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Sunday, July 06, 2014

And Give you Peace

Juxtaposed with blessing today, chaos.  I chose Numbers 6 for the blessing for Julia:
May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up the light of his countenance upon you
And give you peace.

This was the blessing that my pastor growing up, Pastor Vail, pronounced upon our congregation weekly.

And give you peace.

Poignant, today, because we are in a swirling epi-center of NON peace.

Here in Kenya, 29 people were killed in another round of attacks on the northern coast.  Tomorrow is "saba-saba", or 7/7 in Swahili, a day with political significance chosen for protest.  Tensions are mounting, people are being warned to stay home, the opposition (mostly from the west) versus the current administration (mostly central).  In South Sudan, our team is pondering whether to continue with plans to return at the end of the month because of newly increasing violence and tribal tensions.  In Uganda, the embassy sent out a very specific warning of an attack planned on the airport this week.  Our boarding school had a stressful exhausting week as a letter purportedly from some parents was read on the radio accusing the administration of all sorts of things, then students went on a hunger strike, rocks were thrown, police brought in.  Just as this was simmering and being sorted, in the last 24 hours five coordinated attacks in three western Ugandan districts have left over 50 people dead.  No one is quite sure what is going on, but the official line is that this is internal tribal conflict as well.  Some of the gunfire and violence took place near our team.  Visitors heading into the district were turned back by machete-wielding youth.  Our team is safe but bunkered down; our school has closed.  I talked to Melen and my heart goes out to her as she makes decisions about her school, her teachers, and her own children, all alone.  She is from the minority tribe, and if things get out of control that could be bad for her.

At least Burundi is plugging on ahead, working and building and teaching.  We just talked to Luke who passed through Kibuye on his East Africa road-trip circuit last night, and we are super-thankful for their hospitality.  No war, but he did come upon a wrecked vehicle and so showed up at the team's hospital with a bleeding child in the back seat.

You don't appreciate peace until it is, quite suddenly, not there.  The familiar pit in your stomach, the uncertainty, the rumors, the limited mobility, the hyper-alertness, the taking-nothing-for-granted view that is blocked only a few hours or days ahead.

Please pray for God's peace in East Africa.  Meaning real peace, real dealing with fear, protective reprisals, greed, hate.  Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda all need the Gospel that breaks down dividing walls of hostility, that gives people true harmony in diversity as the many tribes reflect God's infinite complexity and yet also God's trinitarian unity.


Jennifer Ronco said...


"Ambi" said...

Praying as well! Keep us posted