I can’t tell this story yet. I awaken during the night with fear and hope jumbled together. I am hopeful because I received a call from Samuel last evening. The internet isn’t working, so I didn’t receive his email earlier telling me that he planned to call me. It was shortly after Shelley called me. His tone was joyful, hopeful, but subdued. He is in Nakuru continuing his studies. He is grateful but he has bad news. A Pokot was killed yesterday by a Turkana, he says. The community is very unstable. The police have been involved. They are trying to keep tensions at a minimum, but it is not easy. The village is called Kapedo. It is the place where we will be traveling. I am fearful that this whole thing may implode. I don’t want to tell Shelley about it, so I haven’t. I am concerned about the young man that is to come with us, Craig. I don’t want to put him in harm’s way. I need to think about this carefully, and I feel this is a matter of prayer.
There is a chance that this whole thing will fall apart, that we will need to pull out, that we can’t accomplish anything because the community is at each others’ throats and any investment will be wasted because of lack of peace. I have to face that fact, and I have done so. I am ok with that. We can go in another direction with this. There is also the possibility that something unbelievable might happen, more profound than I have imagined. What if we could bring peace to this community? What if we could be the means for change. What if life could be so profoundly different for these people, and we might be the means for nudging life in a different direction for these people.
I don’t want to be naive. I just don’t want to close the door. I’m not ready to do that. It is possible that God will do something more than we have imagined. It is possible that this is what this trip is about. So I have to give Him the chance. I don’t know exactly what that means. But I don’t’ need to right now. I just need to be willing to go. I am committed to make this a matter of prayer every day, and every night when I am awakened, this is the issue on my mind. I will listen. I will be willing to be an instrument of peace.
The thing that I am realizing is that I am dealing with an expectation that is more than human. I can’t do this on my own and expect to accomplish anything. I would, humanly speaking, fall flat. This is my realistic fear. So I am praying a different prayer. More than “God I am praying for the peace of the Pokots and the Turkanas, and that your name will be glorified here.” There is that prayer. But there is also this other prayer. Something like, “God, I am dead meat unless you go with me. So I am asking, could you prepare the way for peace? Could you go before us, and go with us? I’m willing to go, because I sense there is no hope for peace unless you are the one who is changing hearts, doing what you alone can do. But you have called us to be instruments of your peace. It’s just that there is no way I’m going without You. So, if You could carve out time from Your schedule, I’m ready to go. If not, I think I will go on a safari.” It’s probably just as dangerous to go on safari alone, but I comfort myself that somehow I would be safer.
We’ll see what the next few days bring. My plan at this point is to keep our options open. Worst case scenario, we meet with Samuel and Steven in Nairobi, prayerfully consider our options, discuss what our plans should be, and if it is too unstable, we will bail out. We can take some time and plan with Samuel and Steven, perhaps visit Jacob Beles (Samuel and Steven are the two nursing students we will sponsor- Samuel is already enrolled, Steven will start next year when we have funding. Jacob Beles is the pastor we met in 1996 who has been working with the Pokots until this year when he retired.) go to Nakuru and visit the seed company that specializes in seeds that would be appropriate for the area. We can accomplish a few things, but it’s not what I would like. I would rather go there and meet with these two tribes and talk about peace. I would rather talk about the future of their families. I would rather dream with them about their children attending school, having a future, having enough food, enough water, basic health care, living in peace with each other, a different life. I don’t know if I can make it work, but I’m not afraid. Well, ok, I’m sometimes scared, but I’m not paralyzed by it. I’d rather take my chances with the forces of good in this world than sit on the sidelines and hope that it is safe. A world without taking chances, a world where good men and women stay home because there are bad men and women outside is not a safer world. It is a world of fear and hopelessness. I cannot hope for my children to be free from this fear unless I make a world where my neighbor’s children are free as well. My fear is that I would run ahead, go charging in where I don’t belong and wreck the whole process. This feels really fragile, a process of great wisdom. Something outside of myself. Something supernatural. Something I would like to experience.