We’re tying up the loose ends of our break between school years, and time has been slippery-quick again. If I keep in mind that these weeks are just a soft blink, an exhale, then it feels okay that we’re calling it a wrap.
Since late July, we’ve had extra time to visit students and schools in the valley. Talk slow hours with our Kijabe neighbors. Chip away at a hill of work/dorm/school projects. Write.
Todd spent the past week in Central African Republic. The kids and I did sleepovers with every stray blanket pulled to the living room, partly because I am no doubt a Super Fun Mom, and also I don’t sleep well when Todd’s gone. Put me in a room with people I need to protect and I’m somehow braver by necessity.
A few weeks back, our Kenyan friend Joseph asked Todd if we were headed anywhere fun over break. Mombasa, maybe, or the Mara—those two are common rest spots. When Todd laughed and said he was going to CAR, Joseph put a hand on Todd’s shoulder. “CAR? Are you sure you want to go there?” It was just a few words, a parcel of honest syllables, but the translation was clear: My brother, you are losing your mind.
CAR is a landslide of pain these days, bombings and executions and rogue militias exacting their own versions of justice. The capital city is a heap of burnt rubble patrolled by peacekeeping troops, blood on everyone’s hands. It’s hard to draw clear lines between victim and hero and terrorizer—everyone stands neck-deep in grief and starvation, life crumbling to dust around them.
Some of the attackers claim to be Christians, others Muslims. It makes my insides ache, but still I have to think there’s a place for the grace and redemption of Jesus here.
Todd was in Zemio, a sleepy village bordering DRC. A large group of Mbororo live there, semi-nomadic cattle herders slowly working their way east. They value family and children and everything beautiful. They are our neighbors, and I hope someday our friends.
It’s true that the violence needs to settle if we ever stand a hope of living in CAR, but more than this, people are suffering in huge, impossible ways. Please pray for the Central African Republic, for the Seleka and the Anti-Balaka and the LRA. For President Samba-Panza and the UN peacekeeping force and every unnamed refugee slipping scared between the fault lines.
It seems like too much from where I stand, but God is bigger still. Come move among us. Heal this land. Your love and peace and life and kingdom come.