Friday, June 20, 2008

Betrayed pastor forgives his enemies

Kenya-This month, about 100,000 Kenyans displaced by post-election violence have returned home, the AP reports. Africa Inland Mission has established a Kenya Crisis Fund to help rebuild churches and pastors’ homes and provide for other material needs, in partnership with the Africa Inland Church.Pastor Steve Munyambu, youth minister at the Africa Inland Church, has moved back to the Kibera slums of Nairobi. There, people he knew torched his previous home just minutes after the announcement of the disputed election results on December 27.“We knew each other by name. These were young people I had worked with in rehab programs. These were young people I had worked with in tutorial classes. These were young people I had mentored for a long time,” he said. “I didn’t see it coming, so I was hurt.”The neighbors helped him put out the fire resulting from the first petrol bomb, but three more petrol bombs followed, Munyambu said. “After the fourth one, we had to say, ‘Lord, You’ve seen our struggle. There is nothing more we can do.’”Although he has struggled with emotions of bitterness and revenge, Munyambu is committed to forgiving the arsonists. He has seen them and talked to them many times since he volunteered for the Red Cross and they came to his food distribution line.“God has His own way of programming,” he says. “Instead of them going to the different line, God brought them to my line. Again and again, we saw each other—face to face.”Pastor Munyambu is not running away from the people who hurt him. He is deliberately moving back to the same neighborhood.“How can we forgive these people if we don’t see them face to face?” he asks. “For me, it’s easy to say I’ve forgiven you, because I don’t see you. But immediately, when I see you, something grips within my spirit—bitterness, rage and revenge come back.”Three weeks after his house was burned, Pastor Munyambu preached at a service attended by people from different tribes. At the end of the service, he offered to wash their feet - no matter what tribe they were from.
Pray for peace, repentance, and reconciliation in Kenya.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable victims of violence to forgive the perpetrators.
Pray that those who are Christians in name only would be convicted by the Holy Spirit.
As in the days of Noah....

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