Friday, February 24, 2017

Praying for South Sudan

A young girl praying for peace in South Sudan
Faith Evangelical Baptist Church, Kakuma Refugee Kamp, Kenya

Earlier this week, the United Nations declared a national wide famine in South Sudan. After year's of civil war and drought, 4.9 million people are now in need of food, one hundred thousand of whom are in imminent threat of starvation. It is anticipated that this number will continue to grow unless something is done quickly.

As Canadian Baptists, we have been assisting in relief efforts with our local partner the Faith Evangelical Baptist Church. Together we have been providing food and assistance to internally displaced people that are camping in Narus, Upper Nile, and around FEBAC churches North of Juba.

Resources are being stretched thin as new people arrive each day in search of help.

Rev. Saphano Riak Chol, Secretary General FEBAC

While we have been working with leaders from FEBAC this week, Rev. Saphano's wife, Josephine Riak, has returned to the Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya to help their four churches that have been receiving new arrivals from South Sudan every day. 
"The people are coming very traumatized," shared Rev. Saphano. "They have been walking so far to find help. Our members are receiving them, and they need to be cared for and comforted. Everyone has witnessed so much death and terrible things."
Meanwhile, the churches within South Sudan are assisting people that have fled areas of fighting. FEBAC is doing its best to minister to orphans, widows, the injured, and disabled whom are turning to them for help, but the current priority is food which is in short supply.

Young mother Nyaakalany Kiir

FEBAC member Nyaakalany Kiir was injured in the fighting in her home village of Malakal. Kiir recently received a prosthetic limb through the ministry of the church. Kiir and her pastor share thanks for the ongoing support that their Church has received during the crisis of the past three years.

As follower's of Christ, we believe that the way we respond to the needs of the most vulnerable is a reflection of our faithfulness to God. It is humbling to serve with local churches that are sacrificially pouring their lives out for others. We thank God for the courageous faith and compassionate love that we are witnessing among our friends here in South Sudan.

Rev. Jeremiah Deng baptizing soldiers in Aweil, South Sudan

FEBAC does not discriminate in its relief and outreach projects that provide assistance to people across ethnic and religious boundaries. This example of inclusion and compassion for all has been widely noticed by government and community officials in the areas where they work. Saphano has been sharing with us letters of recognition and gratitude for the support that Canadian Baptists and our partners have been giving through FEBAC. 

It has been incredible to see that during this time of such great upheaval that the church has been growing. As FEBAC cares for the vulnerable, they have also seen soldiers and community leaders coming to faith. 
"One of our pastors, Rev. Jeremiah, has led many soldiers to faith," shared Rev. Saphano. "These men are often being moved around and they do not know what tomorrow holds, so Jeremiah will often offer to baptize them right away. Even if there is water next to the road."
In Prayer

Please join us in praying for the people of South Sudan and for the humanitarian relief that the country so desperately needs.

Please consider making a donation to CBM's relief efforts.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Prayer Update: Longing for Rains

Crowds gathering at the end of a 2016 CBM relief distribution in Garissa, Kenya

We thank God for a peaceful transition of power in Somalia this past week, as former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was elected president. Of the many challenges his new government will face, perhaps there is none as immediate as a looming famine in the Horn of Africa. 

Presently five million people living in Somali do not have enough to eat, because of four consecutive years of drought. People are already recognizing the warning signs of famine, similar to the conditions leading up to 2011 famine that killed 260,000 people.

Following Canadian Baptist Ministries' emergency response in 2011, our team has been working to build resiliency and food security for villages in Kenya's most vulnerable region, Garissa. Helping families settle and farm along the Tana River using irrigation and dryland conservation agriculture methods has seen good success. Along with ongoing training and support, this month our colleagues William and Geofrey are beginning construction of a new irrigation canal project for farming cooperatives in this area.

We continue to pray for success in this ministry as local Christian and Muslim neighbours work together to provide sustainable farms and communities.

As we pray for rains to come, we remember that the drought is not only affecting Somalia and Northeastern Kenya. The drought now includes southern Ethiopia, a much wider region of Kenya, and parts of Rwanda and Burundi. 

According to the World Food Program's January 2017 report, in Kenya over two million people are expected to fall into food insecurity from over the next six months. The National Disaster Management Authority is warning that Kenya could face a drought similar or worse than that experienced in 2011.

Twenty-three of Kenya's forty-seven counties are affected by the worsening situation, but the ten most affected are Turkana, Marsabit, Tana River, Garissa, Kilif, Samburu, Kwale, Lamu, West Pokot, and Wajir. Already in places like Marsabit, 60% of cattle have died and people are facing malnutrition. 

