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Entries from January 2008

Quote of the week

"The more unsavory the characters, the more at ease they seemed to feel around Jesus. People like these found Jesus appealing: a Samaritan social outcast, a military officer of the tyrant Herod, a quisling tax collector, a recent hostess to seven demons.

In contrast, Jesus got a chilly response from more respectable types. Pious Pharisees thought him uncouth and worldly, a rich young ruler walked away shaking his head, and even the open minded Nicodemus sought a meeting under the cover of darkness.

I remarked to the class how strange this pattern seemed, since the Christian church now attracts respectable types who closely resemble the people most suspicious of Jesus on earth. What has happened to reverse the pattern of Jesus' day? Why don't sinners like being around us?"

Phillip Yancey from The Jesus I Never Knew


Reminder

I wanted to remind everyone, especially some of our new friends, what it is that we are now doing Kenya.

First and foremost we are running a home for girls. These are orphans who have nothing in life. They have no hope at all. We have invited them to our home, which is called A Future and a Hope, in order to give them just that, a hope in the future.

The home is designed to be more like a family instead of an orphanage. Right now we are operating one home, but have vision and plans for many more. The need is immense, there are one and a half million orphans in Kenya. There is no system in place to deal with them, so we are here to help how we can.

 We also have secured a small farm to produced our own vegetables and possibly a milk cow or two. We already have a few chickens and geese for eggs.

 Secondly we visit the sick and dying. We try to comfort them, feed them, and if possible arrange health care for them. To accomplish this goal we are working with a local Kenyan run organization. This group does not have any outside funding, and we do not bring much in terms of money to the table. However what we lack in silver and gold we make up with love and attention. From time to time we share about some of the folks we meet.

 We also work with local denomination here in Kenya.  Essentially we give advice on projects when asked.

 All of this is possible because of the generous support of friends and family. We are honored to serve and appreciate the sacrifices that are made to keep this effort going.

 We have an immediate need for transportation. There are presently 15 people in our first home and soon to be 17 residents. Our 5 passenger car is struggling with the load. A van has been located but funds are desperately needed to purchase it. One time gifts are needed and appreciated for this projects.


Lack of Water

It is being reported in the Kenyan media that an ODM (opposition party) MP was killed in Nairobi. I do not have the details at this time. I hope this does not cause any new violence to erupt.

Nakuru has been relatively calm for the past day. I did not hear of anything major happening, and I thank God for that. I was in town for several hours and it was just like any other Nakuru Monday, uneventful.

Our main complaint right now is that we do not have any water. So needless to say the house smells pretty bad. We all are itching, literally, for a shower.

Hopefully the water we ordered actually comes today.


Longing for Innocence

I was thinking of the story in Genesis about Adam and Eve. You know, before they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they had no idea what was right and what was wrong. They were like children, innocent.

Children do not think of doing evil, simply because they do not know evil. They have to eat of that fruit first. We teach children how to be evil.

I really believe that children are born innocent. Tots lack the ability to sin or to hurt their brothers and sisters. I am not going to deal with the theological aspects of this today, but I do feel that our doctrine that man is born sinful is wrong.

Everyone is "fearfully and wonderfully" created by God. What Yahweh creates is good. How can he create something that is bad? We corrupt the creation of God, not the other way around. Anyway I am not worried about the doctrine right now.

In my work I meet a lot of children. Some of them are still innocent, while others have had that innocence stolen from them. Though they may not be able to express it to me I can see it in their eyes.

They long for their innocence to be returned.

The thing is once it is stolen it cannot be given back. It becomes tainted.

Let us try to preserve the innocence for as long as possible.

 

Johnny Brooks

    Missionary living in Nakuru, Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for girls.


Naivasha

The violence has spread from Nakuru to Naivasha. Groups of youth are stopping vehicles, or at least were yesterday, and beating or killing people not from the right tribe. Fifteen people were burned to death in a house. They were in the house seeking refuge from the violence.

What kind of politics is it when you lose, rather fraudulently or not, that you kill people whose only crime is that they have a different name from you? What kind of security is there when gangs of youth, not battle hardened soldiers but young men with no training, can best the police and carry on these barbaric acts in broad daylight?

I will add my voice to the many that are calling for the two men at the top here in Kenya to come together and agree on a solution. Part of politics is compromise, so both need to compromise.

Nakuru still is tense, but not as bad as before. I was able to go to town without any issue yesterday, and I imagine again today. We could still hear the security forces fighting whomever they are fighting yesterday, but it did not spill into the town center.

Where we are living continues to enjoy peace. I see now how people live in a war zone. Despite all the chaos, people dying, and burning going on we still have to continue on with our lives. We still cook, feed the animals, bathe (O.K bathing is not going on right now because we do not have water,) and do the other things that people do at home.

The girls are not going to school today, and we have no idea when they will go again. Our friends who have been staying with us are still here, as we have not been able to really check on their places yet. Other friends seem to be o.k.

Thanks for all the prayers and concern we really appreciate them.


