In the first few weeks of 2008, we have been very aware and concerned about the violence and political turmoil in Kenya.
About 8 weeks ago I visited Fidelis Wainaina (pictured here) in Kisumu, western Kenya. Many of the Micah community know Fidelis through her role as a "grassroots champion" and board member for Micah Challenge International. In the field, Fidelis works across tribal and religious boundaries in and around a town called Maseno. Fidelis, a Kikuyu serves mainly Luo villages.
Fidelis discovered that there were food shortages in these villages and many orphaned and vulnerable children were drifting onto the streets. As a former agricultural teacher, she began to encourage the villages to sustainably support their families, by introducing innovative agricultural techniques and encouraging crop diversification. With increasing HIV prevalence and many children becoming orphans, this was an urgent task.
Over the past several years, Fidelis has faithfully and tirelessly served with this community and while I was there I was inspired by the fruits of their labour – where there was malnutrition, there is now abundance and the community is justifiably proud of its achievements. Kisumu has been greatly affected by the recent violence and unrest but Fidelis reports that the project facilities have been successfully defended during the violence and many people from the community have called her to make sure she will continue to work with them.
I wanted to share a little of Fidelis' story as she represents an example to me of someone who has asked, "What does it mean to be Jesus' disciple in this place" and faithfully answered God's call. No doubt the answer to that question will be changing at this critical time. Let's pray for Fidelis and other Micah Network members involved, and for their country, Kenya. Fidelis asks that we pray for wisdom and clear guidance on how she should work at this time.
I wish you God's peace and grace as we journey together in 2008 and look forward to serving you in this coming year.
"La Red Del Camino" is a movement of Christians in Latin America who share a common dream to participate in and see the global restoration of "all things" by fuelling the practice of integral mission through local communities of faith.
La Red Del Camino has recently relaunched its website in English and Spanish and we encourage you to visit it.
In particular, we recommend the first edition of their "E-zine":
"Do you?" by Helen Mottee
Many people in the Micah Network community are familiar with Helen Mottee's powerful cries for justice and have heard her sing at recent consultations in Chiang Mai (2006) and Malaysia (2007).
Watch and listen to one of Helen's latest songs, "Do you" – accompanied by images provided by UNHCR. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H7CgwQhDZg
The upcoming Latin America consultation will be a strategic and crucial event for the Latin American evangelical community that will orientate new commitments for strengthening integral mission in the region.
The Latin America consultation will cover:
Approaches to Integral Mission in Latin America
Working with vulnerable sectors
Peace and justice approaches
Local/ community development
Collaboration between churches and faith-based organizations
Christian Community Development (CCD) are hosting their conference Dependency or Sustainable Change? in Mosbach, Germany from 25 - 29 April for mission and development practitioners.
Achieving lasting (sustainable) change is a major objective of mission and development practitioners. However, this is also a great challenge based on the experiences of many organisations. Dependencies develop quickly; local actors and communities may neither be willing nor able to sustain the changes which have been achieved.
The CCD 2008 conference will present and explore key factors for avoiding dependency and attaining sustainable change. It will explore the capacities and resources communities require for lasting change. It will further look at factors which determine the willingness of a community to engage in and sustain change.
Speakers & Facilitators include:
Nancy TenBroek, since 10 years consultant to CRWRC partner staff in India and Bangladesh
Dr. John Devavaram, India, NGO founder and director, associate fellow of the IDS and IIED
Dr. Ravi Jayakaran, Cambodia, consultant with the ADB, the UNDP and int'l NGOs
Dr. David Mundy, academic at the Institute for Development Policy and Management, senior strategy and policy advisor to Tearfund
Dietmar Roller, Kindernothilfe, member of the Board of Directors.
Karim Sahyoun, planner of the CCD Conferences.
Dr. Thomas Schmidt, Allianz-Mission. Co-founder of a Christian NGO in Vietnam
Dr. David Shenk, global consultant with Eastern Mennonite Missions
April 22-26 – Latin America consultation on Integral Mission: Progress, Setbacks and Challenges, Lima, Peru.
August 18-22 – West African Consultation on Good Governance, Nigeria.
October 20-24 – Global strategic conversations on Disaster Management; HIV & AIDS, Thailand.
Plans for an Asia consultation are currently being considered. More news on this soon!
God, you have set us apart
as citizens of your kingdom
in which righteousness and justice reign.
Yet we confess that at times we only see
the injustices against ourselves
and are solely concerned with our rights.
But you require of us the courage
to embrace the hurt and loss of others
and the grace to listen to their story.
Help us to create a space for them,
to act justly and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with you.