Searching for Water

Women carry jerry cans of water from shallow wells dug from sand along the Shabelle River, which is dry because of drought in Somalia's Shabelle region in March 2016 (photo Reuters)

Please join us in praying for rains and for wisdom as churches and communities respond to this crisis. We especially think of our friends and CBM colleagues working in the draught affected region of Mahama Rwanda.

To learn more about the relief efforts of Canadian Baptist Ministries and to donate to these efforts, people please follow this link.

Sadie Hawkins -- 70s & 80s Night!


This year's Rosslyn High School's Sadie Hawkins was a 70s and 80s themed party. Great tunes could be heard throughout the neighbourhood as the kids bopped to the great pop hits of the era. We've been humming Duran Duran's Rio all morning.

It was great to see the students take on 80s fashion. Lots of blue eye shadow and turned up collars. Some big hair. Neon shirts. And lots of fun!

Sally and Tristan on their way to the party

As Tristan's final year of High School has been flying by, we are so thankful for the great friends and wonderful memories that God is bringing into his life.

We've   got   to
to  what  we've
'cause  it doesn't
make a difference

Tristan, Ezra, and Michael

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Praying for Somalia

Today, February 8, 2017, Somalia is holding presidential elections. Early this year, Erica wrote a prayer for an international women's prayer program that we think is very fitting for today and the weeks ahead as Somalia seeks new leadership and change.

The Al Shabab militant attacks of this past week has led the twenty Somali presidential candidates to move the election into the Mogadishu airport, where the elected members of parliament will vote in their new leader.

Despite the high level of corruption within the government, the UN special envoy to Somali, Michael Keating, sees the election as a crucial step toward stability and reform, as much of the parliament has been replaced with new leaderships eager for change.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since the fall of Siad Barre's regime in 1991. Please join us today and in the days ahead as we uphold Somalia and the millions of Somali refugees spread throughout the world in our prayers.

If you are interested in learning more about the ministry of Canadian Baptists among Somali refugees living in Kenya please click here.

Praying for Women and Girls in Somalia

Almighty and loving God,

Your mercy and compassion are never failing, they rise like the sun over Somalia -- Transforming the dark and torrid waters of the night and filling the earth with hope and vitality.

We lift up to you the women of Somalia. 

Here in the great horn of Africa, on the wind swept shores of the Indian Ocean and along the arid Mudug plain, millions of mothers rise today to continue the struggle of survival.

For the sake of their children, they will toil under your great sun desperate to provide for the needs of their families.

Some will spend this day in the vast refugee camps that surround the rubble of Mogadishu, caring for children, sweeping the dust from their tent, and waiting for change.

Others will walk this day along camel paths in search of water. Some will carry a baby or sick child seeking help from a distant medical centre. Many will flee from villages where battles are erupting, following worn trails that crisscross their country.

Twenty-six years of conflict and war have torn apart the fabric their nation. Bloodshed and violence have touched every home. It is mothers who nurse the battle wounds and who bear the scars.  

We pray with the women of Somalia. Lord, hear our prayers as we join these women in crying out for peace. Pour your Holy Spirit upon this nation bringing healing and restoration. Awaken within Somalia a thirst for reconciliation, and a hunger for forgiveness. Open new paths in the desert that will lead your children to lasting and abundant life.

They desire this day an end to violence. Against the clamor and din of war may their voice be heard, as they weeps for their people, as they yearn for a better life for their children, and a new future for their country.

May the love and power of Christ touch their lives today. Amen

Erica Kenny
Canadian Baptist Ministries

Nairobi, Kenya

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hope in Dark Times

Pastor James of the Faith Evangelical Church in Saika

Fighting has only grown worse in South Sudan. Lack of rain is creating conditions for famine and, sadly, opening access for tanks and soldiers which are bringing destruction into the northern communities of Malakal and the Upper Nile. Reports from local news and from our friends inside of the country are far from hopeful. These are dark times for South Sudan and our church partners are asking us to join them in prayer.

It would be all too easy for our South Sudanese friends to fall into despair and cynism. The long and brutal civil war seems to be destroying everything in its path. 

But rather than giving up, the South Sudanese church is standing together in faith and solidarity. They are not only helping one another but together they are opening their homes and sharing what they have with displaced neighbours from every tribe both within their country and in the refugee camps and communities where the scattered people of South Sudan have fled.

Please join us in uplifting the people and churches of South Sudan in prayer. We pray for the leadership of the country. We pray for humility, mercy, and reconciliation as the international community encourages an end to this war. 

We also pray for safety for a delegation of leaders from our church partner who will be travelling to Kenya in the coming week to join us for partnership meetings here in Nairobi. 

Erica has written an article on the refugee experience of James (pictured above) and members of his refugee church. You can read their story in the Winter 2017 issue of Mosaic magazine -- just Click Here