The people of Kenya need our help
By Ray Taylor
For the Salisbury Post
Each October for the past 12 years, those of us at Outreach Christian Ministries in Salisbury have traveled to South Africa to conduct preaching meetings.
Due to the political crisis in the western part of Kenya, I got an urgent request from a pastor in Eldoret that thousands of people are homeless and at least 850 people, mostly women and children, have been burned or hacked to death by marauding gangs of youth opposed to the recent presidential election results.
The new president, Mwai Kibaki, is of the Kikuyu tribe and the candidate running against him is of the Luo tribe. The violence began because people suspected the election was rigged in favor of Kibaki.
The Kikuyu tribe began to fight against the Luo tribesmen. About 850,000 people have fled their homes with what they could carry on their backs. Whole villages have been burned, as well as churches.
A church in Eldoret was set on fire with 200 people taking refuge inside; 37 were burned alive. Hundreds more were injured because they were suspected of being Kikuyu.
After that I received the urgent letter from the Rev. Joseph Omondi, a pastor in Eldoret, asking for help to feed the thousands of hungry refugees created by tribal warfare.
I began to see the need to do something to help ó at least provide food for some of the people in the hardest hit areas of Eldoret and the neighboring town of Kisumu, where it is reported that hundreds of small children are dying from hunger.
I asked pastor Omondi to find a place where we could distribute food to the people who need assistance since he lives in the heart of the violence and has seen it firsthand.
He wrote to me saying many people are seeking refuge in his home to escape the violence. Help is needed now. Our ministry is unable to fund the entire cost of feeding those precious people who need our help so desperately.
I am again asking the generous Salisbury Christian community to assist us in another worthy cause. I need donations and prayers for these precious people who have suffered so much.
We sent pastor Omondi some money to get him started. He said he managed to buy several bags of maize and other basics and distributed it to the victims who were camping at a church compound in a place called Munyaka in Eldoret.
He said they saved a lot of lives, but the need is still there.
Our ministry to Africa began in 1995 with my wife, Alease, who is also a minister, being invited to South Africa to preach the Gospel. After two years, the Lord spoke to me to go with her. So in October 1997, I accompanied her to South Africa. During our month-long stay, more than 500 people accepted Jesus as Lord and savior.
During one of our trips, we met a pastor from Kenya, Edwin Agadi. He invited my wife and I to come to his country to conduct a series of meetings there. We gladly accepted, and in April 2003, we began our first trip to Nairobi, Kenya.
Arriving in Nairobi in the middle of the night after flying for about 22 hours, we were taken to a little town about 30 minutes from Nairobi, named Kayole. We we were to begin our meetings there.
While traveling that bumpy dirt road to Kayole, we saw the great poverty of the majority of Kenyans.
Kenya is the size of Texas with an estimated 36 million people. The majority of citizens only earn about $1,200 a year. Our dollar is the equivalent of about $65 of their money.
Millions of them live in slums with no electricity or running water, with rows of raw sewage ditches running in front of their shacks because there are no inside toilets.
I wept when I saw the unimaginable poverty those people had to live with. As beautiful as the nation of Kenya is, I was shocked to see thousands of shacks on both sides of the dark road that we traveled ó shacks made of sticks, plastic bags, old boxes, discarded cardboard and old, rusted metal. Most of them were the size of one small room.
We in America are so blessed. Our poor are rich compared to the average Kenyan.
I remember a story of a poor Kenyan woman who was asked what would she do with the money if she were rich.
She said, “I would build a house for my family.”
She was told her chances of building a house were impossible. She said, “but I can pray.”
That kind of faith is what I saw in the majority of Kenyans we were privileged to meet. They believe that God can turn it around and bless them in spite of their poverty.
It made me wonder, are they the rich ones while we Americans, with so many material things, are so poor in the things that really count, which is faith in God?
During our trip to Kenya in April 2005, we learned that many pastors in Kayole were walking many miles to their churches to serve the parishioners because they had no other forms of transportation. I asked them what we could do to help them. They all said, “Please, help us to buy bikes that we may use them to travel the many miles we have to travel.”
That prompted us to raise funds for new bicycles for the pastors. Upon our return to the U.S., we asked churches, business and others for donations to supply bicycles to Kenya.
After an article in the Salisbury Post, we received enough donations to buy 25 new bicycles, which we presented to the pastors the following year during a crusade. We hid them outside the meeting hall and called the pastor’s names, asking them to follow us because we had a surprise for them from America. When they saw the new bicycles waiting for them, they began to leap for joy.
It was like Christmas. Their faces lit up as each pastor received a bicycle. They were so grateful.
I want to thank the readers who responded to the articles asking for donations. It was a great blessing to them. The Bible said, “He that giveth to the poor, lendeth unto the Lord.”
Our heart is again burdened for the people of Kenya.
We ask you to send all donations to “Outreach Help to Africa” fund, in care of Outreach Christian Tabernacle, P.O. Box 2683, Salisbury, NC 28144.
You may give any amount you can and all of the funds donated will go to the feeding program. And all donations are tax-deductible.
For more information about the situation in Kenya, call at 704-637-9955, 704-637-1084, 704-267-6121 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Ray Taylor is a pastor of Outreach Christian Tabernacle on West Horah Street in Salisbury.
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