refugee women's mission
kept in peace as roving
gangs seek revenge
By Michael Ireland
(ANS) -- The
women of Amani ya Juu have escaped staggering struggles, innocent
victims of war and violence in their home countries as they escaped to
Nairobi -- a safer place. These marginalized women and children have
scratched out an existence on the streets of the slums, enduring
unbearable emotional and physical pain.
"In His time, they found Amani ya Juu,
means Peace from Above, a nurturing haven where they learned to sew
beautiful products to support their families. They sew side-by-side,
pray and support each other -- even those from warring tribes," writes
Lynda Young of Kindred Spirits International.
"That safer place (Nairobi)
violently erupted this month. These women, many living in the slums,
feared for their lives, and watched as roving gangs burned and ravaged
the city. Finally, they could meet together in the Amani compound for
prayer and sewing."
One missionary working with these
women in Nairobi sent this email: "Violence still erupts daily.
However, In the midst of all the fear and violence we know that God is
still God and that we can count on Him. Each morning before we start
our day at Amani we pray, and this morning the women begin with
thanksgiving to God for answered prayers. Throughout all that is
happening they still find many things to thank God for. Psalm 57:7
says; 'My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing
and give praise.' The heart of these women is steadfast, even during
this frightening time."
The women then prayed for needs -- safety, basic necessities of life
and for God to help Kenyans love each other and live peacefully among
each other -- seeing each other as Kenyans all created by one God, not
as different tribes.
The missionary says the divisions in
Kenya are deep. "But someone said 'We are praying for a miracle.' A
miracle is something only God can do. Yes, that is what Kenya needs --
something only God can do. We ask you to pray with us for that."
Young writes that Human Rights
Groups and officials charge the violence in Kenya has become organized,
and people say it is hidden hands organizing it now.
"We know who the 'hidden hands' are.
It is a spiritual battle -- not from humans -- but carried out by human
hands. The battle is the Lord's and we are His prayer warriors."
Another missionary in Nairobi said
that as likely happened all around Kenya Sunday, the morning
congregation at the church where they worship was larger than the norm.
"Even with the added voices, the mood was unusually sombre as we began
singing. Yet you could feel the sincerity as we sang in a mixture of
English and Swahili, 'Where does my help come from? ...Yesu!' Even
those of you who know only a few Swahili words from Disney's 'Lion
King' recognize the answer -- Jesus!' The worship team then led us in
singing, 'O LORD, be lifted up high.Your name is above all other names,
be lifted up high.' "
The missionary says that: "A
transformation began, the voices became stronger and we truly entered a
time of worship and praise! As I looked around, I realized that most
likely each person singing was either one of those who had been
threatened, hurt or among the displaced during the last few weeks or
like me, had close friends or family, not just acquaintances, among
those in the first category. Yet, the joy I sensed was incredible."
She continued: "Once again we heard
of how members of the church had responded this week to the relief
efforts. One special delivery was announced for this afternoon -- the
arrival of Gideon Bibles which church members would be helping to
deliver to the many places where the displaced are located.
"One deacon, a man of what some call the Wahindi tribe (Asian), shared
a unique testimony. This past week, he had told the members of his
service club made up of Asian men about the relief efforts of our
church. He shared with them that our actions were guided by Isaiah
60:1, 'Arise and shine.' The group decided to work through our church
with their relief efforts as they trusted what was being done. The
deacon shared that most of his fellow service club members are not
Christians and they did not fully understand Isaiah 60:1, but they had
adopted this great saying as their current logo! Our God does work in
mysterious ways! "
It was also a special moment when
one of the Deacons quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14 and used it as a guide for
the morning prayer. "As he prayed, I realized that I wouldn't want to
be anywhere else right now and miss out on watching how God is at work
in Kenya at this time!"
The missionary said her church
services are not as time conscious as ours and often last two hours or
more - as did that morning's. "We heard the planned sermon and an
opening mini-sermon on the true source of peace: 'You will keep in
perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you'
"No one needed to be reminded that the weapons many are using in Kenya
are the same ones used during Bible times! To end this special time, we
quoted verse 10 together, 'Be still and know that I am God; I will be
exalted among the nations.' I don't wish that any of you had to face
the current stresses of Kenya, but I wish you could have experienced
the unity and sense of God's presence in our service this morning!"
The missionary concluded: "I know I
am focusing on just one church again, but I have no doubt that the
reactions, responses, and commitments made in our church this morning
were repeated all over Kenya as Christians joined together to worship
the one true source of peace! Thank you for praying us through this
last week and thank you for the assurance we have that you will
continue praying. Rather than giving you new prayer items, I will
simply challenge you to read through Psalm 46 as we will do this week
and use it as a prayer guide for Kenya and other places of strife."
|** Michael Ireland, Chief
Correspondent of ANS,
is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a
reporter with a London newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to
UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station. Michael's involvement
with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- Michael
Ireland Media Missionary (MIMM) -- of ACT International at:
Artists in Christian Testimony (ACT) International. His weblog
Michael Ireland Media Missionary.