Tuesday, 8 January 2008

KENYA IS CRYING... (3) USA and Germany

The LCMS - Mission Office for East Africa, in Nairobi, sent the message as follow:, written by Rev. Claude and Rhoda Houge:
Dear Friends,
Many of you have written to us regarding the current problems in Kenya. We want to reassure you that we and the other LCMS missionaries are very safe. We live a distance from where most of the trouble spots are located. (See map below.) In anticipation of possible trouble, we all stocked up on food and other necessities, so we are staying close to home and not going into Nairobi at all. Church was cancelled last Sunday and New Year’s Day at Uhuru Highway Lutheran Church downtown. This Sunday might be at a different location.

For those of you who are not familiar with what has happened, on Dec. 27th, there was a national election in Kenya. On the 29th, there were reports that the opposition (Raila Odinga, a Luo man) had quite a lead, but as the remaining districts reported their counts, the current president (Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu man) ended up with a lead of 200,000+ votes and declared the winner on Dec. 30. He was immediately sworn in for another term. International election observers questioned the final counting, and the opposition leader and others protested strongly. Unfortunately, a lot of the grassroots protest took the form of violence, especially in the slum areas where people were hoping for a change. Other places where there has been a lot of fighting are Kisumu (on Lake Victoria, about 6 hours to the west) and Eldoret (about 8 hours to the northwest).

The government stopped an opposition rally a few days ago with tear gas and water cannons, but the opposition keeps trying to gather supporters together. For updates on the situation, you can check international news sources such as CNN, BBC, or Reuters.

I mentioned the tribal groups of the two men because these are the groups who are fighting each other. So far, we have not heard of other people groups taking sides. Kikuyu people are a larger group and are located throughout the country, although they originate in the Nairobi area. Luo are primarily in the west, but they also have a large population in Nairobi, unfortunately mostly in the slum areas.

The international community is calling for mediators to come in, but so far the government is not moving in this direction. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been talking to the two leaders. Those who are suffering the most are people who live in affected areas who are fearing for their lives and who cannot get out for food. We have four men who change around as day and night guards (just one at a time), and they have moved their families out of the areas where they live to places they feel are safe. They walked miles to work several days because there was no public transportation. We have told them they are welcome to sleep on our compound if they are afraid to be at their homes.

We were very saddened to hear late Thursday that the Lutheran Church in Kibera slum had been looted and burned. No lives were lost that we are aware of.

Here is a map of greater Nairobi to give you an idea of where we are located in relation to the three slum areas where there has been the most trouble, as well as Uhuru Park downtown. The cross above Uhuru Park marks where Uhuru Highway Lutheran Church is located. (Uhuru means freedom in Swahili.) The star above the word Langatta (SW area) is where we live, and the X below that is where the other missionaries live (Rev. Paul & Joy Mueller and Rev. Carlos & Lidia Winterle). Nairobi is a city of 3 million people, so this map covers a large area, and you can see that we are quite a distance from trouble areas. So far, we can get food and fuel in Karen town.

This is probably more information than you wanted to know, but we wanted to make sure you have a good understanding of our safety here. Our mission office in St. Louis has been in contact with us daily to make sure we are all doing well. We know many of you are already praying for us, and we ask for your continued prayers for peace in Kenya throughout this difficult time. May God bless you!

Together in His mission,
Claude and Rhoda Houge

PO Box 22
Karen, Kenya 00502
E-mail address:
Photo: All begin at the Health Center: It was firts looted and then burnt.

Our sister church LUTHERAN CHURCH MISURI SYNOD - LCMS, send an official release, prepared by Paula Schlueter Ross:

January 3, 2008 .................... LCMSNews -- No. 1

LCMS missionaries OK in Kenya, rioters burn Lutheran church - By Paula Schlueter Ross

