Thursday, February 14, 2008

Serious Situation

I imagine most will be doing Valentine's Day posts today. Even though I live in a place where Valentine's Day is a huge part of the town's identity, I have chosen to let you know about something serious today. If you need a lift and haven't read yesterday's post yet, go there first, but please come back for this message.

If you've read me long, you know that my son, Kevin, went to Kenya, Africa to school for one semester. What a life-changing semester that was. He met Sema (her blog name) and she became the love of his life, besides his Swahili tutor!

I have not been to Kenya yet, but I need to go and meet Sema's family. They are wonderful people, and were not able to be here for the wedding. In fact, the American Embassy in Kenya denied their request to come for a visit three years ago at Christmas. (We now know that God was probably in that situation, but it was very hurtful at the time). We hope they can come sometime soon.

But today I want to share with you from Sema's heart. I asked her to write this for me, and I am sending it to everyone I know. There is a request for money at the end, but that is not the main reason I am sending this out. I know many of you are prayer warriors, and the people of Kenya need your prayers. We always hear about Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda - all of these places that have been in the news for years for the atrocities happening there. Kenya, on the other hand, has been more prosperous and stable. If you've kept up with international news lately, you may know that they had an election recently and the current president was re-elected. There are many people who are unhappy about that re-election and are showing it with acts of violence. We are blessed here in America - even if we dislike the president intensely, can't stand the candidates who are running, we do it peacefully.

Mostly you hear about Nairobi in the news stories. Sema's family is from Mombasa, which is on the Indian Ocean. Only recently has she learned how very bad it has become there. I am now going to quote her words:

  • Some of you may know the difficult state of the affairs of Kenya has begun to affect my family in Kenya. Riots and violence is the order of the day in Kenya. At first the violence was only in the capital city and parts of central Nairobi, but now my mother and father who reside in Mombasa (until now a relatively peaceful place) have been caught right in the midst of this political mayhem. Food has become scarce and prices on food has skyrocketed due to the unrest and my parents desperately need money so they can afford to buy food. Things that used to cost $7 now cost $20-$30.

    In Mombasa, healthcare is deteriorating, and doctors are becoming discriminatory on whom they treat, for fear of their life. Most doctors have received threats and have had to be evacuated to their homeland, for fear of being killed for being one tribe and not the other. Though my parents’ tribe is not among the tribes fighting, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish which person belongs to which tribe, and killings are increasing and becoming more random. Mobs of unruly citizens are seeking ’kikuyu” shops and burning them, which in turn leaves very few shops open to provide for the entire city of Mombasa.

    I am sending this email so that people can have a better and clear understanding of what my country is really going through. Kenyans are really suffering and innocent people have lost their lives because of the Political unrest. This current political crisis has directly affected my family in Kenya. I am in the process of collecting donations from people, so that I can send the money to my parents and hope they can be able to buy food so they do not starve. For all that will feel compelled to contribute towards this course, I thank you in advance and may God Bless you.

    Thank you.

She got a message later in the day with some horribly graphic pictures of piles of bodies who had been shot and cut with machetes. The president has ordered the police to shoot to kill if violence erupts. Her brother takes public transportation to school in Nairobi every day, and it is worrisome to Sema, who is so very far away from them.

I know this is not easy or fun to read, and I will go back to posting pictures of the teeny tiny twins, and try to finish the travelogue. But this is what is on my heart today. To put a face on this story, I leave you with this picture of Kevin and his beautiful wife, Sema.

KA 002

This picture was taken at a Teen Challenge banquet - if you don't know Kev's story, it is on my sidebar under "A Story of Deliverance."

Thank you for your prayers for Sema's family.


Needled Mom said...

That is a difficult story to read, Dawn. It is so easy for us to find comfort in our country and so hard to imagine that incidents like you have described are actually going on all around the world. I will add special prayers for relief for these human beings living under such horrid conditions.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Robin said...

I think that was a perfect post for Valentines Day - the day we celebrate love. Because if that story doesn't move you to pray and show the love of Jesus to our suffering brothers and sisters, I don't know what would.
Please email me an address to send some money. It won't be much, but I will send what I can.

Laura said...

Please let Sema know that I am praying with her for Kenya, and for her family.

Barb said...

I will keep Sema, her family and all the innocent people affected by this tragedy in my prayers, Dawn.

Sema is beautiful. Truly beautiful. And my word, Kristin and Kevin could be twins, they look so much alike.

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing this with us Dawn. We will definitely be in payer for Sema's family and all the others caught in this terrible tragedy.

Penless Thoughts said...

I am thankful you posted this Dawn. We have been getting almost daily e-mail reports on a missionary family and their struggles with what is going on there. Our world is truly in total unrest so many places. We, the CHURCH, must be on our knees and interceeding for these people.

