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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kenya at War

Kenya invaded Somalia this week, and President Kibaki officially declared a state of war.  It is a peculiar war, waged by Kenyan military across their border in cooperation with the weak government in Mogadishu against the kidnapers and insurgents who control much of the territory in between.  The reality of this is pretty far removed from idyllic Kijabe.  Pretty far, but not completely.  Today as I walked to the market with Acacia, I saw police stopping and checking vehicles as they approached the hospital.  Our neighbor pointed out that  one was wearing blue flip-flops with his blue police uniform which cut into the intimidation factor a bit.  Emails are circulating about security awareness, because Al-Sha_bab has threatened to bring their campaign of terror and bombs to Nairobi in retaliation.  This station has a history of angelic protection from attack during the Mau Mau uprising decades ago (Mau Mau who were later captured reported turning back from attacking missionaries and children at the school, because of the strong perimeter of military they saw, when in fact there were none).  So one could look at it either way: a dangerous spot as the largest concentration of American missionaries in East Africa and the perfect target for anti-USA or anti-Christian terrorism . . . or a very safe spot protected by God Himself.

In other news today, Burundi was named as the most corrupt country in East Africa.  Our new team has their work cut out for them,  Every step of their work, from building houses to getting vehicles to approving curriculum to rehabbing the hospital to sourcing clean water . . will be met with the obstructing frustration of inefficiency and bribe-seeking.  Uganda has cracked down on anti-government protestors again, even as a hundred US military "advisors" landed to assist in the capture of Joseph Kony, murderous and deluded leader of the LRA.  Our Uganda team is back in business, with new team mates Josh Dickenson and Pamela Stephens.  Josh was an intern with us who went on to finish a PhD in Engineering in Florida.  And as soon as he landed he was swept up in trouble-shooting diminished water flow in the pipleline that provides tens of thousands of people with life-saving clean water.  As soon as the Johnsons landed they were sick, a key CSB donor landed unexpectedly early for a visit, and another team mate had an injury requiring stitches, so it's back to the usual push.  Pushing for the Kingdom, and being pushed back.

Please pray for peace in Kenya, for protection from terrorism.  Pray for courage in Uganda, and wisdom, and provision as our team puts their shoulder to the plow, as our CSB students and friends take their life-determining national exams.  Pray for vision and growth in Sudan as our team hosts 5 businessman interested in micro-development.  

Pray for our family too. One more week with Grammy, Caleb feeling the crunch of application deadlines, some disappointing grades and games, some very heart-rending patient stories, all felt more acutely by me because I'm muddling through an unpleasant case of dysentery for the first time in over a decade (just after I told a new missionary that I eat freely when we're out in Nairobi and never get sick . . . ).  

One can be lulled into the protected beauty of this place, of a structured hospital, of competent colleagues, of seemingly normal teen life and school, and forget that we are living in a war.  Right now, both spiritual and literal.


Bethany said...

Praying for the war against forces seen, and the battle against forces unseen. Remembering your song about praise being our weapon in this battle of faith. Sorry for your sickness, but glad you've had a lovely visit with Grammy. We're in the busyness of a team visiting, and Melissa getting ready to land, and general life crazyness with its encouragements and frustrations. Miss you and your lovely fam!

Barbara Elwood said...

Our prayers are with you, the Bundi and Sudan teams as well. We plan on seeing Heidi this week and Luke in November. Please give your mom our greetings. Much love B & J.