Yep, after a barrage of posts during the Bible Read-a-Thon, we seem to have gone silent. Catching our breath, or allowing you to catch yours, perhaps?
We will now return to several more posts on the “Like a Child” theme. Today’s is a bad example of what could be a ‘good’ child-like characteristic. That is, honesty. Brutal honesty.
Young children say things “straight”. They do not know how to cover up their true feelings. Granted, a child might lie about whether or not he ate all the cookies that were in the cookie jar in an effort to protect himself from punishment. But when it comes to more subtle matters of attitudes or opinions, a child is usually honest.
We saw very unfortunate evidence of this during our visit to Garissa last week. Christians living in that Muslim-dominated town report that little children are the most likely to bombard them with rude comments: “Muende kwenu. Hapa si kwenu” (Go home. This is not your home). Unfortunately, they also throw stones, and apparently girls are the most aggressive at that!
As bad as this is, it does tell us that children are not good at pretense. They obviously learn these attitudes from adults, but the adults try to cover up how they really feel and let children ‘speak’ for them instead.
God’s Word encourages us to “speak the truth in love.” At least children get the first part right! In a culture where people are highly likely to tell others just what they want to hear, even if it is a complete lie, that is an important admonition. A bit more child-likeness can help us all.
PART TWO: Garissa University Visit We also want to tell you about this visit. On 2 April this year, Garissa University was attacked by terrorists; the resulting massacre claimed the lives of 147 people.
No church leaders have visited the university since then, according to the reports we received. We felt it was an important step to take.
We started our tour by peering through the windows of the classroom where the Christian Union students were holding their 5 a.m. prayer meeting that fateful morning, as was their daily practice. This room was the first target of the gunmen. Broken windows, bullet holes on the walls and abandoned shoes tell the story. Twenty-three of the twenty-seven students in that room were killed; others feigned death so that the attackers would overlook them.
The university security officers showed us where the main sniper was positioned, and how the attackers lured students out of the dorms only to gun them down as they tried to escape. We went into rooms where students had been hiding, some who survived and others who did not. The imprint on the floor of a body, with a bullet hole at the position where the head was lying, was among the most disturbing images.
We learned that church leaders, the local community, Somali activists and Garissa University staff (pictured) staunchly agree on one thing: the university should re-open.
So finally, we prayed on site.We prayed that Garissa University will open again. We prayed that teachers, doctors and businessmen will not abandon this gateway, but will continue with — or return to — their lives and vocations in this dusty town. The terrorists want to instill fear. If we respond fearfully, we have already handed them their victory.