JESUS CHRISTIANS NEWSLETTER #97, FEBRUARY 2008
The situation in Kenya has not improved since violence erupted following alleged rigging of the election, held on December 27. The leaders of both major parties (Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki) have met with various international leaders such as Desmond Tutu, John Kufuour (president of Ghana) and Kofi Annan, but progress has been slow. Unfortunately, violence and looting has increased dramatically. Thugs now appear to be using the elections as an excuse to drive people from other tribes away from their homes so they (the thugs) can steal their land and possessions.
Giddy, who is a Kikuyu, was not able to stay at our volunteer centre, because members of his tribe were being attacked in this area. Fortunately, he was able to board a small missionary plane that landed at a tiny local airstrip, and fly to his home area where he could be safe amongst members of his own tribe. Giddy had a strong vision for helping the children of Western Kenya, and was a key participant in the reading program we have been conducting over the past two years. It is not clear when he (or any other Kikuyus) will be able to return to Western Kenya in peace.
Joe left Kenya this month, partly because locals felt that he looked like a Kikuyu (Joe is African American, but his ancestors did not come from Kenya at all.) but also because his relatives had hired a Kenyan private investigator to stalk him, and they had given reports to the U.S. Embassy which made the Embassy treat us like criminals. We and Joe had previously given the Embassy full details of our location and how to contact us, but they did not respond to that information. Instead, they sent agents who refused to produce I.D. to ask questions of Quaker authorities, claiming (falsely) that they were wanting to evacuate Joe from Kenya. We have complained to the Embassy, but those complaints have been unanswered as well. We are now keeping Joe's whereabouts completely secret, in order to stop his family from further harrassing us and him.
Robin and Christine participated in a Quaker peace conference in Kakamega from January 24-27, where many stories were told of the violence that Friends had experienced in their various localities, and where plans for counteracting the violence through peaceful measures were discussed, along with plans for trauma counselling to the many thousands of people who have been affected by the violent deaths of some 1,000 Kenyans over the past month.
Local Quakers have become more involved in running the volunteer centre, and there are plans to use it to help alleviate the pain currently being felt in Kenya.
In the latest round of violence, attempts were made to systematically destroy the sealed roads all around us, making transportation virtually impossible. There are rumours of bridges being destroyed too, as a way to stop the military from coming into our area. If that is so, it puts us all at the mercy of local militias. For the time being, we have felt the need to stop the English teaching program, and to look for ways of using what few resources we have to promote peace and co-operation in our area. Your prayerful support is greatly appreciated at this time.
Throughout the month, you will be able to read updates on what is happening in Kenya by visiting this link to our forum:
Click on the thread marked "News re tensions in Kenya".
MEDIA COVERAGE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
February should be a big month for media coverage in England. On Sunday evening, February 10 (8pm, Channel 4) there will be an hour-long episode of "Wife Swap" which features Sue trading places with a woman from a very rich family for a week. The dramatic differences in lifestyle make for some interesting interactions, to say the least! Immediately after the show, there will be a half-hour "Aftermath" broadcast on Channel E4, where both couples discuss their feelings about the experiment, and how it has affected them since it happened.
Both these shows can also be viewed on the internet at:
Alf will be featured in another reality show, called "Dating the Enemy", where he spends a few days with a woman whose lifestyle is also dramatically different from our own. Watch for it on ITV 1.
Watch for comments on these shows after they are broadcast, on our forum, under the section marked "Controversies":
AROUND THE WORLD
News in the U.S. is that both teams have met up for fellowship and combined outreach in Texas, before heading up to Kansas to spend some time with Ezra and Jeremy's family.
In Australia, Barry and Ash are living in one bus and working in Sydney, while Ross and Israel are heading south to Melbourne in the other bus. Thousands of copies of "Listening" are now going out in Australia, with good (though limited) feedback so far. The book is about a Jewish Quaker who is used by God to bring people of all religions together in the "last days". You can read the entire book online by going to this link:
Or you may write to us and request that a copy of the book be sent to you.
Tensions continue to rise in our relationship with Quakers, following a disappointing display of large scale gossiping at the Yearly Meeting in Melbourne earlier this month. You can read more of that in the section called "Publishing the Truth" on our forum:
However, we are still hopeful that, at some stage, there will be a breakthrough with regard to our request for dialogue. There are some Friends who are working behind the scenes to overcome the fear and hatred with faith and love. We are very grateful for their efforts.
Check out some of the new articles that have gone up on our web site (or read some of the older ones if you haven't already), by clicking on the link below: