Grieving with Kenya

As I was thinking about what to write on this blog today, everything seemed insignificant is comparison to what has been unfolding in Kenya since Saturday afternoon.
As I’m sure most of you have heard, terrorists from Al-Shabab stormed into Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi and began throwing grenades and firing automatic weapons indiscriminately.  Many people were killed, hundreds injured, and hundreds more deeply traumatized, including so many children who were in the mall with their parents.  The ordeal continued for more than 60 hours as the Kenyan special forces gradually took control of the mall, freeing people still trapped inside and cornering the terrorists.  As of this morning, the official news was that the ordeal was over, but there are still police and special forces combing through the mall, searching for more terrorists and survivors who may be hiding in shops.
We are grateful that none of our family, friends, or MCC colleagues were at Westgate during this attack, but this tragedy has still hit so close to home for us.
I have no words of wisdom or thought provoking reflections to share, just heartfelt sympathy and grief for all the families affected, those who have lost loved ones, those who have been injured, and those who have been left traumatized.
And in the midst of the terror, there are stories of hope that rise as well – of Kenyans pulling together as one people to offer love and support to the victims.
One story in particular has touched me – at one point, the terrorists were asking people to recite the Shahada (the Muslim confession of faith).  If a person didn’t know it, they were killed.  A Muslim man helped a Christian man learn and memorize that Shahada, which ultimately saved the life of the Christian man.
My prayer is that when faced with evil in this world, we, like the Muslim man, can learn how to respond with love and compassion for all.  And that we can respond in faith and not fear, confident in the eternal hope and security that we have through Jesus Christ.

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