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  • Tyrel Denver

The Nigh Hindi Changed

The Christians and Muslims of Hindi had lived side by side for decades in the dusty trading center at the end of a rutted dirt road on Kenya’s coast. Most of the villagers survived through sustenance farming, living off the produce from their small plots of land. But on the night of July 5, 2014, many of the villagers’ lives were forever changed. As the villagers slept, invaders from Somalia, just 65 miles away, stole into town. They went from farm to farm, ransacking and burning homes, stealing food and even killing some of the villagers. At least 22 people were killed. Samuel Kang’ethe and his mother, Jane, now have a small business raising poultry, with assistance from VOM. It was after 10 p.m. when a group of about 50 Somali warriors reached the farm of Jane and Samuel Kang’ethe. After hearing a commotion near the road, Samuel went to investigate and was immediately shot to death. Jane, their children and grandchildren ran for the cover of some nearby bushes, but not before their oldest son, Kimani, was shot in the stomach. The family could hear the invaders looting their farm as they hid nearby, fearing for their lives, for more than 90 minutes. The next day, the family joined about 5,000 other Hindi residents at the local prison, considered the safest place in town because of the police presence. The families were too traumatized and scared to stay at their homes, and many people had lost everything. VOM and others provided immediate relief in the form of food, clothing and mattresses. Nearly everyone in the village was affected by the attacks, and healing took some time. Jane told a VOM worker that she took comfort from something she heard at a VOM-sponsored seminar. “They said Scripture says God is a husband to the widows, and do not worry about what you shall eat or drink, because God cannot leave you,” Jane said. “For the last two years, we have been getting these aids and help from brothers we didn’t know,” said John Njenga, a local pastor. While the food aid was essential for survival, ongoing counsel and encouragement have greatly helped the Christians commit to staying in the area and reaching out to their Muslim neighbors. Pastor Njenga also serves as headmaster of the local primary school, and all of the Christian students received VOM Christmas Care Packs in 2015. Like most of the children there, 10-year-old Mary Bestinah received the first Bible she’d ever owned, The Action Bible, in a Christmas Care Pack. Today, her favorite Bible story is of David and King Saul. Pastor Njenga believes that the suffering they’ve experienced has lifted the Christians to a new spiritual level. He also has noticed that Muslims in their community are more open to the gospel as a result of the incredibly damaging attacks by Muslim, Somali warriors. “We are reaching them,” he said.

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