Kenya clashes down, but tensions high

By February 7, 2008

Kenya (MNN) — More than 1,000 people have been killed in Kenya in what many are now calling ethnic violence. It was all sparked by a flawed presidential election just after Christmas and has forced ministry in many areas to be put on hold.

However, Compassion International's Kenya Country Director Sidney Muisyo says yesterday was a good day. ''In the last two or three days, things are getting better. Yesterday, the media didn't report any fresh reports of violence. Generally things are getting calm. But there is still no breakthrough with the negotiations between the government and the opposition."

Muisyo says Compassion's work has definitely been affected by the crisis. ''In terms of the regular programming, it is on hold on a number of projects — currently 24 projects that we haven't been able to resume with our normal operations. The rest of the projects in the country are operating well. We have 200 or so projects that have not been affected."

Compassion is also helping internally displaced people in Kenya. Muisyo says some of their staff have been affected by the violence. "I know one staff member who is taking care of 40 family members that were displaced. I know of at least four other staff members who have been forced to relocate from the houses in the city because they were threatened with violence."

While yesterday was a day of calm, it doesn't mean the country has turned the corner. Muisyo says everyone's waiting. ''The mediation talks taking place are very, very crucial. Depending on how they go, that will determine to the large extent whether we get a permanent sense of calm or not."

Muisyo says even though there's still a lot of tension, the church has a great opportunity for ministry. ''Of course the message of the Gospel is very, very relevant, but I'm also talking in terms of reconciliation because neighbor went after neighbor. And so the church becomes very, very pivotal in bringing about local reconciliation, which of course will be part of the national reconciliation."

Also, many of the displaced turned to the church for support. And they are responding.

Compassion is a child development organization. They partner with churches to meet the need of the poor. Through that partnership, these children hear the Gospel, and many of them turn to Christ and become leaders in their communities.

This is possible because Christians like you are sponsoring these children. Even more sponsors are needed because poverty and godlessness results in HIV/AIDS orphans and street children.

In the meantime, Muisyo says prayer is needed. ''A number of the children have been fairly traumatized because of seeing the violence first hand. Pray for my staff. There are certain areas that are still not too settled, and therefore the issue of security for our staff is still a concern."

If you'd like to help a child out of poverty and into a position to hear the Gospel, click here.

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