Kenyan Heroes – Joy’s Journey

I want to share a few great stories that have recently come my way…


Like all middle class Nairobians, Joy (32) was troubled by what was going on in her nation. But unlike most of us, she found it impossible to take shelter in her house and watch the nation burn on TV.

Around the 10th of January, we heard with horror about the church that had been burnt with almost 200 Kenyans in it. Joy and three other friends could take it no more, and they hurriedly filled two cars with supplies, attached makeshift flags & stickers to disguise themselves as Red Cross workers, and drove off into some of the worst areas affected by the violence!

The next few days will forever be etched in their minds. Along the way, they met with groups of armed young men, many of whom had participated in the atrocities. They also had a chance to help the soldiers who were working to dismantle the roadblocks (!) They prayed with and comforted villagers who had been evicted from their villages, and watched with some as their homes burnt down. They shared all they had, until all that was left was their empathy and prayer. Joy talks of hugging crying people, sitting silently by their side, crying with them…

Incredibly, they found themselves at the smoldering ruins of the church that had been burnt. As they stood looking at the white ashes, they met a young man, Stephen, the son of the woman in the wheelchair. He had discovered about his mother’s death along with the rest of us when we watched the story on national TV. This was the first time he had made it to the church. The charred wheelchair was easily visible among the ashes. Stephen was clearly dazed. It was people he knew who had done this to his mother. Joy and her friends once more gave all they had – they hugged and mourned with him, prayed for him…

I heard from Joy about many brave pastors… of tiny, unknown churches on the ground… who chose not to flee even when they could. Not as long as there were people who needed to be cared for.

Despite all the fear and danger, not a hand was laid on any of the team members, and they returned safely to Nairobi, having been to the epicenter of the violence, including Eldoret.

Most of us by now would have felt we’d played our part but not Joy. She then helped organize a team from several churches and mission organizations together and once more led them into great danger, as they delivered a truckload of food and clothes to displaced people’s in Burnt Forest. On the way, their convoy was stoned at least once. When they got their, they spent time with the people and also organized a multi-denominational church service, where people for the first time were able to process what they had gone through. Many of them committed to not continuing the cycle of violence…

Truly, there are heroes who walk among us!


3 responses to “Kenyan Heroes – Joy’s Journey

  1. My prayer after visiting Burnt Forest was to see more involvement on the ground by churches in Nairobi. The ‘Msafara’ of Hope is an answer to prayer.

    With young men like Stephen whose prayer is that nothng like this could ever happen to anyone’s mother, there is hope, living hope for our country.

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