Kenya (MNN) — In these uncertain economic times, many go
without some items such as lattes or evenings out. Africa Inland Mission
reports that in Kenya, most people simply go without. Period.
"People are starving, and the animals are starving,"
says Thomas Musyoki, a businessman and national treasurer of Kenya's Good News Church. "We had the
post-election conflict last year, we had the droughts, we have the world
economic trend…and the political leadership is very corrupt."
He adds that this perfect storm of conditions caused
food prices to soar, exacerbating the hardships most Kenyans face. Over the
past year, Kenyans have struggled like never before–a black and white contrast
to a previously expanding economy and seemingly redeemed culture.
"From 1998 to 2008, aid to Africa was increasing, and
economic growth was accelerating (to over 6 percent in 2007)," said Shanta
Devarajan, Chief Economist of the Africa Region for the World Bank. "Poverty
was declining…and the spread of HIV/AIDS was improving. African countries had
strengthened their macro-economic policies…so that aid was more productive.
"All of these developments have come to a grinding
halt because of the global economic crisis — a crisis that was not remotely the
fault of Africans."
People are unable to pay hospital or schooling
bills; Scott Theological College sent 90% of its students home due to finances.
Long-term missionaries are feeling the pinch and cutting unnecessary expenses. Short-term missionaries aren't showing up because they were unable to raise the
"Many of the donors are finding it difficult to
support the work of the Lord, however much they love it," Musyoki said. "We have
literally tightened our belts. Maintaining the churches in mission areas is
becoming very difficult because [pastors'] salaries have been cut in half."
Despite the stress of growing hardships and
struggles, one Kenyan believer firmly declares her faith.
"We need to trust in God and God only–" hospital
chaplain Mercy Ng'ang'a says. "not in our government, not in the white people,
not our pensions or health insurances, but God and God alone."
Ng'ang'a lost her husband to leukemia a decade ago,
and she raised all five of her children alone. She admits this year has been the toughest
she can recall; her daughter and son-in-law were displaced in recent political
violence. Yet her faith shines through the darkness Kenya currently faces.
"[God] knows our needs and will help us in times of
trouble," she says. "And through all these struggles, I have come closer to my
Suffering occurs worldwide as a result of the
economic downturn. Pray that believers in Africa and beyond would learn to
trust God as their Provider and Sustainer.
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