Two Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod missionary couples stationed outside of Nairobi, Kenya, are safe and do not appear to be in harm's way despite five days of post-election rioting in the city that has led to more than 300 deaths, widespread destruction of property, and the displacement of more than 100,000 people.Springs of Life Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya, an LCMS partner, was reportedly looted and set afire today, Jan. 3. No injuries were reported at the church, which includes a medical clinic funded by LCMS World Relief and Human Care and a nursery school.In a Jan. 3 e-mail to LCMS World Mission staff, Rev. David Chuchu, project coordinator with the Kenyan Lutheran church body, said a "humanitarian crisis is unfolding as thousands of displaced Kenyans [are] running out of food and water. Houses have been burnt, churches and property burnt or destroyed. Thousands of people are sleeping in the cold at various police stations countrywide. Others are camping in churches." A police station in Kisumu is sheltering more than 2,000 people without so much as blankets, he said. "People need food, water, and blankets."The violent protest was sparked by Kenya's disputed Dec. 27 election that returned President Mwai Kibaki to office. Much of the violence is between those who support Kibaki -- from the majority Kikuyu tribe -- and supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is from the Luo tribe, according to news reports."The sad part is that politicians continue to harden their position as the nation is bleeding, people are weeping as the entire country is heading toward destruction -- something we are not used to," Chuchu said.Springs of Life Pastor Rev. Dennis Meeker said via e-mail that the medical clinic, Luther Health Facility, "suffered severe damage as rioters looted everything and then set it on fire," and that the nursery school also was looted and burned."Please continue to pray for us," Meeker said. "We thank God our faith is not in material possessions. Our faith will stand firm and we pray God's intervention for the sake of Kenya. ... We rejoice in the fact that faith does not burn and the church is never destroyed." Dr. Paul Mueller, regional director for Africa with LCMS World Mission, and his wife, Joy, a staff member with LCMS World Relief and Human Care, and missionaries Rev. Claude and Rhoda Houge live within blocks of each other in Karen, a suburb southwest of Nairobi.Both couples have been in daily contact via telephone and e-mail with LCMS World Mission Personnel Care Manager Travis Torblaa, who says the missionaries told him their community is quiet and they feel safe. Torblaa is based at the Synod's International Center in St. Louis."The violence appears to be in isolated pockets right now," Torblaa told Reporter, the Synod's national newspaper. "We are prepared to evacuate the missionaries, if needed, but at this point they are not in danger."Also reported safe in Kenya is Dr. Carlos Walter Winterle and his wife, Lidia. Winterle, former president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, has been serving for more than a year as English-speaking pastor of Uhuru Highway Lutheran Cathedral, an international congregation in downtown Nairobi. The ministry is a partnership of the LCMS and its partner church bodies in Kenya and Brazil.Torblaa said the situation in Kenya will continue to be monitored closely, as it "does remain unpredictable.""We're praying for a peaceful resolution to the current conflict in Kenya," he said.
(Reprinted, with permission, from LCMSNews.) ****************************************If you have questions or comments about this LCMSNews release, contact Joe Isenhower Jr. at
joe.isenhower@lcms.org or (314) 996-1231, or Paula Schlueter Ross at paula.ross@lcms.org or (314) 996-1230.****************************************

Kibera's Church and behind the Clinic: before and after...

Our sister church, Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche -SELK - Free Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Germany, published a note in her News:

"From: "selk_news" <selk_news@selk.de>To: "SELK-Nachrichten" <selk_news@kbx.de>Sent: 01 January, 2008 8:08 AMSubject: [selk_news]
Kenia: ELCK von Unruhen mit betroffen

Kenia: ELCK von Unruhen mit betroffen Nairobi, 31.12.2007 - selk - Von der Angst und Unsicherheit, die durch dieUnruhen nach dem umstrittenen Wahlsieg von Präsidenten Mwai Kibaki dasostafrikanische Kenia prägen, sind auch die Gemeinden der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche in Kenia (ELCK) betroffen. Dies berichtet derehemalige Präses der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche von Brasilien Carlos Winterle, der seit Oktober 2006 Pfarrer einer englischsprachigen ELCK-Gemeinde in der Hauptstadt Nairobi ist.In Kawangware, einer Vorstadt Nairobis, wo der ELCK-Pastor Omodhi arbeitet,seien, so Winterle, am 29.12. in Tumulten neun Menschen getötet worden. In Kibera, wo der US-amerikanische Pfarrer Dennis Meeker Dienst tut, seien inder Nähe der Kirche eine größere Anzahl Häuser in Brand gesteckt worden.Wegen der Unruhen feierte Winterles Gemeinde am 30.12. keinen Gottesdienst. Am 31.12. sei die Lage zwar vergleichsweise ruhig gewesen, da aber deröffentliche Nahverkehr völlig zum Erliegen gekommen sei, habe sich die Gemeinde auch am Neujahrstag nicht zum Gottesdienst versammeln können."Suchet der Stadt Bestes, ... und betet für sie zum HERRN," schreibt Winterle und bittet auch für die die ELCK um solches Gebet. Zur ELCK gehören etwa 70.000 Glieder in 440 Gemeinden, in denen 110 Pastoren und 185 Evangelisten Dienst tun.-- Ein Bericht von selk_newsRedaktion "Lutherische Kirchen in Deutschland und weltweit"Bernd Reitmayer, Gahlensche Str. 150, D-44809 Bochum, GermanyPhone: +49 (0)234-520490, Fax: +49 (0)234-520190e-mail: reitmayer@selk.deselk_news können über http://www.selk.de bezogen werden.© SELK 2007Um den Newsletter zu verlassen, schreiben Sie eine Mail an:mailto:leave-selk_news-5504651R@kbx.de "

Photo: People waiting at the entrance of the clinic... and... after...

Photo: The Medical Clinic inside: after...


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