Monday, January 28, 2008
Please pray for peace to be restored, for safety for our staff, children and facilities. And for wisdom for our leaders in dealing with situations that may arise.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I'll be flying to Nairobi on Saturday and look forward to sharing the stories of what I see and experience.
Churches are uniting tomorrow for a day of prayer. Please join them in praying for true peace to come.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
- Please pray for God to refresh the staff daily as they spend time seeking his face.
- Specifically, also pray for our leaders.
- Please pray for David Tarus, who is more than just ELI's director. He is a well-respected community leader, and is seeking wisdom in how to lead his community during this crisis.
- Pray that God would continue to use David to speak truth into people's hearts.
- Pray that the ears of the people in our community would be open to hearing.
- Pray that our entire community would love our neighbors no matter which tribe.
- Pray for thousands of angels to walk with David wherever he goes.
- Pray for wisdom in facing the many challenges that are coming his way.
These are very confusing times, which we know is one of Satan's many tactics. We continue to bring our requests before our faithful God, sometimes not knowing what to pray but trusting that He is fighting for us.
During our Monday morning staff devotion, the following message was shared from 2 Chronicles 20, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's...Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld." Thank you again for continuing to fight with us for the glory of God to be shone in Kenya. May mercy, peace and love be multiplied unto you and also unto us and our people of Kenya.
We can do nothing but pray. I’m not sure if I would rather sit in France feeling powerless to help, or in Kenya; but we believe in God’s timing, and also believe that true peace comes from God; it seems like humans really fail at it.
So back to France, here we are. We live in an apartment of 3 tiny dorm rooms—two bedrooms and a kitchen. Tovah and Lami share a room and have spent their time playing in the two refrigerator boxes I found for them. Jen and I share a room too :)
The kitchen is filled with French chocolate, cheese, fresh bread, and lots of fruit (plus 500 Kenyan teabags we brought).
Elami goes to garderie during our classes, and seems to enjoy it. Tovah goes to Ecole Maternalle (nursery) and absolutely loves it; she is smiling when we drop her off, and dancing when we pick her up. French does not seem to be a barrier to our girls’ happiness.
We attend classes morning and afternoon, sitting with 8 other beginners wrapping our mouths around words that are spelled like dog but said like “jzwekyirtzh” and the like. So far we can conjugate 4 verbs, say the alphabet, and count to 10 billion (and the decimal places.)
The French are a lovely people (unlike what you hear.) They are polite and generally willing to help. They suffer from having the worst airport in the world, and extremely long lines, and insane prices, and no one cleans up after their dogs; but all in all it is a wonderful place. We are surrounded by parks with plenty of places to play or run, great food and culture, and schedules that work well with a family. In short,we are blessed.
Our current plan is to cram French language for 6 months, to take a short trip to Kenya (and possibly Congo) in July, to spend a few months in the USA, and to be out serving In Bukavu, Congo in November. Please pray for our plans.
Sorry to the many emails I have not replied to—Our computers seem to be intent on waging war against us. This time I had to reinstall Windows Vista (which took five hours and disabled our email.) If anyone would like a phone call from us instead, let us know. We now call with Skype which is very inexpensive.
That's the news—au revoir.
Davis, Jen, Tovah, Elami, and the French
We are sure by now that many of you have heard on the radio, read in the newspaper, or seen on TV the events that have been taking place in Kenya. We have all been in shock by what has happened. We do not know what the media is portraying in the U.S., but can only share with you the facts from what we have seen with our own eyes and experienced in our own lives.
When the unrest in the country began (Saturday, 29th Dec), for one week our electricity went off every evening at 7:00 pm and came on at 8:00 am the following morning. The usual sound of the train passing by on the nearby railway was silent for one week. Even the main roads were silent of vehicles and the many trucks that carry goods along the TransAfrica highway from Mombasa to Uganda and beyond; however, noisy with protestors and crowded with roadblocks.
In a stretch of five miles, a friend said he had to pass about 30 roadblocks, convincing the people who were manning them to let him pass peacefully. Most of us in the community did not travel outside of our village for one week.
Businesses, shops, petrol stations, etc were shut down as a result of the unrest. Some shops and homes were burnt in our nearby "town" of Kipkaren (3 miles from our home) and many of them looted.
I have yet to travel to Kipkaren to see with my own eyes, but David has. The shop where we usually buy bread in Kipkaren was one of the first ones to be burnt down. Throughout the week of hearing stories and listening to the radio, for the most part we felt safe in the village.
David, who is a respected leader in the community, mobilized the internal security in the village and the men were ready at all times to defend their families, homes, and community in case of anything. There were so many rumors being spread that we did not know who or what to believe. Through it all, we continued to trust God for peace and His protection.
Monday, January 7th, was the first time in two weeks that we ventured out of the village and went to Eldoret. Our hearts were heavy with sadness as we drove along the road and saw with our own eyes what we had been hearing on the radio and from people who called on the phone to share of their experiences.
