Our hearts have been heavy the last couple days. Grieving and mourning with Kenya as they struggle through a terrorist attack at Westgate Mall, killing at least 62 people and injuring over 175.
Saturday afternoon we were at church preparing for kids to come to Awana. I looked at my phone and saw an alert about the Westgate Shooting- at this point the motive and shooters were not known.
Earlier that day, I had heard of two missionary families that we are friends with that live in town, they had both experienced burglary in their home the previous night, one at gun point. Another missionary family we know was trapped inside the movie theater in the mall as the attack had began. Thankfully, they were able to escape but late afternoon.
Less than one month ago, after we sent off our second team, we visited Westgate Mall, as we normally do when we are in Nairobi.
We walked up these stairs…
Lucy went on her first escalator
We safely walked around enjoying time as a family
Our family memories at this mall are now replaced with sorrow and grief as we ask God that as sin is more, may His grace be abundant- Romans 5:20
We have been glued to the TV- news updates- videos and pictures to hear or see the latest from media.
On Sunday we had a special church service dedicated to prayer and protection for our nation. It was heart wrenching to see Kenyan’s worshiping God, crying and sobbing before Him, pleading for God’s love to be shown among the distress that was all over Kenya.
Sunday evening before we went to bed- we watched the News until we were numb. We were speechless that this attack was still continuing. Because our mood was dull- we decided to spend the next 15 minutes sharing our PRAISES for the day. We like to do “high and lows” before we sleep sometimes- and especially Sunday night we saw it necessary as our hearts were very heavy.
I had looked through my day and all I could remember was the images I had seen from the attack. As I remembered the images I saw, God showed me the beauty in the unity. When we were at Westgate, we saw a lot of division through different countries and ethnicity. But in the video and images, you don’t see that.
As many of you know there have been a lot of tribalism and division in Kenya this year, especially due to the recent election in March. It’s encouraging to see different tribes helping one another, and all of Kenya coming together to support one another. Sunday night we saw Kenya’s president address Kenya, alongside two other men who ran for the president election but lost. When Fred and I saw that we were shocked! They are normally very distant from each other and that attitude is reflected in Kenyans. But as they stood side by side on national TV, we were encouraged that Kenya’s leadership, citizens and expatriates were united. And it was beautiful. In just four days Kenayn’s have raised over $625,000 for victims and families of the Westgate attack.
Despite this horrific events that are taken place in Kenya, God’s grace and love has been abundant. My prayer is the unity that He has brought to Kenya through this tragedy will continue to reign.
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalms 9:9