Kenya (MNN) — The Christian leaders of Kenya were vocal
opponents of the new draft constitution. It was aimed at reducing political
tensions that erupted into deadly election violence in 2008. Opposition stems from some key issues.
Rodeheaver with IN Network explains: "One is the issue of abortion. Beyond that, built into the
constitution are a lot more perks that other religious denominations will have
The socialistic tendencies provided for in the new draft
constitution are troubling, too. Rodeheaver says, "I think they're worried about whether or not this
constitution will actually impact corruption, or whether it may put more limits
on freedom of religion for the evangelicals."
There are also high tensions as the results are
announced. Political strife in 2007 following
the last national vote erupted in violence that left more than 1,300 people
Political analysts believe that the political leadership wants a strong win so
they can claim a mandate for reform.
However, anything less than a landslide leaves the mandate question open
to interpretation and could stall implementation of the constitution.
Rodeheaver says I.N. Network is concerned about the impact on their
work in Kenya. Their team is uneasy because
the political and ethnic issues that led to the riots in the Kibera slums still
exist. The lull in the violence was time bought with
the hope of a new constitution.
That means the threat of trouble hangs over an area where a ministry team teaches
in an informal school. The fighting in
2007 came just as I.N. Network was ready to launch a new program. Unrest delayed the start of a child sponsorship
program, as well as a discipleship and mentorship program.
Now, in 2010, those programs are running well. The I.N. Network Kenya child sponsorship
program offers hope to the vulnerable children of the Kibera Slum through
a Christian education, school uniform, nutritious food, basic medical care and
immunizations, and Christian nurture.
In addition to the child sponsorship program, a special Saturday
program is offered for any children interested in coming. The program includes
singing, Bible teaching, games, mentoring, and a nutritious meal.
Many children show up as early as six o'clock in the morning on Saturday
because they are so eager to be in a place where they are safe, loved,
cherished, and fed. Mentors volunteer their time to run this program and invest
in the lives of these children.
Does it make a difference? Rodeheaver says combined, the programs offer
hope that these kids would never have otherwise. What's more,
the informal school turned out to be an evangelism tool for the local
church. "Part of the curriculum is
biblically-oriented. The children are getting Bible stories. They're hearing
the Gospel, and it is the church sharing the Gospel to their own people. Our
role is simply to empower them, provide the training and some of the
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