Friday, September 3, 2010

Yesterday was a very long and emotional day.

It started in the morning with George and me almost driving head long into a siege of angry poverty stricken homeowners with rocks battling riot police with guns. The homeowners and a few bystanders lost. Seven people were shot, 2 killed and more in serious condition. Rose Benta is the wife of Joseph and the mother of Vivian. Both Joseph and Rose left the church last year and have been going downhill ever since.

Rose was shot in the chest standing just a few feet away from Helen, one of our dearest friends here and one of the most trusted clan leaders. Rose is still in critical condition. We will try to see her today. Another woman Doris who also left the church had a son who was shot but not fatally. Later that day, our cook Morelle, would hear of a shoemaker she knew who yesterday locked up his shop just to go for a few minutes and see what was going on. He never made it back. He was the second fatality.

The most heart wrenching fatality was Sicilia’s son. Sicilia is a dear lady in the Church who is our leading evangelist. She has brought many into the church. Her son was a 26 year old good looking young man with a wife and two children. We don't know all the facts yet but witnesses say he was just standing there when He was shot. Some are saying it was a grudge shooting. George had often tried to get him to come and visit the church, but after yesterday, he will never get the chance.

After hearing of Sicilia's son being killed, we decided to go over to her house and check on her. There actually were a few of our people living in that area and we needed to make sure they were all ok. The part of Nakuru they lived in is called Flamingo and it is on the road that leads straight into Lake Nakuru National Park. Not more than two miles from our house, we drove by an overturned, burned city truck that a mob had destroyed earlier that day. We thought the disturbance was all over.

The truck burning had happened when we first saw the disturbance at 10:30 in the morning. It was now 2:00 pm. This time as we drove by the truck, we watched scores of people stripping anything useful left from the fire, like vultures would strip a corpse. In less than two hours the truck had been reduced to a large charred piece of metal.

As we proceeded down the road we became occupied with all the damage that had been done and didn't really notice that the intersection we were approaching was filled with people. As we made our turn the crowd surrounded the car. We tried to back up but there were too many people in the way, so we looked forward and a way through the crowd. Suddenly a man raised his hand and motioned us to pull carefully ahead. That's when we noticed the line of riot police across the road in front of us. They were in full gear carrying automatic weapons and were most likely the same men that shot into the crowd killing Sicilia's son. It was a tense moment to say the least. We had mistakenly driven into the last of the uprising being put down. I couldn’t take any pictures for fear of being yanked out of the car by already very angry people or arrested by the police. We were soon waved through the police line by a very serious and tired looking officer. We drove on to Sicilia's house not two blocks away and feeling as relieved as the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.

When we arrived at Sicilia's house she and her family and friends were weeping over their loss. After about an hour she asked us to take her to the morgue to view her son's body. We drove to the hospital and entered a cement room where the young man lay on a slab filled with blood. Sicilia collapsed as the family members and friends we filed in. As long as I live I will never forget the look on those horrified faces. They were filled with  shock and grief as friends and family filed silently by to see and touch the lifeless body. He almost looked asleep. Someone lifted the sheet across his chest to reveal a single bullet hole near his heart. As you can imagine the bullet went in leaving a small hole and exploded his back.

After about 15 minutes we took everyone back to the Van and started home. As we neared her house, we could see the streets were filled with rocks and tree stumps; remnants of the earlier battle that spread throughout the entire Flamingo area. As we pulled up to Sicilia’s house George and I again offered our condolences and started home.

It wasn't until then that we realized that last week we rented a hotel conference room to have this weeks teaching in. I had about 1 and 1/2 hours to try and pull myself together and teach. Racing home we rested for a short while, grabbed a snack and jumped back in the van and headed out toward the Royal Springs hotel.

When we arrived the room was packed with nervous and emotionally exhausted people. Most of the people had witnessed the violence first hand. Two pastors had dropped by to find out what we had to say. I spoke on staying ready to meet God and letting him sanctify us completely. My thoughts were filled with the day’s pictures of people who left their houses thinking they would have more time to settle issues with God... and were regrettably wrong.

Our Father gave much grace that night to teach, and the people received it with much joy. The two pastor's visiting that night stayed afterwards and the youngerone remarked that he had never heard teaching like that and would be back next week. Before he left, he asked me to come and minister at his church. He said that I could be sure he would be teaching what he had heard tonight to his people on Sunday morning. It was very encouraging. The light is spreading.

Please remember Sicilia and her family and the Bentas. All in all it was a very amazing day... none of us will soon forget.

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