Finally a Sunday. A number have gone by in recent weeks, but at last this one feels like a Sabbath. Nairobi is calm today. No doubt what millions of Kenyans are praying for all over the country. Peace.
I spent a good part of last week up in Sudan, doing some of the regular flying I am used to. AIM AIR ceased flying refugees over a week ago. Once military escorts became available, and large convoys of cars and buses began to evacuate those fleeing, we have not been flying so many people related to the election unrest. It has been reported that a quarter million Kenyans are internally displaced right now. It’s also the first time in Kenya’s history that anyone can remember Kenyans living as refugees in neighboring countries.
For the first few weeks of the unrest here, AIM AIR flew about 500 people out of western Kenya with our small airplanes. The last flight I did in this sortie brought in a bunch of well respected church bishops – peacemakers on what was probably an impossible mission. I prayed they could make a difference.
Peace is not coming easily however. The crazy days since we were locked down on our compound have now ebbed into a strange kind of normalcy here. We go about our lives and work, passing Kenyan police in riot gear at main intersections, and driving over and around debris on the roads. The odd gunshot here and there doesn’t raise our alarm anymore. Honestly, the current state of our host country is hard to gather. There’s still small, and often violent, demonstrations which erupt without warning. And there’s flamboyant headlines in the newspapers. The photographs are grim. We don’t hear about many of the actual stories however. Except from our house-worker. She came to work this week with a front tooth knocked out… visibly upset. In the process of telling us about running from rock-wielding youths, and about the dark things that happen in the slums at night, Renee became visibly upset.
We are learning more about the “why” behind the trouble in Kenya in recent weeks. I am beginning to realize that it is not just about a flawed election and a step backward for democracy. It’s also about power and corruption (and the power to cover up your corruption.) It’s about wealth – the “haves” and “have-nots” (Most Kenyans are of the latter designation.) It’s about fairness and justice. And underlying it all, it is about race. Tribe.
Across the ocean we are following the struggles of my dad as he beginning his battle with cancer. We know now that he has leukemia. We know that it will take his life eventually. As the news of dad’s sudden illness became worse and worse, Renee and I began to think about going home. We are struggling now with the implications of this. When and how we will go is something we really need wisdom about.
Before I left for Sudan this week Renee had a low day, with the plight of our house worker (a good friend) and my dad weighing heavy on her heart. She was washing dishes in the kitchen pretending that all was OK, but it wasn’t. I reached out to hug her and she broke down. “You know, he’s my dad too,” she said.
I took those words with me as I flew in Sudan. The long hours between destinations in the airplane provide a lot of time for reflection, and I did a fair bit of it this week. Mostly about Renee’s words. I would ask you to pray for me, to have wisdom and courage as I lead our family and ministry, but that seems rather selfish right now. I’d rather you pray for my dad, who is in the fight of his life. And for Kenya… probably in a similar fight.
And lastly, for the many of you who have sent us a quick note of encouragement recently, we are thankful. Even for the prayers. Especially for the prayers. Thank You!