Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kenya, Brutality Update

I got another email today from our friends who are handing out food during the Kenya crisis. I have not been updating with each email, but suffice it to say these brave people risk themselves hourly to save lives with the food they deliver, and encourage the suffering with their words of love.

This email told the story of a family carrying the brutally murdered body of their relative to bury him. The car was stopped by a the gang who committed the murder, who asked what they were doing. The driver said:

"Taking our family member to be buried because those who normally do this are too busy with all the deaths".
The gang replied "say the last prayer, you are going to join them." When they had spoken this they poured fuel over the car and burned the family and the body down to the asphalt.

The letter continues with stories of Christian pastors planning to burn down churches where opposing tribe members have taken their families for safety.

This church is one of the Assembly of God churches we visited in a Nairobi slum. I am not sure if it has been burned. Can you imagine nailing shut the doors and setting it alight? Or, sitting on the floor, comforting your children as the enraged crowd gathers outside? Or maybe you are the pastor, finding spots for each family on the floor of the church - unaware that you are settling them into what will be their graves.

These stories of Christian on Christian violence remind me of a conversation I had in Ethiopia. I sat for lunch with the custodian of the hospital in Soddo and asked him how he ended up working there. He told me he had lived in Shashamane, the city where Jamaican Rastafarians live in Ethiopia. There, he worked at a university. He wistfully described his big house and nice job. Then one day, an envelope appeared, half slid under his front door. The letter inside informed him that he had one month to vacate the city. If he stayed longer, he would be shot. The local tribe did not want him or his family there.
"Were they Muslim?" I asked.
"No. They are Seventh Day Adventists."
We continued talking about the tribal issues, and I asked him if he wanted a coffee.
"I don't drink coffee," he said, "I'm a Seventh Day Adventist."