Friday, January 13, 2017

Transforming Mission: Healing


A nurse from the SIMAHO outreach clinic
assisting a village elder in Bulla Pamoja

As you travel along the Tana River, South East of Garissa, the earth turns to pale sand and thorny scrub. Dome-shaped shelters of fabric and plastic sheets stretched over bowed sticks form the homes of the small bullas (villages). Somali herdsmen take their camels and goats through this area to reach the banks of the river, or to graze after the reluctant rains pass through, but most of the people living in these tiny communities are the invisible minority people of Kenya's Northeast. 

Often referred to as "shoulder tribes" people like the Waliwana and Munyoyaya are a forgotten people. Suffering marginalization and stigmatization, these landless communities squat along river banks and live in undeveloped areas like Bula Pamoja. Access to education and medical services are often great challenges.
"Bulla Pamoja is a village of 613 people, and the closest health facility is more than an hours walk away. For those who are not able to walk, such as the elderly and pregnant mothers, they turn to traditional herbal medicines. But these remedies have little effect. Lack of medical treatment has contributed to maternal deaths and high instances of preventable diseases. The need for immunizations, prenatal and postnatal care, and treatment for malaria were major needs when we first began to work here... Over the past five years, CBM has sponsored regular outreach clinics that come to villages like Bula Pamoja. People are examined and treated for ailments, referrals are made to the district hospital, new mothers are given support and care, and children receive vaccinations and deworming."
Geofrey Mwita

Village outreach health clinic

"This project has provided medical care to the Bulla Pamoja community," shared our colleague Geofrey. "Through their participation in the project, the general health of the community has improved. One of the major acheivements has been a drastic reduction of maternal deaths. From two women and five infants in two years to just two infants since 2015. People are talking about the change."
"I have lost all my pregnancies due to complications," shared Fatuma, a young mother living in the village. "My husband tried traditional midwifes and doctors to no avail. Thanks to God, I now have a child. I am so thankful to the regular post natal clinics I've received through the assistance of CBM. God bless you."
Our CBM colleagues William and Geofrey meeting with members of
this community earlier in 2016

In the future, the community hopes that the government will establish a permenant clinic in their village. They have seen the importance of trained doctors and nurses, and the impact of vacinations and medications for their children. Moreover, the clinics have provided the entire community with public health education that has helped them with disease prevention, nutrition, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and malaria prevention.

Please pray for this community and our team as we advocate for long term solutions to improve access to medical care and treatment. 

We want to thank the many churches and individuals who have contributed to the success of these ministries in Northeastern Kenya. Your generous support is making a difference in the lives of many. If you would like to learn more about the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in Kenya or around the world, please see our website at www.cbmin.org or follow this link to visit our information page of AIDS and Health Care.



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year Celebrations -- Bring Out the Kubbs!

New Year's Day -- 2017

This year we had the great pleasure of kicking off the New Year with some new and dear friends at a backyard Kubbs tournament in Nairobi (pronounced "Koobs"). Kubb's is a fun yard game where teams toss sticks in an attempt to knock over wooden blocks or "Kubbs" on an opponent's side. Once all of an opponents kubbs are knocked down, your team can try to topple the king who stands at the centre of the playing area.

Kubbs is a lot of fun and a great way to get to know your neighbours. We are very thankful for the chance to hang out with our friends Andrea, Alix, Makayla, Elana, and Andrea, Madeline and Eli. It was also a great time of getting to know our German neighbours.

Our team won our first battle, but that victory was a short-lived end to our success!

Try as we may, defeat was before us.

Watching our Kubbs fall


Our good friend "and nemesis" Andrea taking aim at our kubbs

Our gracious hostess, Marita

Christmas and New Year's marks the beginning of our summer here in Kenya and it is a great time to connect with friends. Backyard grilling, campfires, and games are some of the great joys of living in this community. 

Many of our neighbours are working in East Africa as part of humanitarian efforts to combat food insecurity and assist in areas of need. It is fascinating to learn about the wider work that churches and nongovernmental organisations are engaged within Kenya and our neighbouring countries.

Marita's husband, Markus, preparing the barbeque

German Sausages... of course!

Celebrating the victory!

As we reflect on this past year, we are so thankful for the friends and community that God has brought into our lives. 

Happy New year!

