Friday, December 21, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 2012

As we begin our Christmas holiday, we want to wish you and your family a wonderful Advent and Christmas celebration. Here is part of our annual Christmas letter. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please comment on this post with your email address. We will NOT publish your address.
God Bless!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

Luke’s Gospel tells us of a time of census that required families to uproot and travel back to their ancestral communities. Large crowds journeyed along the roadways and into small towns and villages returning to the homes of relatives: Too many travellers needing lodging, food, and care. The Roman authority wasn’t concerned about the logistical difficulty and challenges that their demands placed upon individuals and families, let alone a young couple expecting a child. However, as is often the case, the actions of the powerful have a direct effect upon the most vulnerable in society. As the African proverb puts it “When the elephants fight the grass gets hurt.”

Throughout the world today countless people continue to have their lives upset by the actions and demands of political and military powers. From the uncertain and shifting call for national elections in Kenya, to the rebel conflicts in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the strife between extremist groups in the Horn of Africa, this past year has been a time of great upheaval within practically every country CBM is working in across Africa. As we enter the month of Advent, our CBM family is walking with communities that are responding to refugees from the rebel fighting in Goma, and insecurity in Muslim communities in Kenya. We think of one of our dear friends who had lost contact with family members who fled into the jungles when fighting began near the Congo and Rwanda border. This past week he received word that 3 of his relatives are safe, but 37 others are still missing.

It is significant that the Christmas story has Jesus being born under the shadow of Herod’s ruthless attempt to secure his power at the expense of innocent lives. In Herod’s mind he sees the “Prince of Peace” as a rival. We are reminded of the words of Proverbs 28:15 that those who use their power and influence for gain at the expense of the weakest amongst us are as dangerous as “a roaring lion or an attacking bear”. But the “Herods” of the world do not get the last word.

Jesus is the hope in our story, for God is not distant or unconcerned. In Jesus, God enters the world of brokenness and oppression. He meets the suffering of the outcasts with compassion and liberation. God overturns the plans of the powerful and defends the weak and entrapped.

A few weeks ago, Erica and our community facilitator Aisha were faced with an impossible challenge. Rioting broke out in Eastleigh during a self-­‐help group training near our home and the military and police closed off all access roads into Eastleigh. We had offered for the six women to stay at our house, but they had children trapped within the conflict area and they were desperate to return. How could they get back to their children? Together we prayed seeking God’s protection and for peace to return to the community. After our praying, Erica and Aisha began calling Muslim friends in Eastleigh. Soon a network of safe houses emerged as other women opened their doors to the group of anxious mothers. We drove the women as close as we were able, and over the next Bive hours the group went from the safety of one house to the next until they had covered the twelve city blocks back to their children. By 7 pm that night all of the mothers had been reunited with their families. God had more than answered our prayers; none of the families had been harmed.

Please pray with us this Advent that Christ would come as the prince of peace into the divided communities of Africa.

In Christ,
Aaron & Erica 

"A Smile is the Beginning of Peace"
Mother Teresa

Monday, December 10, 2012

Praying for peace

Photo courtesy of Ryan Youngblood

Somali Refugee Camp

Looking back on 2012, it is clear that insecurity is affecting the lives of countless people throughout every country that CBM is serving in Africa. From refugees fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo and entering Rwanda, to strife in South Sudan and the Horn of Africa, the need for compassionate response and peace is high. 

This past weekend, our CBM Muslim Ministry team in Kenya met with our Africa team leader, Colin Godwin, and our CBM General Secretary, Sam Chaise, to discuss the security situation in Kenya and our plans for Integral Mission in 2013. We are excited for the opportunities that we have to strengthen the ministry of local churches and Muslim majority communities in improving mutual well-being and peace. We are thankful for our committed African partners who are dedicated to seeing the hope of Christ bring transformation and healing into their communities.

In Kenya, our colleagues Gato Munyamasoko and Yattani Gollo are coordinating Peace and Reconciliation efforts with the Africa Brotherhood Church and African Christian Church & Schools as they help their communities prepare for the upcoming Kenya national elections called for this March. Please remember our team and partners as we seek God’s leading in building peace.

Photo: Meeting with the CBM Muslim Ministry Team and Sam Chaise, today in Nairobi

CBM Muslim Ministry team meeting 
with Colin Godwin and Sam Chaise at Heart Lodge
(Laura, Aaron, William, Yattani, Michel, Colin, Sam, and Erica)