Conditions in Kenya Difficult, Needs Are Great

Post a Comment » Written on February 8th, 2008     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (February 8, 2008) – Although the violence in Kenya has receded from the front pages of many newspapers, the need for assistance to refugees and residents remains great, says Lindy Lindquist, who recently returned from the African nation.

Lindquist traveled with Dickson Mwati, moderator of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya (ECCK), to numerous local churches with multiple visits to four refugee camps. They distributed food, clothing and other items that were purchased with money provided by Covenant World Relief. To see additional photographs, visit Kenyan Relief.

“The two biggest needs I see right now are homes that are bulging with friends and relatives, and hundreds of school children who are unable to pay their school fees,” says Lindquist, a former Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) missionary to Congo.

FamilyOne Covenant family typified many others, Lindquist says. The family of six (accompanying photo) had doubled to include a grandmother, sister and four nieces and nephews. All were living in the one-room house. Each night, they moved furniture to the street so that people had room to sleep.

At least one fourth of children who should be attending school are unable to attend classes. Parents dislocated from their homes have been unable to find work and can no longer pay the school fees.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and about 300,000 displaced since violence erupted after the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki.

When Lindquist arrived in Kenya, he and Mwati drove four hours to a Covenant church where Lindquist preached. Forty women attended the service. Lindquist didn’t learn until after worship that only three are members of the church – the other 37 are refugees.

A refugee camp had been established in the area. “I thought I was going to a church, and I wound up going to a refugee camp,” Lindquist says.

Fear has kept many people away from church since the violence began, Lindquist says. There have been instances in which people have been murdered – including one in which refugees were burned alive – as they sought sanctuary in churches.

Many refugees have fled southward from Nairobi and other areas to regions where Covenant churches are located. Vehicles with passengers traveling south often are attacked, Lindquist says.

Lindquist says churches are working to help heal divisions, although that may take many years. At one church, the speaker asked everyone to lay their hands on the ground and pray for the healing of the land. “Sure enough, the ground was cracked, just like the country,” Lindquist says.

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