St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Mandera, Kenya, is closing down in the wake of two recent al-Shabaab attacks on non-Muslims in Mandera country that has left eleven congregation members dead. Due to the escalating violence, non-locals are fleeing the county in large numbers.
In a phone conversation with Open Doors, Mr. Elijah Kinyua said his Mandera St. Andrews Anglican Church had lost nine members in the quarry massacre of December 2nd, and two had died in the attack on the Makkah Travelers Bus on November 23rd. He says most of the surviving church members have either fled Mandera altogether or have joined other non-Muslims in seeking refuge at the Kenya Defense Forces camp.
“We have closed the church. We (the church leadership) will decide later on whether or not to reopen. But for now things are not good on the ground,” he sadly reported.
The church closure comes at a time when most non-Muslim professionals are seeking transfers to other ‘safer’ areas. The exodus continues despite promised protection from the county government.
“The recent incidents have greatly affected us. As we speak, fifty health workers have left and twenty hospitals have been closed (in the county),” Mandera Governor Mr. Ali Roba told Kenyan media. Governor Roba also said 150 government school teachers have applied for urgent transfers while construction projects on roads, the country assembly building, a stadium and even the governor’s residence have stalled since non-Muslim supervisors and workers fled Mandera last week.
“Please pray for us. Please pray for the Mandera people,” asked Elijah Kinyua.
“It was heartbreaking for me to hear the raw pain in Elijah’s voice,” reported Hadassah, a local Open Doors worker. “His heart is so heavy. He is feeling deep, deep pain and loss. We imagine that this is the general feeling in Mandera for all the non-Muslims.”
Please consider writing a short encouraging e-message for pastors in Mandera. Your message, addressed to “Dear Mandera Pastor,” should be no longer than 100 words, and should not contain any inappropriate wording, make references to Open Doors, or contain other sensitive content. Please include your name and your place of residence (e.g. state, country).
Father, the spiritual battle waged in the heavens is being staged right now in Kenya, and we bring our Kenyan brothers and sisters before You for Your care and protection. Grant believers in Mandera wisdom to know when to flee and when to stay, when to fight and when to peacefully trust. Thank You for the faithful church leaders, such as Elijah, who in spite of the threats, continues to pastor and minister to Christians in the area. Lord Jesus, comfort the families who have lost loved ones; that they will experience the nearness and love of Your presence as they work through their grief. Thank You that for providing a place of refuge where believers can go, but Father, today we are praying for a quick end to hostilities; that this is only a temporary setback, and that the light of the gospel will continue to shine in this part of Kenya in years to come. In the name of Jesus, who pierces the darkness with the light of His gospel, Amen.