Al-Shabaab massacre leaves Kenyans wounded but unbowed

By April 14, 2015
(Photo Courtesy of Compassion International)

(Photo Courtesy of Compassion International)

Kenya (Compassion Int’l) — [EDITORS NOTE: This is a blog update from Compassion International.]

Did you feel heavy hearted going into Good Friday this year? I did. Each year heaviness seems to wrap around me when I contemplate the crucifixion. This year the heaviness felt more substantial.

The day before Good Friday, a brutal terrorist attack occurred at Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya, (a little more than 200 miles from the capital city of Nairobi).

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab from Somalia, which has been linked to al-Qaeda, carried out the attack by separating the Muslim and Christian students. The gunmen murdered 148 people, mostly Christians who died because of their faith in Christ.

While Garissa is almost 100 miles away from our closest child development center and we have no Leadership Development students in that area, Compassion Kenya still feels the pain with its countrymen.

Dawit Hailu, Compassion Africa Regional Senior Director, resides in Kenya and had this to say:

“It was indeed a very saddening moment for all Kenyans–for me and my family, as well as the entire world. Innocent young university students slaughtered in cold blood. Many Christian union members were murdered that early morning while they were praying as a group. Actually, that took me back to my university days; as an active Christian union member, I could have been one of those students killed.”

Dawit was sobered. I must admit, I think I would have felt not only sobered, but perhaps hesitant to step into a church that Sunday after such a terrifying event in the country. Could the violence toward Christians at a university also happen at a church?

Yet again, the resilience and beauty of the African people serves as an example of courage and bravery in the face of sheer evil.

Dawit and his family, along with thousands of others, flocked to the packed churches on Easter weekend. One Kenyan church pastor proclaimed on Easter Sunday,

“The power of love is greater than the power of hate. That is what is revealed on Easter on the Cross. That is what we need to portray to those who killed our children.”

Kenyans displayed that powerful love in tangible ways this past week: standing in long lines to give blood for the wounded, comforting the grieving, providing supplies for the affected families, and contributing money. One of the most loving and brave things Kenyans are doing is not surrendering to fear, but choosing life instead.

Dawit says,

“The killers would like to create a state of fear and uncertainty. We Kenyans need to be courageous, defeating the enemy in part by living our lives as normal.”

For residents of Kenya like Dawit, living “as normal” means many things … including diligent prayers for the government and living truthful lives. Sharing the love of Christ through Compassion child development centers and providing a brighter hope and future for young people.

During Holy Week, a horrible terrorist attack happened. During Holy Week, we also commemorated the brutal death of our Christ. But then, Easter Sunday arrived, and with it came renewed hope in the power of the resurrection and confidence that death is not the final verdict. As it does each year, the celebration of Easter reminds us that we will overcome and evil does not get the final word.

Kenya Country Director, Joel Macharia, boldly states about his home country:

“We are wounded but unbowed. We will soldier on and defeat the force of evil that would have us cowed … Our resolve to work at a better future has never been higher.”



One Comment

  • I am sadden that the evil of this event , and the untold grief , loss and heartache has not received the kind of love and outpouring from Christians in American . I live in a major state in American and the day and week of this great lost and suffering of all Christians when these brothers and sisters of the human race and of faith in JESUS CHRIST – unaware of such a horrible event would manifest , their were no
    large citywide gatherings to pray and mourn with our Kenya families.
    I asked why , why , even as I attend a large church well known on that
    sunday and not even the pastor ask the congregation to pause and pray for our brothers and sisters their and to take up a offering for the surviving students and to offer them a opportunity to visit America . all expenses paid . this is why I have recently out from my many tears- cried out to GOD and heard him instruct me to start WE CARE AMERICAN – which is designed to organize a day of prayer and a
    fundraising service to support the survivors. we would also like to connect a upcoming concert with survivors so that during the event we could here directly from surviving students and to offer our help and to ask our universities to offer scholarships to these survivors , please contact me at above email- if you who read this note in Kenya – can
    provide our organization with the information to connect with survivors for what we know American’s can do and will do to grief and to love and restore as much as possible the families .
    Prophet Paul David Warren- WE ARE ONE CHURCH

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