Violence in Kenya’s schools curbed with God’s Word

By August 25, 2008

Kenya (MNN) — It's been over a month since students rioted in the schools in Kenya, but authorities haven't forgotten about them. Police in Kenya have charged dozens of students with arson after hostels were burned and secondary vandalized. The violence was in protest of poor conditions and bad management in the schools.

Cal Ratz with Book of Hope International says most of the schools targeted were boarding schools. "Some of the dormitories that burned had students in them, and some were killed. This became very disturbing to the government, the political leaders and the older generation. They couldn't understand why."

Ratz says it's more than just school conditions. "The young people are seeing hypocrisy, they're seeing abuse, and inconsistencies in the older generation, and it's creating a great turmoil among the younger generation."

That turmoil is also being seen in the church, says Ratz. "The practices of many of the churches have not kept pace with the changes in the thinking of the young people. It's not a case of changing the Gospel, but [changing] the way it's presented to the new generation. It has to be relevant to them."

Book of Hope has distributed their harmony of the Gospel in Kenya for years. But Ratz says they're evaluating their work through a survey called, "Spiritual State of the World's Children." "We interviewed 4,000 students in Kenya, and we're just in the process of tabulating the results of that. We feel that this turmoil is just accentuating the need for our ministry. There's no question: Jesus Christ is the only answer."

Part of the research is to figure out the effectiveness of the Book of Hope and the Godman film. "We are doing a lot of field research to document what we call our 'spiritual engagement with students.' Are they reading our materials? Are they remembering it? We are constantly tweaking our materials so that we are relevant to where the students are."

The research will be presented to government, education and dozens of ministry leaders next month. This research not only will help them understand how much Biblical knowledge youth have in Kenya, but it will also determine how much of the knowledge they've applied to their everyday life.

Ratz says, "We are partnering with 20 or 25 different organizations. We will share the results of our research with all of those organizations. And, coming out of that, we go through a process of strategic planning."

Ask God to give wisdom to those involved so they can strategically plan for even more effective ministry in the months and years ahead.

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