First of all I hope everyone who was there enjoyed our Mothers Day celebration. For just one of the many positive comments I've had on the morning check out Nina's comments here. Two people made first time commitments at the end of the meeting which is very exciting.
I thought you might be interested in an update on the situation in Kenya. I deliberately haven't been bombarding Edward Buria with update requests as I know he's very busy dealing with the situation itself, so this update comes via David Stroud who leads Newfrontiers in the UK.
You will be aware that Kenya has been in turmoil over the last two months following the post Christmas elections. There has been widespread tribal conflict resulting in over 1000 dead and 350,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in camps, people who have had to flee their homes, often when they had been destroyed by neighbours from another tribe. Prices of food and other commodities having risen by three times or more caused by fuel shortages due to insecurity of travel.We rejoice at the recent deal that has been signed between the President and Leader of the opposition party and pray that this will be the start of a return to normality. However, there is inevitably a long path to secure peace and much rebuilding to be done both of relationships and of property. Within minutes of the signing the following text message was received from Edward Buria who leads the Newfrontiers churches in Kenya:
'At last Kibaki and Raila have signed an agreement deal which means that is a MAJOR breakthrough. We all the same have a major hurdle to jump i.e. how to translate that agreement to grass root where tribalism and violence took place. Thanking all that have been praying around the prayer points that I gave. All other humanitarian efforts remain in force with major challenges as we try our best to assist. Thanks and all blessings. Edward'
Since the conflict erupted Edward and his team from well over 100 Newfrontiers churches have been doing an amazing job travelling widely to help with food (21 tonnes of Unimix, 1412 sacks of maize, 300 sacks of beans, 400 kg of cooking oil, 50 sacks of sugar), blankets, mosquito nets, medical assistance and transport for people who wished to return to their tribal villages for safety. They targeted about 3000 people, many from our own churches, although, due to the extended family culture which pervades in Africa, this has in fact affected about 9000.
Further, the choir from Edward's base, Kambakia Christian Centre, has composed a Swahili song titled "Kenya Itasimama" (meaning 'Kenya will stand'), that has been broadcast, and has been termed by national leaders and politicians a National Anthem for Kenya at such a time as this. They have also held peace crusades in many rural markets where Edward has been able to address thousands of people with peace messages.
I'll add more updates here as I either get them via Newfrontiers or directly from Edward.
This weekend we should be able to announce the total gift day offerings for Kenya and for Andrew White including the Gift Aid. I'm just thrilled by how generous you have all been.
Finally for those of you tracking my health I was supposed to go and see the consultant tonight for a Cystoscopy (don't ask!) but it has had to be put back to Thursday because his wife was ill. I'm very glad he didn't get to examine me whilst he might have been otherwise distracted but frustrated to have to wait a bit longer - especially when I'd spent all day mentally preparing myself for it :-)
Hope you're doing well and that I'll get to catch you at the weekend - don't forget the Church Vision Night on Sunday night.