Between 30-50 Kenyans were burned to death, and many others severely burned,
in a church, similar to this one pictured here, in Eldoret, Kenya. (In this photo, people are lined up for free medical care in March, 2007.)
I was grieved to hear, on this first day of the new year, that the violence in Kenya has been especially brutal in Eldoret. Today it is reported that between 30-50 people were burned to death in a church in Eldoret, where more than 250 villagers were taking refuge from the violence.
I was just in Eldoret for over a week, in March of 2007. A beautiful country. I spent my time there photographing the work that Open Arms International is doing, to create an orphanage for AIDS orphans. OA was also conducting free medical clinics in the slums, together with local churches, serving several thousand people that week.
The outbreak of violence began with outcry over election scandals, but seems to have turned into a genocidal war between tribes, akin to what has occurred in Rwanda, Iraq, the Balkans, etc. I have been reading reports that church buildings and cathedrals are packed with people seeking refuge from the violence. In my short stay there, I met many pastors and Christians from Eldoret, who worked tirelessly for the care of the poor in that city. I can only imagine the stress and danger these precious people are facing. Furthermore, friends and acquaintances from here in the States are there in Eldoret, working to build this orphanage, from the ground up.
Please be in prayer for them, and for their people: that they will be strong and courageous, that they will be peacemakers, that they will be protected.
Kenneth, a gentle, softspoken young pastor in Eldoret.
This is Pastor Esther, with one of the orphans she cares for in the slums.
Here is an update from Esther in Eldoret, Kenya, on February 7, 2008:
Praise God. The situation is bad .my car was burnt and also they wanted to burn the house .the church is a refugee camp now.people have lost direction faith no prayers no trust no spiritual likfe victimazed no money for communication ,ten people were killled at my gate when they were coming to kill us.That day ihbad over fifty people with children also two mps opposition were killed so there is alot of tension please pray for us.God has given me alot of strength and its well.
God bless you in amighty way.
say hi to everybody .many children in Kasarani are not going to school because of tension and some schools closed.
What we have seen is terrible but thanks to lord for gift of life.
many people have lost there life there is much of harted ,enemity and separation of tribes no unity.
A child plays in the plastic trash-strewn field of the Eldoret slums.