Monday, January 14, 2008

Carter ministry update from Nairobi - 1/12/2008

From Bob and Hope Carter
Formerly at Lugulu Friends Hospital
Serving with SIM in Nairobi

Dear Partners in Prayer,

We continue to be safe and well, although on the political scene (as you have been reading in the press, no doubt) bilateral intransigence continues to hold the country hostage.

It appears that neither side is willing to give any real ground for the sake of peace despite all the pleas to the contrary from various church and civil society sources.

RVA is still scheduled to re-open this Saturday. However, 3 days of mass demonstrations have been called in 25 towns and cities across Kenya starting Wednesday, and if they take place this could scuttle the ability for parents to safely deliver their children to school. We are awaiting further confirmation from the school.

Although we are grateful that Nairobi remains quiet for the present, one of the most difficult things about living through these times is the constant uncertainty. Planning is very difficult when one can not know whether travel will be safe on any given date, or if the supplies needed for any particular activity will be available.

We are grateful that meanwhile the cell phone and internet systems are still intact, so that voice and email communications have remained largely reliable.

We have been able to remain in contact with friends and others for whom we have been concerned, and this has provided great reassurance. Even so, we do not take these for granted. If the country degenerates into deeper chaos then even these may become unavailable.

Meanwhile, several new volunteers who were scheduled to come to Kenya under SIM have been advised to defer their travel at least until February. Things are just too unsettled to bring out a number of new, inexperienced young people. Just trying to keep all the long- and short-term missionaries who are already here safe and informed has been a challenge for the SIM Kenya leadership.

The numbers we are reading in the press fail to adequately convey the extent of the suffering that Kenyans are enduring.

Some of our volunteers are spending much of their time helping to care for the hundreds of refugees camped out at nearby Jamhuri Park. Some of our office staff have finally been able to return to Nairobi after going to their home areas for the holidays. But they have returned with gruesome descriptions of uncounted bodies visible along the roadsides and in fields, some of them dismembered.

The slum areas are in a condition of desperate deprivation.

For those who may be interested, SIM has established a Kenya Emergency Relief Fund. This is project number KE92601. If you want to help provide relief through SIM Kenya, please designate your check with this project number and send it to the same address you use for your contributions to us.

Ben Richmond arrived back from the States as scheduled Thursday evening. He and Jody were able to do business at Immigration on Friday and were assured that Jody's file is now in order and her request for a work permit can now proceed. They left early this morning to return to Kaimosi. They flew to Kisumu and we received a text message informing us of their safe arrival. They are doing some essential shopping prior to proceeding by road to Kaimosi.

Bob will be following them to Kaimosi on Friday this week. The hospital board meeting will take place as scheduled on Saturday as there is important business to attend to.

We are urgently looking for a doctor to replace Dr. Kamau. He is the only doctor serving at Kaimosi Hospital and is, unfortunately, a member of the tribe primarily targeted by all the violence in Western Kenya. He has had to be under constant police protection and is totally exhausted and stressed out. He needs your prayers. He can't continue under these circumstances any longer. Meanwhile we have been informed that he is only coming to the hospital now to attend to emergencies. The nurses and clinical officers are shouldering the bulk of the patient care. Our board chairman has been in touch with the provincial Ministry of Health over this problem, but apparently nothing solid has come of this effort so far.

We understand that the Friends United Meeting offices in Richmond, Indiana has also established a relief fund for Kenya, to be administered through the field office in Kisumu and through the Theological College in Kaimosi. Quakers who wish to give through FUM are invited to do so.

So here are our requested prayer points:

1. Over all, please pray for a peaceful political solution to the current crisis in Kenya.

2. Pray that whether or not the called demonstrations take place that there will be peace and safe transportation sufficient for school at RVA to open as scheduled.

3. Pray for the leadership of SIM Kenya, particularly that they may know the divine leading of God as they seek Him and pray over all the difficult decisions that must be made almost daily.
4. Pray for all those (including Bob!) who must attempt to travel within Kenya during these unsettled times.

5. Pray specifically for Dr. Kamau. Pray for his protection, strength, and mental clarity under such duress. Pray that a replacement for him can be found quickly and that he can evacuate soon to a safe place.

6. Pray for the institutions in Kaimosi, particularly Friends Theological College under the Richmonds' leadership and for the hospital. Pray that by God's grace they may continue to be able to fulfill their ministries and to be witnesses for the Kingdom of Christ, in whom there is peace and reconciliation, healing and forgiveness.

7. Give thanks for the continuing safety of those involved in various ministries in Kenya, and ask for the continuing protection of the Lord's hand over all those who are serving Him here.

Thank you once again for praying,

Bob and Hope

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