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Missions Insider Report :: Missions Insider

Suffering Continues in Kenya

April 1, 2009

More than a year after the horrendous post-election violence erupted in Kenya, 10 million people face starvation. Hundreds of thousands were displaced, including farmers who have not returned to their homes to produce crops. Famine has overtaken the nation. The power-sharing agreement between the two opposing parties, which was supposed to heal the nation, has done nothing to help the suffering masses. Instead, Kenya’s corrupt government officials, among the highest paid in the world, refuse to pay taxes on their bloated salaries and continue to engage in numerous scandals.

The following is a letter received by Christian Aid from Sylvester O’kango, ministry leader of Kenya Evangelism Team:

Checking the maize for quality

Dearly Beloved Brethren,

Greetings in the mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

"He raises up the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy out of the dunghill; that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of His people." Psalm 113:7-8

This verse describes the environment our missionaries and other people we reach are living in. It describes the indignity and desperation of the poor, trapped in remote areas ruled by hunger, disease and traditional beliefs. But it also describes the prevailing hope that these people are not forgotten by God, and that His desire is to raise them up.

Hungry people receiving maize

We give our loving God all the glory for enabling our missionaries to reach out with the gospel of our Lord Jesus and win many souls to Christ. Remember to pray for them daily that the Lord will go before them wherever they go and provide for the needs of their families.

Economic and Political Situation in Kenya

We have described in earlier newsletters the political unrest in early 2008—the result of the corrupt election process and long-simmering tribal animosities. Our city of Kitale was largely spared from violence, but in the villages circling the town, the suffering was extreme. On top of farmers not being able to plant last year because they were chased off their farms, now the whole country is experiencing serious drought, meaning another planting season lost. This is a catastrophe.

Some of the children we care for

Prices of staple foods are still rising, with maize flour up about 400 percent—unobtainable by the majority of Kenyans. The headlines in the Kenyan papers recently announced that because of famine, 10 million people were starving to death. The Grand Coalition set up to unite the opposing parties has failed. The papers are daily filled with increasingly monumental scandals and corruption.

In spite of the starvation, the Kenyan president makes more salary than any president in the world, and the minister of parliament just voted for raises for government officials!

Because of the Kenyan government’s corrupt policies and practices, which are largely responsible for the crisis in the first place, the U.S. and other nations refuse to help at this time.

Emergency relief

Some have returned to their homes, but many remain in camps, particularly in Mt. Elgon, which experienced its own private war. Only two hours drive from Kitale, stories of rape, torture and horrible atrocities are at high rate. Many churches were burned and the congregations and families scattered.

Some of the children who had come to receive the gifts we took to them

Contrary to government claims, there are still many camps where people are living. They have cordoned off the area so that no one distributes food because they are using hunger to try to force people to go back to their homes.

None of the large aid organizations are going there. We have talked to eye witnesses that say people are eating leaves to survive. So many men were killed that some villages are comprised entirely of women and children. It is up to the smaller organizations on the ground to help them. We are trusting God that we may get funds to buy clothing, food, blankets, etc., to help these needy people.

Outreach

We managed to get some bags of maize, which we took to the people of the village of Bumba, which is at the border of Kenya and Uganda. In this area, there are many women who are widows whose husbands died of AIDS, and also many children who are orphans. We distributed the maize and they were so thankful because they are in great need of food.

These children need clothing.

We also visited the Turkana people, who are being greatly affected by the drought and famine. The region was so dry that the people eat meat and drink the blood, because nothing can grow in the arid land.

The famine has also affected some of our gospel workers. We bought maize for them. Each received 31 pounds to be taken to their families. We have advised them to plant various types of crops as soon as it starts raining again. This will help them overcome hunger in their homes. What they need now is seeds and fertilizers for planting. A 110-pound bag of fertilizer costs $47 and a 55-pound bag of maize seeds costs $34. Pray that the Lord may provide in time to enable them to plant crops.

Prayer requests

We are having a water shortage in our mission headquarters, where we will be holding all of our seminars. We started to dig a well and it reached 28 feet, but we had to stop because we have no more funds to pay the laborers. We need this hole to be 50 feet deep so that we can get enough water throughout the year. Also we need to buy a pump, pipes and a tank, which will cost $2,700. Generally, there is a shortage of water everywhere, and I believe this will help many people in the village.

Pray for some of the missionaries who do not have a means of travel and must walk. Pray that the Lord may provide bicycles and motorcycles for them. Remember to pray for the children who are lacking fees to enable them to continue with their education. Also remember to pray for our country, as the devil is attacking us with many tragedies.

God bless you all,

Sylvester O’kango
Ministry Leader of Kenya Evangelism Team

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