Orucho_group

In 2005, a land dispute erupted in the Mount Elgon region of Kenya’s Rift Valley. The corrupt local militia, “Sabaot Land Defense Force” began raiding villages, extorting bogus “taxes”, killing civilians, and currying favor with local politicians. Over the next three years, the SLDF was implicated in the death of at least 600, and the displacement of over 66,000 people. In 2008, Kenyan security forces launched a major military operation against the SLDF, killing its leader and effectively halting its progress.

Harrison NgotaWDA trainee Harrison Ngota was living in the region at the time. He reports, “In December of that year, it was registered that more than 600 women had lost their husbands to the conflict. We listened to stories of torture and rape from the pastors and leaders present.”

Last month, WDA trainers Mary McKeever, Willie Ruth Johnson and Kathy Heid conducted a discipleship-training seminar for over 50 pastors and leaders in that area. Working off Mary’s foundational teachings on discipleship and a session on forgiveness based on the book As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda, Willie Ruth and Kathy each taught a session on forgiveness as well. Harrison Ngota writes, “This was the most interesting part, drawing so much attention, [leading to] brain-storming sessions. It is very difficult to render forgiveness. SLDF intimidated the population, raped and stole property at will, collected “taxes”, and administered their version of justice. Hundreds of people have been burned out of their homes.”

Mr. Ngota goes on to say, “There is a need to ‘go the extra mile’ and equip pastors and leaders on the ground. Most spiritual leaders have a strong, sincere desire to shepherd and guide disciples to maturity. But unfortunately, few leaders have been equipped to accomplish the task of ‘presenting people mature in Christ.’”

Orucho_groupWDA remains committed to providing training and resources to Christian leaders in Kenya. Our prayers are with the pastors and leaders of Mt. Elgon as they navigate the fallout of recent violence in their region.

If you are interested in becoming an international trainer for WDA or would like to support WDA’s international ministry, please click here!

 

In the Kuria district of Kenya, the November air is clear and the stars are bright. There is no electricity in the small house where I am staying. I awake at 3 AM, sleepless from jet lag, pull back the mosquito net that surrounds my bed, look out my window on the moonlit lawn and weep.

Earlier tonight, I heard a story that I didn’t want to hear, about a practice that I didn’t want to know existed. I’m having trouble comprehending the horror of what I heard.


Female circumcision…female genital mutilation…girls sometimes as young as 9 or 10…a ritual done in the bush…no anesthesia…one razor blade…families celebrating this “rite of passage”…girls given no choice and told to be brave and told not to cry out.

Girls who refuse to participate in this procedure are shunned by their peers, shunned by their families, shunned by their communities.

Girls who submit to this ritual get infections from the unsterile procedure, AIDS from the shared cutting instrument, emotional trauma from the forced mutilation. They receive no further schooling and are soon given by their families in marriage.

I am horrified that this happens, horrified that I did not know of it before and horrified that I feel helpless to do anything about it but weep. I cry myself to sleep with the cool night air of Kuria blowing through my window.

[This is my second visit to Kenya with my WDA Restorative team. We have been teaching discipleship principles as well as emotional healing principles to several churches in this remote area.]

Since that night last November, I have become more educated about the practice of female circumcision. I have read, researched, talked, listened and cried some more.

 

GraduationSince that night last November, I have become aware of and involved with several efforts in Kuria to end this practice. The Komotobo Mission Compound, where I stayed in Kenya, shelters girls during the month of December when the rites are performed.  There is an initiative being started right now in Kuria to educate churches and pastors about the Biblical reasons for abolishing this practice, in addition to the health, safety and emotional reasons.

 

Girls sheltered at Komotobo – Dec. 2010

What can YOU do to help?

  • You can make a tax-deductible contribution to GRI, an organization committed to educating people and sheltering girls in Kuria.
  • You can learn more about this atrocity and speak out against it.
  • And you can pray for the girls in Kuria, some who will escape and some who will not but all who need to know the saving power of a God who loves them dearly.