On Tuesday morning, I leave on a trip to East Africa to view some of our church-based orphan homes and explore new partnerships for the region. While there, I will also be visiting the site where our home in Nairobi, Kenya was so ruthlessly destroyed recently. I hope to be an encouragement to the children and leaders there. As a memory refresher, I have pasted my original letter below that was sent out just before Christmas…
It is at this celebratory time of year when we hope to hear only the best of news. However, I am greatly saddened today upon hearing about a wicked act committed against one of our dear church-partners and orphan home, Fountain of Life, in the Mathare Valley slum area of Nairobi, Kenya.
Fountain of Life’s Lameck Mbai, writes (edited for spelling and grammar):
"On Tuesday night around 9:00 pm, our gate was knocked down with a bulldozer that begun demolishing the orphans’ classrooms. Pastor Evans and others woke up the boys (around 60 children) and got them out of the dormitories. None of them were hurt physically in the process, but we witnessed one of the most cruel and inhuman acts of recent times. Fifty young Muslim men of Somali origin were armed with all manner of crude weapons. They were hyped up and ready for violence at the slightest provocation."
"Everything was destroyed and looted. There was no warning or communication. It was a surprise attack."
"The boys slept in the cold and no government official came to our rescue. We reported the incident to the nearest police station. To our surprise the officer commanding the station was the same person who had supervised the demolition. I cried as I asked God what have I not done, who have we not called."
The church, office, orphan school and dormitories, and supporting structures were all razed to the ground by the bulldozer and mob.
Fountain of Life was not the only Christian ministry devastated that night in the Muslim slum area of Mathare Valley. At least two other area churches had their property leveled and looted also. Lameck added that, "The mob only vandalized the Christian churches. They did not touch the property belonging to the Muslims."
Brian Becker, our US partner with Fountain of Life America, reported, "Muslim/Christian relationships in Kenya have become strained lately, especially due to the influx to Nairobi of Muslim refugees from Somalia as a result of the civil war there. This attack appears to be retaliation against the Christian ministries for all that they are doing in that Muslim community in Mathare Valley."
Fountain of Life suffered a great loss earlier this year also as the Senior Pastor, James Mbai (Lameck’s father), passed away suddenly. The orphans were subsequently placed into the care of James’ wife, Mama Florence. Regarding the latest tragedy, Brian Becker urged, "Please pray for those who would do such a terrible thing to a widow and many orphans."
In the past day, Fountain of Life has managed to get a restraining order and injunction to prevent further destruction of the property. However, the damage is done and in the slum "hinterlands" of the developing world, destruction and corruption are rarely followed by justice and recompense.
This evening, 60 young orphaned and abandoned boys rescued from the slums are again without a home, again seeing their family displaced, again feeling traumatized by events out of their control.
Please remember these children during this season…as well as the countless other helpless little victims who daily witness the abuses and injustices of this lost and fallen world.
We will be establishing a fund to help these children. We will rebuild once legal protections are in place. We will give these children a home again…hope again.