Our friends Madeline and Eli taking it all in!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Praying for a New Year -- CBM Africa Prayer Update


Looking ahead to the beginning of a New Year, we are praying for our Canadian Baptist Ministries team and partners, and for the countries where we serve. 2016 has been a year of great conflict and humanitarian disaster in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. Together we are praying for change and healing in the coming year.

BURUNDI

For the past year and a half, since President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial decision to run for a third term of office, hundreds of people have died and thousands have been imprisoned in protests. Since Burundi has recently broken off relations with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, all human rights observers have been pushed out of the country. 

Please join us in praying for the people of Burundi, for an end to the conflict, and for our Baptist brethren working and serving in this country. Our CBM colleagues and partner in neighbouring Rwanda have been developing relationship and bonds of support with the Danish Baptist Union and their Burundian partner church. Over the past year, they have offered hospitality and encouragement to refugees that have fled the conflict.

Jonathan and Aaron with CBM National Field Staff
Rev. Andre Sibomana, earlier this month in Kigali, Rwanda


DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Just days before Christmas, we heard news of another twenty-two civilians massacred near the community of Beni in Northern Kivu, where our partners of the Central African Baptists Churches (CBCA) are ministering. This attack is being linked to Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a radical group from Uganda that has been terrorising this region in Northern Kivu.

We join our Christian sisters and brothers in praying for an end to this violence and for the families of the over 700 people who have been killed in ADF attacks over the past two years.

We also pray for the entire country of the Democratic Republic of Congo as unrest has been spreading over president Joseph Kabila's desire to remain in power after this his second term in office. Tensions are mounting through the country. We pray for calm and transparent elections in 2017 and an end to violence in DRC.

Dr. Kakule Molo with CBCA leaders graduating from the 
CBM Certificate of Integral Mission Program 
earlier this December in Kigali, Rwanda


SOUTH SUDAN

The complex civil conflict in South Sudan has continued to fracture the young country throughout 2016. Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese are now living as refugees in Kenya, Uganda Ethiopia and Sudan, but the plight of millions more internally displaced people still living within the country is far worse.

The failure of the UN Security Council to pass an arms embargo on this past Friday, December 23, is another blow to the people of South Sudan as the opposing political powers battle for control of the country. 

As Human Rights Watch deputy director Akshaya Kumar put it, "The Security Council had an opportunity to show that it stands with the civilian vicitims of this conflict. Instead, this failure gives the warring parties in South Sudan a green light to buy more weapons and material that will end up being used against civilians" (Amnesty report, December 24, 2016).

Please join us in praying the people of South Sudan and for our local partner, the Faith Evangelical Baptist Churches, that is on the front lines ministering to the displaced families in their communities.

Our friend Pastor Jeremiah Deng, one of the leaders of the FEBAC churches 
and humanitarians responses in Juba, South Sudan

This is one of the most moving news stories that we've seen this year reporting on the conflict in South Sudan. If you are interested in learning more about the complexity of the conflicts along the Nile River where our Church partner ministers, Click Here


OUR CBM AFRICA TEAM


Finally, we are so thankful for the amazing team of colleagues and friends that we have the privilege of serving with here in Africa. As we pray for a New Year of peace and healing in areas of brokenness and division, we also pray for leaders in the Church who walk with their local communities.

CBM Kenya Team Members
Ruth, Andai, Laura, William, Pauline, Geofrey, Erica and Aaron

Laura Lee and Darrell Bustin serving in Rwanda

Jonathan and Janice Mills serving in Rwanda

Ken and Wendy Derksen serving in Rwanda

Thank you for joining us in prayer!






Christmas with the Kennys

Celebrating  Christmas  Eve  2016

After a busy week on the road, it was wonderful to come home on Friday just in time for Christmas.

We sent out our annual Christmas update letter on Christmas Eve, but due to a small formatting hiccup on our first attempt, we quickly sent out a revised version (see below). With our update sent, we closed our office for the holiday.

Tristan was one of the worship leaders at our church this year for the Christmas Eve carol service.  We are thankful for the rich community of faith and fellowship that we have here in Nairobi. Over the past month, our children have participated in concerts and recitals with their friends. Music is such a wonderful part of this season.

Our Turkey and fixings prepared and Erica's Christmas cookies ready, we settled in for a peaceful Christmas at home. We are a gaming family and under our tree this Christmas were a selection of puzzles and board games that we are playing throughout the holiday. Sherriff of Nottingham and Sushi Go are the big hits this year!

We hope that you have had wonderful Christmas. 
Love,
The Kennys


To read our 2016 Christmas Update Letter