I thought you might like to read this account from John Muhanji about this week's peace work, and the evidence of what an impact our Friends Church Peace Team is having!
We went to the camp and met with the people, and when I talked and prayed for them, they willingly went and started pulling down their tents, ready to leave to their new station, closer to their houses which were destroyed....
I felt encouraged and energised to see that we could offer a new life of hope to people who have been feeling hopeless.
--John Muhanji, Director of FUM's African Ministries Office in Kenya
It is always wise to go by God's direction all the time we do our ministry. The months of March, April, May and June have been busy with so many activities that were to be done at the beginning of the year but were interrupted by the clashes. Besides our normal programs we were added more responsibilities of dealing with the Internally displaces people after the post election violence that rocked the country from end of 2007 after the election.
Many people were displaced as a result of being chased from other communities for not supporting a certain candidate in presidential election. During this time many people were looking where to go in search of security and shelter and food. Many people's houses were destroyed and many of their properties also stolen and others destroyed during the violence period. It will take a good longer time to heal from this evil acts from their neighbours.
After have a very successful mission to Uganda where I had a workshop with the finance chairmen and treasurers of the various monthly and Quarterly meetings of the yearly meeting. I received a telephone call from the District Commissioner at mid-night on Sunday asking me to join them get the IDPs from the Eldoret show ground to their homes.
The DC told me that he had been to the camp and the IDPs were hostile to him because he has not been with them at all. The IDPs told the DC the only people they know who have been very helpful in ensuring that they resettle to their homes are the District Officer (DO) and the Friends Church. He was given my number by the DO and the IDPs would like to meet myself from the Friends church and the DO on Monday morning.
I was very tired and I needed a rest after a long week full of activities. I tried to give excuses not to go or sent someone else, but the DC told that, "you have done a lot to this people and I believe you are the only person who could make this day a success." I accepted reluctantly but at the same time I asked God to give me energy and wisdom on how to deal with situation.
I left very early in the morning on Monday 16th to Eldoret show grounds. I met the DO and DC waiting for me. We went to the camp and met with the people and when I talked and prayed for them, they willingly went and started pulling down their tents ready to leave to their new station closer to their houses which were destroyed. Lorries were provided which carried them to the place.
As they were pulling down their tents, we went to see the place where they were relocating, we found that there were no rest rooms and water nearby for the people as they move there. At this time the DC had left us with the DO. We called the DC and asked him to provide funds for the toilets and water, but he never came to us again. Time was moving and nothing was taking place, I felt frustrated and I called Eden and asked her to send me Kshs.40,000 (about $620 USD) to use for the process.
Eden responded very fast, and I started rolling things in action. The toilets were put in place, water was also connected after buying pipes that pulled water which was 200 meters from the location. I also provided food to those people who worked on it. I also enable the connection of electricity from a nearby hospital which provided light for security. I got a wire that was also 200 metres and its accessories. It was as if I had calculated the exact amount that was required for the work available. I left the camp at 8.45pm when the camp was having water, rest rooms and lights in a very short time.
The IDPs and the DO felt encouraged and supported and the people felt that indeed the Friends church is a true peace church that cares for the people. They commended that we have been very helpful in the process and they have seen that we are the only church that has not taken the process for granted but as a duty. They saw integrity in us and wished this church could stay with them all the time. I even used also the same money to buy fuel for a government vehicle the DO was using when it ran out of fuel and were using it to carry longs and other things. They could not get the money from the DC to do anything. I felt encouraged and energised to see that we could offer a new life of hope to people who have been feeling hopeless.
I slept in Eldoret unexpected, because I came knowing that I will be going back to kisumu. The following day, we went to the show ground to see those IDPs from the same place who had remained. As I arrived in the camp and went round the makeshifts of tents, All those who had remained came out and started pulling down their tents in readiness to join their counterparts who left the previous day. Since everything was already in place I blessed them and asked them to move in peace to the new place.
At this time i was needed for another meeting in Kisumu at 2.00pm. I left Eldoret at 11.45am and I was in Kisumu for the other meeting that was to plan for the education secretaries meeting to be held on 18th June at 2.30pm. We met and made the agenda and what to discuss.
The program which the Friends Church Peace team has been doing has caused a big impact to both the communities of the Kalenjin and Kikuyus. These communities had no clue before that the Friends church had such values in peace and reconciliation. The DO continued to say that if it was not the Friends Church which I have hidden in their wings, I would not have penetrated or made any progress in resettlement of the IDPs.
Friends Your prayers and support has been seen and heard and we encourage that we continue with the same spirit of support. There is a lot of responsibilities remaining to ensure that we continue with bonding relationship activities between the communities. The resettlement continues this week and next week.
I greatly appreciate the call I received from Sylvia at 8.30pm when I was taking the electrician to his house after fixing the lights for the camp. I was driving and had to pull a side to talk to Sylvia with surprise. She called the right time I needed such an encouragement and it was as if she had been monitoring me and had to call when we were retiring to encourage me. Sylvia! thank you for that call it gave me strength and I felt I was not a lone. God Used you to call me at that particular time when I was very exhausted but I found myself energised.
God bless you friends.
-- John Muhanji
Director, Africa Ministries Office
P. O. Box 478, Kisumu.
Listening to Christ: A simple faith that transforms lives.