Although the Grace family was flown out of Kisumu earlier this week, Ben and Jody Richmond remain in nearby Tiriki. Here’s their latest report:
Thursday 31 January 2008
Many Friends are inquiring how we are doing at Friends Theological College in Kaimosi. Well, today, even as the country reacted to the killing of the second opposition Member of Parliament, our area remained calm. While some friends reported chaotic conditions in the nearest large shopping-towns of Kisumu and Kakamega, and on the road to Kapsabet, there was also good news. Two more of our students arrived on campus today, so we are almost all here. Two of our staff colleagues actually accomplished some college business in Kakamega, and arrived back on campus safe. Friends will also be glad to hear that when we spoke with John Moru tonight, he reported that he and family are fine.
We start each day with worship at 7:40 a.m. prior to the first classes, and our prayers for peace in Kenya are fervent. So are the joyful songs of praise that start each morning. God has been faithful, and Jody notes that we feel God pushing back the darkness during these times of worship singing.
Wednesday we had a “convocation” for the college at which we reported on the recent conference of Friends church leaders about peace, and this opened a lively discussion. Jody led a portion of the report on the theme of trauma healing and that led to a good time of praying for one another. You know how we have been giving opportunities for students to share their stories. Today, one of the older students told of his return from Nairobi, where he had gone to take his grandson. His story was too complicated to report all the details, but he was traveling by bus in a convoy. They were stopped at many, many places along the road by youth blockades, with bows, arrows, and pangas. At one, they evacuated everyone from the bus (helping people get all their luggage off) and then burned the bus. They had police escorts part of the way, but the youth blockaders particularly threatened the police, and it was terrifying. Somewhere along the way, the scenario at the roadblocks changed: the youth went from checking for Luos to checking for Kikuyus. In the cycle of violence, everyone is threatened, but as our student said, thanks to God, they made it through. Even while giving testimony to God’s saving protection along the way, he admitted that he is suffering from some of the symptoms of trauma after this journey. Please pray with us for deep healing for all our students and staff who have had to face frightful experiences.
Ben was able to meet Wednesday morning with the chair of the Board of Governors of the College and the chair of the Board’s development committee, who agreed on final instructions for our architect to prepare detailed drawings for the proposed new administration block. So, amazingly, “normal” life continues to be lived. There was a very delightful, but too short, rain Wednesday evening, and then we had a lovely glowing orange sunset. Following that, a red-tailed monkey ran across our yard…
We are so grateful for the prayers and support of Friends everywhere. Please keep praying that God will hold open the doorways to peace in the coming critical days.
Ben and Jody
Ben Richmond, Principal
Friends Theological College
Tiriki 50309 Kenya