Nakuru was quite something. Initially the pastor’s fellowship didn’t want Msafara in their town. Reason being that the church was so divided ethnically and politically they didn’t think it would be possible to meet together. It was only by God’s grace that they finally agreed to host us. Unlike the other towns, the Msafara pastors went into a meeting with Nakuru pastors while the rest of the team went to visit the two IDP camps in town. The pastor’s meeting was intense. Against all expectations, a large group of local pastors attended, many of whom I came to learn hadn’t spoken to each other for a long time.
I can honestly say only God could bring about what was accomplished. During the pastor’s meeting, we had a chance to pray for our brothers and sisters who are hurting, and to pray for forgiveness and reconciliation. Many had not been in the same room since several months before the elections. There was an opportunity to challenge these leaders to put aside differences and to work together as the spiritual leaders of the city. As we concluded on the second day, there was a clear sense to all present that despite the seeming impossibility of it all, God had somehow broken through. As we shared Holy Communion with each other, a sense of love, unity and oneness filled the room. Leaders walked across the room to hug those from other tribes. Once more, words fail me to express the miracle that we had witnessed.
Meanwhile, the rest of the wasafiri were visiting the two IDP camps in town. You’ve got to see and experience the camps in the Rift Valley for yourself, to understand the scope of the suffering. Somehow TV pictures don’t quite transmit how hopeless the situation is for these fellow citizens. Our wasafiri had a chance to share the care packs and food with the people there, many of who had seen their own homes burnt in the last couple of months. The musicians on the team also put on a concert and during the times of prayer that followed, our wasafiri had a chance to pray, empathize and cry with many of the multitude who came to listen. Their testimony is that even there, there was a heart connection that only God could have engineered.
Afterwards we all drove in a convoy around town to the places worst affected by the violence led by the Nakuru pastors. Using loudspeakers mounted on a van, we conveyed words of hope to the residents of these areas. In many, there was a warm response. In some, a weary and hollow look in people’s eyes that could only have come from the trauma of post-election violence. One section we drove through that was once a thriving, bustling settlement was now a ghost-town.
As we left, I spoke to one of the Nakuru pastors, who was overwhelmed. He felt much more had been accomplished in that short meeting than he would have imagined in his wildest dreams. I thank God for a chance to distribute 24 tones of food to Nakuru. But of even greater long-term impact in my opinion, will be the impact of the unity among the town’s spiritual leaders.