TWR's Kenya Partner Ministering Despite Deadly Attacks in Garissa
The danger facing TWR’s partner and other believers in Kenya was further magnified last week when militants targeted Christians while killing nearly 150 people at a university in Garissa.
TWR Kenya, based in the capital of Nairobi, about 230 miles away, maintains an FM station in Garissa and has been reaching out through programming to the university and surrounding community. In fact, the chairman of the ministry’s board runs a school and a hospital in the city.
This photo was taken at an earlier event, where TWR Kenya staff members distributed food in the town of Garissa.
“We have kept in touch with the team, and they are very shaken but well,” TWR Kenya Executive Director Bernice Gatere said of the April 2, 2015, attacks. “Indeed, our deepest prayer is that the Lord would bring something good out of this tragedy. Watching the accounts of parents who lost their children because they were Christians is heartbreaking.”
Although roughly 80 percent of Kenya’s population of 45 million is categorized as Christian, militants have reportedly singled out Christians in several high-profile massacres in recent years. Three years ago, militants struck two churches in Garissa and killed 15 people. In 2014 more than 60 were killed around the town of Mpeketoni, which is located near another TWR Kenya FM station and is home to many of the station’s listeners.
The manager of the TWR Kenya station in Garissa has been invited to give talks on media to students at the university where the raid took place.
“The local community has received our broadcasts quite well,” Gatere said. “For obvious reasons we have focused on developmental and community issues and have been slowly increasing our Bible-teaching content.”
Once, Gatere added, local leaders of another religion visited the radio station to thank the staff “for teaching good values to the youth.” One broadcast that appeared to be well-received in the community, she said, dealt with the need for healing in the aftermath of emotional and physical trauma – a subject sure to have renewed resonance in the wake of the university violence.
The recent attack reinforces TWR Kenya’s interest in establishing a satellite link that would allow programs to be beamed into the troubled area without having to place staff there. “That would go a long way in removing our very devoted and committed colleagues from the danger zone but still reach a zone where the gospel is desperately needed,” the director said.
Prayer is desperately needed as the deadly assaults in Kenya have become too familiar – prayer for the country, for the victims and their families, and for the ministry.
“This time I am overwhelmed by grief over such young lives lost and the many families whose Easter holidays have been shattered,” Gatere said.
- That God would bring healing in the hearts of Kenyan Christians and the grace to forgive.
- For protection for staff in the three locations most prone to attacks.
- For wisdom as we contemplate our way forward in Garissa.
- That the Lord would grant us more frequencies to continue preaching the love of Christ and would open the door to the satellite option if it is his will.