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June 26, 2008 - from FUM Africa Ministries Office
God is and has always been faithful to us in our ministry. We have continued to experience his miracles all the time since we started the peace mission in Kenya. In our smallness and humbleness we have seen mountains moving and deep valleys being leveled.
I travelled to Nairobi on Saturday 21st so that I could attend a visa interview at the USA Embassy on Monday 23rd. Before I travelled in the evening, I attended a very successful prayer meeting for all the USFW Kenya women held at Mbale Friends High School. This was a meeting that gave me hope and strength after weeks of exhaustion. In my emptiness, I felt filled with fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. We had a prayer meeting for peace where I gave them the problem that we had in Sugoi in Eldoret. We had women drawn from all the 15 yearly meetings in Kenya in attendance for one day of prayers for peace in Kenya and Africa. Dorothy Selebwa the Clerk of USFW Kenya presided over the prayer meeting and led all women in praying for the Friends Church Peace Team of which she is a member of the team. Dorothy Selebwa will be attending the Triennial in July. After a very successful prayer meeting at Mbale school which was attended by over 1,300 women, I travelled to Kisumu to connect to Nairobi.
I went to the American embassy on Monday 23rd morning for the visa interview and was given the visa. I am now sure I will travel to the Triennial this year. While in Nairobi on Tuesday 24th, I was called on the phone by the District Officer off the Turbo Division that they would like to resettle back the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) from Sugoi on Wednesday 25th and senior government officials will be in attendance. I informed Joseph Mamai to conduct other members of the FCPT (Friends Church Peace Team) to be present in Sugoi. I travelled from Nairobi on Wednesday morning 25th to Kisumu, then Eldoret/Sugoi.
Friends, I would like to report that the prayers that were offered on Saturday were truly answered and I thought it was a dream I was imagining. The elders of Sugoi, had met after the ugly incident that happened on Thursday 19th where the IDPs were chased away. These elders rebuked themselves and vowed never to repeat such an action in there lives with their neighbours. The Kalenjin community elders went to the camp and asked their neighbours to join them home. They went to bring them to their land. The elders agreed to host them in their homes rather than building another camp with Tents. Families divided among themselves the IDPs who had come. It was a time of joy and many shed tears of joy. It was a great reunion among the themselves. There was a man who owned a school and an orphanage which were both destroyed badly by the villagers out of anger during the post election violence. It is sad when you look at what used to be a homestead looking like a ruin or which has been hit by a tornado. The old man called Muchemi, talked with tears in his eyes, that he does not count what he lost in the violence, but he is happy that his old friends have welcomed them back tho the familiar neighbour where they have lived for many years.
When the high powered government official arrived, it was around 5.00 pm and the people had been waiting for them patiently since 8.00 am in the morning. They came, talked briefly, and left in a hurry, but we continued with our program of the receiving community taking them to their good neighbours. It was joy as they embrace each other, I felt tears in my eyes after seeing an old man Muchemi who lost 600 bags of maize, 500 bags of dry coffee ready for export, a school and an orphanage for the destitute children from the area. He was very brave when he extended a branch of olive to those who did the demonic act. He asked to be forgiven if ever he annoyed anybody, and many others followed.
The work of the FCPT is very much evident on the ground and both the IDPs and the elders talked as if nothing had ever happened. The communities of the Kalejin and the Kikuyus have appreciated the work FCPT has done and is still committed to work with them in resettlement and organising more Peace activities for the youth. Please continue to pray that the peace we have withnessed today 25th June may remain forever.
God's blessing to all of you.
Director, Friends United Meeting, Africa Ministries
P. O. Box 478, Kisumu. Kenya
Kenya Friends Reconciliation Work Continues Into IDP Repatriation Phase
May 15, 2008 - from FUM Africa Ministries Office
Thank you for your prayers and encouragements. Today was a real test for our first ever meeting with the receiving community in Turbo. The meeting was very crucial in the sense that the IDPs are being forced to return to their homes. But as a peace team from the Friends church, we felt that it was necessary to meet with the receiving communities first before we could bring together both parties for reconciliation. Nobody had ever met the receiving communities but they are only ordering them to accept them back.
Today 15th May, I led a team of 15 members of the FCPT in Turbo for this meeting which we had requested the chief and the District Officer to convene on our behalf. We arrived at the venue on time and the meeting began at 11.00am with prayers. The members of the Kalenjin community came as chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, village elders, women leaders, elected councilors, other pastors and other members of the community. It was hard to figure out what the outcome of the meeting would be. The D.O opened the meeting and threw it to me to explain the purpose of the day and why we have called for that meeting. Many of the community leaders were suspicious about the meeting as they thought we have come to convince them accept the IDPs from the camps.
