Kenya votes in new constitution

By August 6, 2010

Kenya (MNN) — Opponents of Kenya's new constitution gracefully
conceded defeat and are now working toward making the best of the

Voters approved the draft by over two-thirds of eligible
voters. Church leaders are still raising
questions about anomalies found in the run up to and during the polling
process. However, Higher Education Minister William Ruto said
despite concerns that the "no" camp would revolt, "It is necessary to create
a win-win for the country." 

Among the most vocal opponents of the draft constitution is the
Christian community. Craig Dyer with Bright
Hope International
says, "The Christian leaders have a really good
perspective in Kenya, saying 'there's not everything that we would like in
this, but we're willing to go with it and work from here.' It's something that we're not going to fight
against, but it's something that we'll accept, and we'll get back to building a
better Kenya."

How the new constitution will affect ministry opportunities
is yet to be seen. It plays a key role in
the power-sharing deal created to end the Rift Valley violence which erupted after
the 2007 election.

If implemented as written, it takes power from the presidency
and creates a more decentralized political system. Other concerns were a provision for abortion-on-demand as well as the inclusion of Islamic Cadi courts, which address family
issues for Muslims. 

Now that the country decided to adopt this framework, church
leaders are hoping the government will address the most divisive issues that
caused them to oppose the draft charter. Dyer says, "I'm prayerful that this is a
positive thing: that the church can still be the church, speak out about
abortion, hold firm, and have positive impact upon people's lives."

So far, things have remained peaceful. Dyer says that allows them to continue to
work in spite of concerns that special religious concessions in the
constitution can be read in a way that could restrict religious freedoms.

Challenges to their team aren't unusual. Bright Hope envisions a world where
under-resourced, indigenous churches transform their communities and bring the
hope of the Gospel to the extreme poor.

Dyer explains, "We're constantly battling to feed kids in
the slum areas, to provide jobs and job training, and find them viable
employment where they can lift themselves out of poverty."

Bright Hope has three projects in Kenya. They are the Mathare Valley Slum, the
Nguluni Resource Center, and a sponsorship program for the refugee children in

The Mathare Valley Slum holds more than half a million
people. The Project is a joint effort of Outreach Community Church and Mathare
Community Outreach. 

The Nguluni Resource Center and the Church have made huge
strides in providing for basic physical and spiritual needs in the
community. Clean water, a small clinic, and the ability to hire and keep
good teachers have increased the health and hope of families here.

The Sponsorship Program for Refugee Children in Nairobi
provides school fees, uniforms, textbooks, and other supplies to encourage
children to attend and to thrive in school.

Through it all, Bright Hope comes alongside partners and
makes sure they're resourced for ministry. The team sees their work as a constantly changing ministry. "People
need to learn more, they need to grow in their faith, and they need to study the
Word of God. We're constantly seeing our leaders challenged to understand the
Word of God and to be preaching the whole Gospel."

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