Thanks so much for praying for us. Even though we are not directly affected with anyone in the school being killed or injured we can say that we definitely have the secondary trauma of not knowing if this is going to happen again and where. Smaller more insignificant events had been happening over the past year with grenades being thrown into night clubs and bars – places that we do not go to and hence we do not feel threatened. However, this attack has caused a lot of people to reconsider business in Nairobi and possibly even our status as a fairly large “soft” target as a school. At first you want to believe that it is a small group of people who are completely depraved and have no sense of humanity. We want to believe that now they are caught and life goes on. However, the reality is that there are many more people of similar beliefs and intentions. It is by the grace of God that not everyone is given into those types of behaviours and thoughts. There are some pretty horrific stories that continue to come out of the event. We hope that a lot of them are speculation and rumour but the organized nature of the attack really does lead us to believe a lot of what we are hearing. Terrorism goes a lot farther than we care to admit. We do believe that God is in control and sovereign but it is not easy to feel vulnerable and out of control. We are trying to continue with life as normal but there is a heightened awareness of surroundings – being in large groups of people, people running for no apparent reason, not being in one place too long, not doing predictable routes/things. We know that Satan wants these types of things to happen so we do not want to live in fear. We want to hold on the promise that is made in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
There are several students who had family members killed or affected by this event in serious ways. The students for the most part put on their “brave face” but a lot of them are processing some pretty serious questions. “What if it was my parents killed or injured?”, “What if was me while I am away from my parents?” For a child (and parent) these are pretty terrible situations to think about and be in. It may be one of the biggest fears that we, as humans, try to keep hidden. An event like this brings it to the surface and it has been a topic of conversation amongst staff and students for the past week or so. We do hope that everything that we do and say brings them closer to their parents and to God.
Please continue to pray that we do not live in fear but that we also do not put ourselves in positions that are unwise. Culturally it is very different than what Canadians/Americans would be accustom to. One of the questions that a CNN reporter asked a Kenyan official was whether or not they had received “chatter” about the attack. The Kenyan official looked a little confused at first but ended up answering that there was no information leading up to this attack. After having lived in this country long enough we had a good chuckle about this type of question since we all know that this is a typical North American question. We would be surprised if potential attacks would be thwarted because of advanced knowledge. Even if there was “chatter”, pretty much everything is in reaction without the resources and ability to be proactive. We do not know if this will happen again but we do know that God knows about these things and do pray that future events will be held back by the sovereign God.
We also know that God will use this event to bring people to Him and glorify Himself. We saw as a result of the attack everyone, it did not matter what nationality, helped each other out of that building as best they could. The pictures displayed around the world are of people who would not normally interact with each other carrying other peoples babies, providing comfort, and offering a hand of help. There are stories of people going back into the building many times to rescue people. This goes completely against what the terrorists wanted to happen. We hear from our coworkers who work with Muslims that Muslims are ashamed of the behavior of the attackers. We are praying that first they will come to know God through this but that they will also understand that the words spoken by their fellow believers make them all look the same. We are praying that God will stir in those people to see the error of the religion and the destruction of remaining silent.
There is probably so much more to say and process in the coming days. Doing our best to remember that God has us in His hands and that we are called to something much bigger than this world can offer.