We saw the remnants of many roadblocks and fires that had been started on the roads to block people passing. In the next town from Kipkaren, Turbo (about 10 miles from our home), was the most shocking site. AMPATH, the organization we partner with for treatment of HIV/AIDS, is located in Turbo, thus we travel there frequently. Approximately half of the shops in the town had been burnt and most others had been looted of all their goods and their doors were locked shut. There were only about 3 shops that were open when we drove through. A small town that is normally bustling with people and business was uncharacteristically quiet.
The petrol station, where they know us by name because we always go there to fill our tanks, was also completely burnt. David met the Councilor (government leader) of the Turbo area who shared his uncertainty about the economy of the town now after all the destruction.
Traveling further towards Eldoret, along the way scattered homes and shops were burnt and looted. In one area, about 20 vehicles had been completely charred. We saw some people walking with all their belongings to Eldoret in search of safety and refuge.
Once we arrived to Eldoret town though, it felt the same as the last time we had been in town, which was Christmas Eve. Small traffic jams, people walking along the streets, businesses and shops opened. We went to our normal supermarket and bought our normal groceries. In the market, however, the prices of fruits and vegetables had drastically increased; and the man we usually buy from was not there as he traveled to Nairobi to seek safety.
At the Eldoret police station and the nearby large Cathedral, thousands of people had gathered, carrying what belongings they were able to, now displaced in their own country. Thousands of internally displaced Kenyans in Eldoret had already been transported the previous day by buses and lorries (trucks) under heavy security to a sports stadium in Nakuru (about 120 miles southeast of Eldoret). More are continuing to be transported.
As of today, the reports say that over 600 people have lost their lives, 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in various parts throughout the country, and property worth millions of dollars has been looted or burnt.
Though the political situation in Kenya is still uncertain, life continues in our village of Chebaiywa. ELI in Kipkaren officially opened the year 2008 with our normal Monday morning staff meeting on 7th January with a time of prayer for our nation and motivation for the year ahead from David. Our Tumaini na Afya team met to chart the way forward for ministry in 2008. This morning, our vehicle was full as our team traveled with many of our clients to the AMPATH clinic in Turbo for vital HIV/AIDS treatment.
Yesterday, 10th January, was the first time in about 10 days that we have been able to connect to the Internet. We appreciate all the emails you have sent sharing your prayers and words of encouragement for our country and our people. We are all shocked and saddened by what is happening and are continually praying for a peaceful solution. I know that for David and I, our family and our community, we have a new and greater understanding of the value of peace in a nation.
We have been praying day and night for God to restore peace to our country of Kenya. There is a spiritual battle taking place in a realm that we cannot see, but we can sure feel. We invite you to fight with us in prayer as we pray for the following:
- Peace, love, and unity to cover our land.
- The leaders of the two main political parties, Party of National Unity (PNU) and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), to humble themselves, lay down their pride, and agree to talk. The latest report is that the leader of the ODM party is calling for a return to nationwide mass action through street protests since the negotiations failed with President Kufuor of Ghana. The word is that Kofi Annan is coming to lead negotiations. Pray for the success of these talks.
- A resolution to the current political dispute that will be just and the best solution for the people of Kenya.
- All leaders in the country to be wise with their words and actions and to look to God for guidance.
- Peace as the Parliament, which is largely divided, is set to open on Tuesday, 15th January.
- The Church of Kenya to stand united—fighting for justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.
- Much needed healing and reconciliation within communities. Only God can break down the divides between tribes.
- Safety and provision for the thousands of families who have been displaced from their homes as they seek refuge until the government decides what to do next. Major relief is needed in the forms of food, medications, blankets, etc.
- Comfort for those who are grieving over the loss of their loved ones and their livelihoods.
- Peaceful and successful opening of schools on 15th January (schools were supposed to open on 7th but the date was postponed due to unrest in the country). Pray for the safety of children as they return to school. In addition, pray for the thousands of displaced children who will not be able to return to school.
- Continued safety of our 187 children in the Children's Homes in Kipkaren and Ilula.
- Continued safety of our staff who will be traveling to the Training Centres as well as their families.
- For those who are HIV+ and displaced, pray that they will be able to continue with their much needed anti-retroviral drugs, that drug resistance will not develop, and that they will be able to get proper nutrition.
Thank you for standing with us and our nation in prayer as we journey through this difficult season. ELI has created an emergency fund to address all of the current needs that have surfaced because of the crisis. If you or anyone you know would like to give towards this fund, they can mail a check to our office (PO Box 67 Upland, CA 91785) and earmark it for the “Kenya Emergency Fund.”
David and Allison
Friday, January 11, 2008
The opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said that the talks failed after President Kibaki refused to sign a document agreed by both sides and approved by World Bank Country Director Colin Bruce.
The key points of the document are that they want:
- a credible, independent and impartial investigation into the issues arising from the elections
- to determine whether a re-run of the elections is necessary
- if so, to provide a time-frame for recommendations on the structure of government up until the re-run
"The government had offered dialogue which was to be facilitated by President John Kufuor but Orange Democratic Movement leaders have not been responsive," a statement said.
Mr Kibaki had invited his rival to hold face-to-face talks on Friday but Mr Odinga refused, unless the talks were led by international mediators.
