threatening the government with mass actions, come back and we all shook hands and hugged freely. This weekend, for the first time in two months, the highways are jammed with vehicles as people travel freely from one province to another. While we normally would be upset that there is traffic, this time we are asking, “bring it on Lord”!We thank you for your prayers. We thank the Lord for hearing and answering according to our requests.
The task ahead is greater. That is why we ask you to stay on your knees and continue praying for us, and for our nation Kenya. The political agreement is in paper, the test comes when we begin to implement the coalition arrangement. If you have kept up with the news about many African countries, we are terrible at following through with the agreements we make. A key example is Sudan. But we ask the Lord to have mercy on us and actually allow us to be an example to the rest of Africa. Lord, hear us!
With the political agreement, our work with the internally displaced Kenyans becomes easier – psychologically, and challenging physically. As a church, we have moved to the phase of helping the displaced resettle. Many of you have given toward this and the work continues and actually picks up beginning next week. The challenge we have had is that many of the displaced, especially from the majority tribe, did not have a place to settle back to. We are buying iron-sheets (for semi-permanent homes), paying to transport the displaced to the different destinations, and in some cases, give two-months rent for those who will not build but rent. We have also been buying school uniform, school bags, school books, and other stationery, to help the children go back to school. With the political agreement, the work to relocate them and get them back to “normalcy” becomes a priority.
We ask you to also continue to pray for the healing of the people of Kenya. The wounds we inflicted on each other are deep and we certainly know that the Lord is able to heal – we are also aware that in many occasions, we also leave the healing to time. The people of Kenya should have the opportunity to grieve and as long as we are headed for the right direction, we ask for GRACE to bear one with another. Many marriages have been wounded and many completely broken. Since we work with marriages, we see homes that have been broken, children being split from one parent because it is “safe” if the parents live separately. Continue praying for the children whose parents have not been found. The Kenya Red Cross has done a commendable job of helping unite families that were separated as they ran to separate directions when violence erupted.
Pray for us as we brace very high prices for basic needs. Your average Kenyan cannot afford to eat meat, even once a week. We are actually getting used to greens and more greens and when we have the opportunity to eat meat, we bless the Lord! Gas prices have gone up and some pack their vehicles at their driveways and take public transport.
We bless the Lord and we look to Him as we seek for His mercy during these times. May the Lord and His purposes REIGN in and with the people of Kenya.
In Him who has kept us,
James & Chao Wanje
To Donate towards their work with families in Kenya, please write to:
James & Chao Wanje #2790657
Campus Crusade for Christ International
PO Box 628222
Orlando, FL 32862-9841