Friday, February 22, 2013

As Sneetches We Stand

As Sneetches We Stand
The Rosslyn Academy Middle School Play
February 21-23, 2013

This year’s Rosslyn Middle School play was written by a group of students with their drama teacher Mark Statler. This was Tristan’s second experience with being part of a playwright committee. They worked together reviewing the works of Dr. Seuss and decided to create a back story for his book the Sneetches. With the script completed last fall, Mr. Statler held auditions for parts and began rehearsals in the later half of the second school quarter. Last night was their premier performance!

Tristan as Sylvester McMonkey McBean:
the lost McBean brought in by the Sneetches, 
but through a journey of great hardship
he discovers how to bring healing to
their community, in an interesting twist to
the classic Dr. Seuss story.

“My friends”, he announced in a voice clear and clean,
“My name is Sylvester McMonkey McBean.
And I’ve heard of Your troubles. 
I’ve heard you’re unhappy.
But I can fix that, I’m the Fix-It-Up Chappie. 
I’ve come here to help you.
I have what you need.
And my prices are low. And I work with great speed.
And my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed!”

Sylvester being sent on a mission 
by the elders of the plain-belly Sneetches

Emma as Mrs. Eetch Sneetch 
on the star-belly beach
eating forbidden fruits

News of the mayhem among the Sneetches 
reaches homes far beyond the beaches 

Sylvester seeks a way to fill his belly
and fix the troubles among his adopted Sneetch family

Sylvester finds some help in unlikely places

Emma and her other Sneetch friends

“...That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day.
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.

And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether
They had one, or not, upon thars.”

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fear Presists

The past two years have seen a dramatic increase in tension and violence in the communities where we are serving in Kenya. Fear is a major source of the ongoing anxiety experienced by the commutes that CBM is working with in urban ministry in Kenya. IRIN recently published a great article on the situation and experience of Somali refugees living in Eastleigh and Dadaab. As one resident shared:

 "Here is where our children call home... The government has put us in a condition of fear, and we can't even move out of our houses. We are lacking freedom of movement. We don't open our businesses," said Abdi Mohamed, an elderly businessman in Eastleigh. "Some of my neighbours have left for Mogadishu, and others are on course if the government directives persist.” (from the IRIN article below)

Since the rumours of expulsion and the increase of police raids in Eastleigh, many of the women we work with have gone into hiding or left. Please keep this community in your prayers!

Reprieve for Urban refugees, but fear persists
A report published by IRIN, January 24, 2013

NAIROBI, 24 January 2013 (IRIN) - Urban refugees in Kenya, threated with relocation to overcrowded refugee camps, are breathing a sigh of relief following a High Court ruling that has provisionally halted the move.

On 18 December 2012, Kenya's Department of Refugee Affairs announced that all refugees should leave urban areas and move to refugee camps - the northeastern Dadaab complex for Somali refugees, and the northwestern Kakuma camp for all others. It further ordered an immediate stop to the registration of refugees in urban areas. 

The directive was in response to a number of grenade attacks that have occurred in urban areas, follwoing Kenya's invasion of Somalia in October 2011. The attacks have been widely blamed on the Somali militant group Al-Shabab, although the group has not claimed responsibility. 

The government was due to begin the relocation of an estimated 100,000 urban refugees to camps on 21 January, but a ruling on 23 January by Justice David Majanja halted the government's plan until 4 February, when a petition against the directive filed by Kituo Cha Sheria, a local legal rights group, is scheduled to be heard. 

"I am satisfied that, in view of the international obligations Kenya has with respect to refugees, and the fact that under our Constitution refugees are vulnerable persons, the petitioner has an arguable case before the court, " the ruling stated. "A conservatory order... is hereby issued prohibiting any State officer [or] public officer agent of the Government from implementing the decision evidenced by and/or contained in the Press Release dated 18th December 2012 pending further orders of this court.” 

To read the full article click here

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Language Study

Erica, Laura and William in study mode!

This month, Erica, Laura and William are taking some dedicated time to work on their Somali language skills. They, and three other students, are in class every day with their audio recorders at the ready as they work on vocabulary and Somali conversation. Please remember them in your prayers as they seek to improve these valuable skills.

At the same time, we are excited to see the self help groups in Eastleigh making progress as Aisha and Patrick are supporting the groups through their weekly activities. We thank God for the wonderful colleagues whom we are able to serve with here in Africa. Please pray for the ongoing safety of the women in Eastleigh and for the security situation in Kenya as the National elections are held on March 4th.

Please continue to pray for our friend who was injured in last week’s attacks in Garissa. Yesterday Yattani, William, Colin, Karen, Erica and I were able to visit him in hospital. He praises God for sparing his life and shared with us his hope that healing would come about in Garissa in the aftermath of the attack: "God loves the Somali people!” he shared. “A Somali man might have pointed the gun that shot me and killed my brother, but it was a Somali man who lifted me into his car and took me to the hospital, saving my life!” Our friends love for his neighbour and faith in the power of Christ filled the hospital room. 

We just heard from his son this morning that the bullet that entered his father’s shoulder and exited through his chest has miraculous done no permanent damage. His left arm, which had been paralyzed after the shooting, is now strong and no further surgery will be needed “It is a miracle!” he told us. Please continue to pray for him, especially for his hearing that has been affected in his left ear. We also remember the families and churches in Garissa that have been most affected by the attacks.

Thank you all so much for keeping the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in your thoughts and prayers. We believe that by God’s grace transformation is taking place in the lives of people and communities in Africa and around he world.

“God never said doing His will would be easy, 

He only said it would be worth it.” 

- Joanne Shetler, missionary

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Darkness has not Overcome

“Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”
John 1:5

This morning in worship our church sang a new song that began “Through darkness, through fire, God’s love remains, God’s love remains”. It was a powerful statement after such a difficult week as our CBM family and partners were shocked and saddened by the attack upon Christian leaders in Kenya’s North Eastern Province that caused the death of three leaders and the serious injury of another. Persecution of the Church is a reality throughout many parts of our world, a reality that we in the West can sometimes forget.

It was encouraging to discover that against hatred and fear, there were both Muslim and Christian leaders who stepped forward to not only honour the men killed, but to be voices of reconciliation and healing in their community. Through the darkness, God’s love remains.

Please keep our CBM team and our Kenyan friends in your prayers as we gather with the families this week to mourn, pray and seek God’s light in the darkness. May we be reminded that it is there -- the darkness has not overcome it!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

CBM Kenya and Rwanda

CBM Kenya and Rwanda Team 2013 Conference

Over the past few days, we have had the pleasure of participating in the Canadian Baptist Ministries Kenya and Rwanda team conference, focused on human resource management. We had a lot of fun learning together, laughing together, and worshipping together at Heart Lodge in Nairobi.

Here are a few candid shots from our friend Kathleen:

The Bustin family playing air guitar

 Caleb Bannister visiting from Rift Valley Academy

Jane McPhee with Kathleen Soucy

Yattani and Pauline

Worship time

Gato leading a session on peace

The Morgans leading worship

Karen Godwin

Please keep our team in your prayers as we serve in such a diversity of areas throughout East and Central Africa. We are especially praying for peace in all of the areas of focus including unrest in South Sudan, the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and throughout Kenya during next month’s national elections. 

We are so thankful for our wonderful team mates and for the opportunities we have to collaborate and support one another in the ministries that we are involved.

Erica leading a session on the self help group approach