Dear Co-labourers in Christ,
I am doing well in the Lord and I just give thanks to all who have been praying and supporting the ministry of the Bible College of East Africa (BCEA). With this prayer letter I would like to share what happened during the August presidential election.
- Experiences Years Back
It was December 30, 2007 that I arrived in Kenya. It was a Sunday afternoon. When I was going to BCEA from the airport, the city of Nairobi seemed to be so quiet with only a few people seen on the roads. On my arrival at the college, I unpacked and hurried for the five o’clock Sunday evening service. Soon after the service, I heard people shouting afar, and I wondered why. Later on I realized that it was the very first day after the national election, and the beginning of the post-election violence in Kenya. The mass violence lasted quite a few days, and many people were killed. The violence reflected a deeply rooted enmity between the different tribes, especially on the issue of land possession. During that time, all the residents in BCEA could not go out but stayed in the compound for safety. I was so scared, too, when I saw a man from the Luo tribe almost attacked by a crowd of Kikuyu people, just in front of the BCEA gate.
- Preparations Before the Day
With this experience in my past, I understand why with every election time people become very tense. When the presidential election date was announced for August 9, we were aware of the possibility of mass violence in the country, and had to be prepared for our safety.
By the beginning of August, BCEA had concluded its second term. Most of the BCEA students went back home because of vacation and they could be safer at home. As for personal needs, I had to do grocery shopping and store food stuffs in case I could not go off of the compound. If there was a case of any violence, it would have been hard to move around. What was important was ministry, especially keeping in contact with the mission stations and with my Junior Youth. Before election day, we hurried to make a visit to the Masai stations in Namanga and the Rongai station in Nakuru.
It was at Rongai where we met our BCEA Alumni doing ministry. We shared with them the burdens and challenges in ministry, such as constructing church buildings, meetings the special needs of church members, finding Sunday school materials, and so on. One topic which caught my attention the most was about single mothers in the church. Pastor “R”, currently in church ministry in Kambi ya Moto, shared, “I had a youth leader in my church. When she graduated from the university, she got pregnant. Then she was denied by her family. She was removed from her post in the church and there is no place for her to return to church.” He added a word, “But…Jesus said a man without sin shall cast a stone at the adulterous woman…” Indeed, there are too many single mothers that the church doesn’t do much for; yet what about their needs, especially their spiritual needs?
I also made visits to the campus church Junior Youth. For example, “S” grew up in the campus church, and recently did his national exam (an electrical course), and then was able to work in using his course. He finally came out from the coffee plantation where he used to work, and rented a room so he could be independent from his parents. However, not all the time does he get his “daily bread”. During those times he shared with us, “As I go to bed, I ask the Lord for his provision. The next morning I get a call, “Come and eat with us.” Maybe this is the very time “S” will draw nearer to God. Yes, not all, but certain Junior Youth are growing in the Lord.
- Peace On The Very Day
The day of the election was very calm and quiet. It was a rather peaceful morning. All the campaigning music, which had made so much noise around the campus, stopped completely. Schools and shops were closed and not many people were working or walking around. We kept ourselves (BCEA staff) inside. No bad things at all! Since then, one day, two days, yes, seven days passed until the announcement was made on the results. William Ruto had won and Raila Odinga had lost. But as usual, Odinga did not want to admit the outcome. Rather, he and his party brought the case to the Kenyan Supreme Court. That is how the election was suspended. As I write, maybe it will take a few more days or weeks to know who the new president is. Or will they redo the voting again? Anyway, there was no violence reported so far. This time around, “peace” seems to matter more than who will be the new president. I thank all of you who prayed for the peaceful election in Kenya.
- What Happened After the Day
Because of the election period, the government made all the schools close for 16 days. To make up those classes missed during COVID-19 last year, schools had to run four terms this year instead of the normal three terms. This made schools rush and squeeze in lessons. On top of that, we now face more missing days due to the election! Wow! It was hectic for all the teachers and students to finish the curriculum within the remaining days of the fixed academic schedule. When I see the little kids writing and reading (much more than normal) in their classes in the kindergartens (those affiliated with BCEA), I can’t help but feel for them.
Friends, please continue to pray for peace in Kenya, in terms of these presidential issues and for all school children (not only our kindergartens but also all the schools in Kenya) so that they cope with the educational schedule this year.
In His service,
Bai, Eun Young