Thanks to God who gave me wisdom to break the suspicion from the members. After I had explain who we were and what our mission was and what we wanted to be done and our role will only to listen and do nothing but just listen and find a way forward. They later accepted my clear explanation and realize that the meeting was very important for them. At first they were not willing to open up at all, but I later led them through a leading question which opened up heavy discussions from them. The question was "Were you equally affected with the post-election violence or it was the IDPs only?" The people talked as if they have never talked anywhere before and they were very open with us. It was discovered that nobody had ever asked them such a question, but other people have been accusing them of destroying other people's properties. They got an opportunity to express how they have been affected by the post election violence. They expressed how the police killed their innocent sons and the arrest of innocent boys who were rounded and accused of fueling or aggravating the violence. They complained of some chiefs being fired for not stopping the youth from causing violence.
The Receiving community accused the Kikuyus of arrogance, pride, dis-respective to their community leaders, use of abusive language, refusing to vote for their civic and parliamentary leaders but only voted for the president who came from their ethnic group. They complained that, if these people came from far and have accepted to leave among them, they must respect their culture and values as they found them living that way. They accused them of mockery in the sense that, they bluntly told them that they will be ruled for more than 100 years. Whether they like or not their presidential candidate will win the presidential. They talked so bitterly that the Kikuyus have no heart for other tribes in Kenya; they look at themselves as superior to everybody. You could read bitterness from their heart, we listened very keenly and through them concluded to go down into their local villages where these people were chased and meet with more of the youth who executed the act of violence. They anonymously accepted on the proposal and the meetings were fixed in the seven locations from 19th - 27th May, One meeting per day per location. By accepting our team to visit them and meet more villagers was a good sign of willingness to let the IDPs return but firs people were to be talked to first. After this meetings we shall them have a meeting between the Receiving community and the IDPs to bond the relationship and then steer up the process of resettlement. There is need for more prayers during this exercise. It is a tough one and we wish that it succeeds so that other places could copy the same from Turbo and Lugari area.
Tomorrow 16th we move to Lugari Division and also meet with a similar group of leaders from that area. This team will be led by Joseph Mamai the chairman of FCPT while I will be at Kaimosi hospital conducting interviews for the hospital administrator. On Saturday 17th there will be a bicycle race in both Lugari and Turbo area involving young people as a means of bonding a relationship. This activity is very important and we wish to have similar activities in the area as a reconciliation tool within the communities. On the same Saturday 17th may, I will be having a seminar with Lugari Yearly Meeting after commissioning the bicycle race. The seminar is meant for strategically leading the Lugari yearly meeting in a business plan for the 300 acre land for economic purposes.
We need prayers and support in all.
Director, Friends United Meeting, Africa Ministries
P. O. Box 478, Kisumu. Kenya
New Independent Conservative Worship Group in Central Pennsylvania
April 1, 2008
Independent Conservative Friends are launching a new worship group on May 25, 2008. Krebs Gap Run Worship Group will meet for worship the last Sunday of each month at 11 AM, followed by potluck, in McClure, Pennsylvania. Contact Edward Sargent, 570-658-3101 or 215-732-7120, for more information.
Unrest in Kenya Concerns Friends
January 7, 2008 (last updated January 27, 2008)
Results of the Friends Church Kenya Peace Conference Jan. 24-27 are posted at FWCC Kenya News
Friends Church Kenya Pastoral Letter now available
Kenya Healing - a December 12 report from David Niyonzima, Coordinator, Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services, Burundi
There has been considerable violence and disruption in the aftermath of the recent disputed election in Kenya. Kenya has more Friends than any other country in the world. These Friends are affiliated with Friends United Meeting (FUM). Staffs of FUM and the African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) of Friends Peace Teams in Kenya are safe. But many Kenyan Friends are facing difficulties with shelter and basic living supplies due to the unrest.
Here are four blogs Friends can watch for frequent updates on the situation in Kenya, with particular attention to effects on Friends and Friends' projects, as well as avenues for Friends elsewhere to help:
January 6, 2008
QuakerInfo.com has learned that Gwinnett Friends Preparative Meeting was recently laid down. The Preparative Meeting was under the care of Atlanta Friends Meeting, a part of the Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association (SAYMA), which is a member of Friends General Conference (FGC). The Preparative Meeting had included some Friends who were committed to faith and practice in line with the Conservative Friends tradition, and other Friends who were more aligned with the FGC approach.
The differences in vision between these two groups of Friends ultimately seemed too great for them to continue together. Those Friends who were meeting under the Gwinnett name have now split into two separate worship groups:
January 4, 2008
The Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) Section of the Americas has unveiled an Online Directory of Meetings and Churches in the U.S. and Canada. Meetings and churches may be searched by such criteria as state, zip code or part of a name. This is a comprehensive listing of Friends' congregations from all sectors of the Society of Friends. Never before has such a listing been available online.
This online directory has an easy update feature allowing meetings and churches to provide FWCC with updates of their information electronically. This will allow much more current information than a printed directory can provide.
The Section of the Americas hopes to publish a printed directory and expand the online directory to include Latin America later in 2008.
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