The Way I Was Made

Today, I went to a worship service with my neighbors and had a great time. We sang the song "I am Free", which I believe is by the newsboys. The first verse and the lyrics go:

Through you the blind will see
Through you the mute will sing
Through you the dead will rise
Through you all hearts will praise
Through you the darkness flees
Through you my heart screams
I am free
I Am Free To Run
I Am Free To Dance

I Am Free To Live For You
I Am Free

What was funny was, no one in the whole gathering danced. We all stayed in our little boxes, all wanting to run, to dance but scared to be the first one. Too bad we couldn't take an example from David. He became like a child as Jesus taught (Matthew 18:3) and danced in the streets (2 Samuel 6:14).

It's crazy how as a person grows older, they start to set boundries. We can be walking down the street, and not even look at another person because we "don't know them." We keep our distance, we're reserved. We don't smile enough, we care too much about appearances. But children on the other hand, are completely different. They have a habit of "breaking the ice." They don't care about personal boundries, they don't care if they look silly, or act "un-normal". Another song I like is, "The Way I Was Made" by Chris Tomlin. The chorus says:

I want to live like there's no tomorrow
I want to dance like no one's around
I want to sing like nobody's listening
Before I lay my body down
I want to give like I have plenty
I want to love like I'm not afraid
I want to be the man I was meant to be
I want to be the way I was made

All Christians should live like this.

-Rachel


Picture of the week

This picture was taken from our balcony here in Nakuru, Kenya. This is just one of many fires we were watching today. 25jan08 137

ps

Right now, we have over 12 friends staying in our home. All in all, we are 27 people. We have no idea when they will be able to return to their homes, or if their homes will even be standing when this is all over. However, together with God's help, we are able to help each other, encourage each other, and live together joyfully.


Rough Day for Nakuru

Yesterday was pretty bad for Nakuru. Basically from what I can put together there were two gangs fighting each other all day. Each side numbered about a thousand, and neither could defeat the other. They burned, looted, and killed all day. Eventually it seems that the police and the military, yes the military, were able to regain control of the town center.

I am not sure what all happened in the estates last night, but I imagine it was not good. Thousands are displaced, in fact we had an additional three families with us for the night. I do not know how long they will have to stay here, the future is unknown at this moment.

The side of town we live on remained calm, and seems that it will continue to remain that way. The fighting is being carried out by the poor (isn't it always?) and so the less poor inhabitants are not fighting each other.

I will go and check out town this morning. Try to see if anything is open and buy whatever we may need to feed all these additional people.

Hopefully people's passion will have cooled or at least the army will intimidate them enough to keep the feuding tribes in check.


Chaos in Nakuru Town

It started yesterday with the killing of a Kalenjin athlete. He had traveled from Nairobi and alighted at the Mololine booking office here in Nakuru. Some people grabbed machetes from a nearby vehicle and hacked him to death.

This created much confusion and the police had a hard time controlling the area. I had been in town just before this took place. I sensed tension and decided to stay on the other side of town, and so escaped being caught up in any of the event. This killing was not done impulsively, it was planned well in advance and involved many people.

Today I went to town, to buy some supplies, and I could see the tear gas clouds floating around. I saw stones laying around on the road, which had just been used against vehicles in town.

It was a bit surreal. Nothing like this has happened in Nakuru town in the past three years that we have lived here. I turned around at the Woolmat on the west side of town and came back home. I am sure business will be going on by the afternoon, but in the meantime people are nervous.

Nervous people tend to make stupid decisions. I pray that we will all think with clear, calm, and cool heads.

I spoke with some friends who told me that there was a group of people in town just beating everyone. I suppose the police were firing tear gas at them. I speculate they were Kalenjin wanting to revenge the death of their tribesman. Details are sketchy at best, but the point is there was violence in the town center.

There has also been homes burnt, but I cannot confirm where yet. Much fighting in Njoro (about 20 minutes from here), Elburgon, and Molo. Hopefully things will calm down today.

There is no immediate solution. It will take time, perhaps years to heal the rift between these tribes.

 

Johnny Brooks

Missionary in Nakuru, Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for girls.


Violence in Nakuru

Yesterday, the violence and tension was so high here in Nakuru that the head teacher called and asked me to pick the girls up from school early. There were police everywhere, shops were closed, and there was a man hacked to death just in town because he was a Kalinjen. Ben called home in a panic because he was near the scene, saw the blood, and he wasn’t able to get through the chaos to home.

When Johnny took Lonnie, our recent visitor, to Nairobi, he heard the military shooting tear gas just a few meters from where he was. Later in the evening, we saw it on the news, and Johnny pointed out where he was standing in relation to the commotion.

Honestly, I thought the country was getting better there for a while, but people are seeking revenge. Night before last, we watched someone’s property burn. It was in the distant hills, but it was a big fire.

People are fleeing their homes. Rumors are spreading about potential attacks. People aren't sleeping at night for fear of losing their lives...

Something needs to happen. The country is a mess. The two presidents talked yesterday, but I that’s not the issue with the people any more.

Please continue to pray for us. All this fighting gives Johnny and me more work to do. There are lots of orphans being produced and lots of people who seriously need food and shelter.

~Kate