Kenya violence hampers work — also in Sudan

By February 1, 2008

Kenya (MNN) — The death of opposition leaders in Kenya has postponed negotiations to end post-election violence and has triggered renewed ethnic clashes in the country. The violence which has now claimed the lives of more than 850 people is a concern to evangelical Christians leaders who have ministry centers in Kenya.

SIM International is just one of many organizations using Kenya as a base of operations. SIM's USA Director Steve Strauss says their missionaries are affected in a number of ways. "They're having to be extra careful of where they go and when they go there. It has affected our work in Southern Sudan which is supported and based in Kenya. And like many other missions, we have [missionary kids] from many countries in East Africa who go to school at Rift Valley Academy, and Rift Valley opened a bit later because of the violence."

According to Strauss, if nothing is done to stem the violence, "this could spiral into a blood bath. In human terms, there will be one reconciliation and forgiveness: it's only what Christ can do to prevent it from getting worse and to bring forgiveness and help things get back to a more peaceful state."

For years, Kenya has been the example of peaceful democracy in Africa. But that's changed. Strauss says the good news is the majority of the population of Kenya claim to be Christians. "We need to pray that those who really know Christ as Savior would display a strong Christian value at this point. I think the people of God could prevent this from becoming something like what happened in Rwanda."

Strauss says while he's concerned about the situation in Kenya, he's equally as concerned about their work in Sudan. He says there's an open door there now. "We're helping the church leaders themselves to upgrade their own training and discipleship. We're providing resources to assist in evangelism and discipleship in Southern Sudan. We're also helping with the training of school teachers."

That's desperately needed since there was almost no educational system in Southern Sudan at the time of the signing of the peace accord.

One evangelist is thanking God for SIM's training. Their training is helping them be more effective in communicating the Gospel. People are responding, and churches are growing.

Pray for safety for SIM staff in Kenya and in Sudan.

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