NEWS FOR END OF MAY 2008
God gives and God takes away
Instead of soil, much of this island is covered in stones. Half-hour's paddle from the mainland, avoiding confrontations with hippos and crocodiles, it could have been called a deserted island and made into a nature reserve. Instead, people decided to live on it and scrape a living out of it. That is where Esther (who stayed in my house for many years) went to be married. It was where she gave birth to her second son just over two years ago. And it was where the same little boy called Jim was buried on 20th May 2008, after a short illness involving pneumonia and measles.
The Wrong Skin Colour
"The problem is your skin colour" said the pastor when I suggested that we open a Bible class with his church. Once people discovered that the person interested in them was a White man, there would be great expectations of receiving money. The pastor's seniors in his denomination would probably prefer for this white man to work through them, as you never know what spin-off benefits are to be had. People will come to the class expecting handouts, and the class quite likely will totter and fall unless handouts are forthcoming. The pastor agreed to go ahead to plan the class, with reservations. In the back of his mind was the major split in his denomination caused by White's who had made promises of funding that they later did not fulfill. I guess he knew that by working with me he was inviting arguments and dissension into his church. Just because of my colour, and its association with foreign donors.
Give thanks that progress is being made towards resolution of the uprising on Mount Elgon. The rebel leader has been killed. Two days ago a KIST graduate who was working as a pastor and has been in remand for over 2 months, was released.
I am reading a book about Mau Mau - the Kenyan uprising in the 1950s that removed British colonial rule. It is striking - that Kenyans are now accusing each other of the crimes Whites were then considered to be perpetrating! The perpetrators of 'crimes' during the recent unrest are now compared to Mau Mau freedom fighters. Half the government therefore says they should be released as freedom fighters. The other half say they should be charged as criminals. Kenya is not stable.
Meanwhile, the church in Kenya is handicapped by its gross external dependency. Instead of being indigenous and representing the people, the power of the church to respond to such crises is limited by its being seen as an 'arm of the West'.
Give thanks that Dorcas, who stayed with me from 1997 to 2007, is to be married on 14th June.