So it seems like things are in a bit of a stale mate mode. Please pray that talks will move forward and resolution be made to solve the crisis.
Here's a good explanation on the discrepancies that led to the fall-out in Kenya.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
In the meantime, a meeting between Raila and Kibaki doesn't seem eminent.
Please keep praying for ELI leaders for wisdom as they meet today to discuss the impact on our ministry, and how ELI should help those around us. Also keep praying for safety for our staff and our children. Pray that God would bring TRUE peace, that this event will expose tribalism for the evil that it is. And pray for revival to spring forth from the chaos that has engulfed Kenya's people the past 10 days.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
1) The cost of food has gone sky high (e.g. a head of cabbage has gone from 10Ksh to 80Ksh), so we need funds to purchase at the higher rate.
2) Don and Amy just spent approx. $1,300 to buy food at a supermarket in Nairobi and have it flown up by AIM air to the Eldoret strip. They are hoping to do this multiple times. Julius was able to pick up the food and transport it safely to Ilula through the mob roadblocks.
3) At the Ilula training center, we have been caring for approx 200 women and children from the community. We are using the maize that we harvested from the orphanage to feed people from the community and will eventually need to replenish the supply.
4) We have been hiring some men from the community as guards to protect the training center day and night.
5) We have needed to purchase many phone cards for communication with the police and each other.
Those are kind of vague so we don’t have specific amounts, and we don’t know how long it will last. But it is the best that we can do right now.
Click here to access the ELI Online Giving site.
Monday, January 07, 2008
When Michelle and others were driving to Eldoret today, they were saddened to see the destruction along the way. About half of Turbo—the nearest town on our way to Eldoret (about 7 miles from the center)—had been burned down, including the gas station. I am waiting to hear if the AIDS clinic where we take all the patients in our home-based care program, sustained any damage. I am praying that it was safe. It’s a stone’s throw from the torched gas station.
Please also join us in praying that God would bring beauty out of the ashes and chaos in Kenya!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
We were able to get out of Ilula though it was difficult. MAF chartered a plane and landed at the Ilula airstrip.
Really, the situation is so unbelievable and we cry out to our Lord for His protection and peace in this Nation. Please continue to keep our leaders in your prayers. We will share more when we return. We spent the day yesterday securing food here in Nairobi and Wendy was able to connect with AIM air and we have it flying up to the airstrip this afternoon. We will do our best to get another shipment as needed in the next few days or so.
We are doing ok here in Nairobi and are staying with one of our staff here WENDY until our scheduled flight come about this coming Friday (Jan 11th).
Yesterday we went to one of the larger shops here on the outside of Nairobi and bought about $1,000 worth of food for our Orphans there at Ilula and Kipkaren. All of the shops in Eldoret and even Nairobi center have been closed and even when they open they are flooded with people and are out of supplies. Road blocks have prevented our staff in Eldoret from getting to town freely to buy supplies.
AIM is flying the food we bought (about 700 lbs) up there TODAY and two of the Ilula Home parents are braving the roads to go and pick it up.
Pray for safe travels for them as they drive to the airstrip and back.
There have been some threats to our home in Ilula as many others who feel unsafe in their small grass homes are sleeping on our compound in the Training hall at night. BUT at this moment ALL are well and safe and are carefully rationing the foods they have - not knowing how long this conflict will go on.
- Pray for Peace for the children who are struggling to understand this kind of violence and senseless conflict that surrounds them.
- Pray for the children home parents who are helping to guard the compound at night.
- Pray for safety and wisdom for David Tarus and our other directors – Samuel and Julius as they all provide leadership to the various groups.
- Pray for peace.
- Pray for pride to be broken in the Government leaders.
- Pray for our family as we travel back to the USA Jan 11th.
- Pray for the TC graduates who are still scattered around at home that they will be lights to their families and communities.
- Pray for some additional funds for relief foods and higher operational costs due to this conflict.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
ELI's headquarters in Upland, CA, just got a new member to the family: Mya Parker was born on January 1st. Her mom, Amy, has been working at the ELI US office for many years, and those who've been to Kenya may know how vital Amy is to the Stateside operation of the ministry in Africa.
Check out Mya's blog and drop the proud parents a note!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
In two hours at 2pm Kenya time, Raila is going to hold a rally in Nairobi and be sworn in as “The peoples President.” The former president who was also running again is Kibaki – who claimed victory yesterday has put the word out that he will have the police force arrest Raila at the rally. With the country split during the election and the debates about Kibaki’s victory taking place through corruption - this 2pm rally and arrest may bring about country wide violence.
According to this article in The Standard, the rally has been postponed to Thursday. Please pray for peace in the country. This article on BBC.com states that "The situation is very bad in the Rift Valley mainly around Eldoret where it appears to be organised killings. One tribe is targeting another one in a fashion that can rightly be described as ethnic cleansing..."
I am in South Africa as I had spent Christmas with my family. I will post updates here and on my blog as/when news becomes available.
Please pray for
- safety for our children and staff
- God to give our Kenyan directors wisdom during this time as many are turning up at our bases to seek refuge
- food supplies to miraculously last!