Why is your city the Valentine capitol? That would be an interesting post to an Okie like me!!!!

Your daughter-in-love is truly beautiful.

Penless Thoughts said...

Oh my, Dawn. I didn't realize that about your location. Skip the comment!!!

nancygrayce said...

Oh, Dawn, your family has truly shown God's grace under fire! I pray for Sema's family that God will protect them from all harm and that the violence will stop. My heart breaks for Sema being so far away and helpless.

Mimi said...

I will pray for Sema's family and for Sema's peace of mind (I know she must be worried sick about them)
Please E-Mail me the mailing address so I can send her a little something to help with the situation,

Nancy said...

Dawn, I am so sorry to hear about Sema's family. I use to follow her blog (before she stopped blogging) and have so enjoyed the story about her and Kev. I will keep her and her family in my prayers. Please send me- through my email address, a snail mail address to make a contribution.

A dear friend, that is my Bible study leader was in Kenya, on a medical mission trip (her husband is a doctor) when all of this started in December. They had trouble getting back to the USA. It took them 3 days to get a police escort to get to the airport and they had 4 of their children with them doing Bible Schools for the children. So sad...

Count me in- I want to help. You have all become such good blogging friends and I feel a connection that is hard to explain. I am just delighted that you made me aware of the situation.

PEA said...

It truly breaks my heart that not everyone can have the peace and freedom that we have here in Canada and the United States. My prayers are with Sema and her can't even imagine how worried she is about them. Thank you, Dawn, for letting us know about this. xoxo

Diane said...

Oh Dawn,

Praise the Lord! The checks are in the mail!

Blessings and prayers coming from Minnesota!


Chrissie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this - I'll be praying! God bless you and your family1

nannykim said...

I am adding the family to my prayer list. Do you have an address for donations somewhere on your blog ?

Angela (Gran) said...

Thank you Dawn for your post today... I will add Sema's Family to my prayer journal. Please let her know that I am praying for her and her family that's far away.

Thanks for your visit...I love the previous post... you look so natural with the twins. I know that you are loving every moment with all of your girls.: )


Jungle Mom said...

I am afraid this brought back some painful memories for me. I have friends in Kenya as well and they are saying the same things. God help them all!

Myrna said...

What a story! Of course we will be in prayer. My son has done some work in another part of Africa and has such a heart burden for that continent. Thank you for sharing the concern.

Karen H. said...

Good Evening Dawn,
Well, I was going to wish you a "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY", but right now I am at a loss of words. That is a very sad situation for Sema's Family. I know she is worried sick about them. I wish I could help out in some way, but our finances are tight right now until we get caught up. But I will be praying for Sema's Family and for her as well. It is such a terrible world in some places. If things don't change around here in the USA, I'm afraid something like that will happen. I pray not, but you know GOD tells about the last days and how they are. Just know I will be praying for Sema and Kev and Sema's Family. They both make a lovely couple. Take care my friend and have a great evening. May God Bless You and Yours.

Love & Hugs,
Karen H.

Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

:( What to say?

I'll keep looking and hoping for a good report on your blog. And I'll pray.

Pear tree cottage! said...

Dear Dawn, I have read many Valentine posts today, BUT! dear lady this is a true Valentine, the love that I see between these two is nothing short of wonderful. I pray they stay safe and that Sema's family are from harms way. If for any reason you need to send them anything to help her family please let me know sending what we can is the least we can do.

I too cannot bring myself to do a cheerful valentine post today the memories are too sad but this day will end and we will simply remember.


O! can I just add the twins are adorable! (smiles)

Sharon Lynne said...

I'll be praying, Dawn. That must be so hard for know her family is in danger. I will be praying for their protection.

Diane J. said...

I'm praying, Dawn. Such a sad situation.



groovyoldlady said...

We have some dear friends who are missionaries at Scott Theological College in Machakos so we've been praying right along.

My heart breaks for Kenya! Now we will add Sema's family to our prayers as well...

Yolanda said...

I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers. It is so sad what it going on there .

Maine Mom said...

I'm glad you posted about what is in your heart today and on your mind. I was not aware and I appreciate this knowledge so I too can pray, especially for Sema's family.

Nadine said...

I prayer for Sema's family that the Lord would keep them safe. I pray that Sema's heart would find peace.

It's so difficult to be away from family, especially when there is such unrest and violence. They are a lovely couple.

Kathleen Marie said...

I have been reading about the happenings in Kenya and it is so tragic. Prayers going up for Kevin and Sema and her family. What a heartbreak but God is bigger! Blessings and Hugs!

Sherry said...

I've been thinking of her since that started and meant to ask her about it when she was here a while back, I never realized it was directly affecting her family. We'd love to help. I can't imagine how helpless she must feel, but it's just like her to step up and do something about it.