Missionary Update: The Tates in Kenya [December 2012]

The Tate Family has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is indigenous church planting.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This month I want to do something a little different and instead of talking directly
about the ministry I want to address something that will effect the lives of every Kenyan –The upcoming Kenyan presidential elections (and so, in a very real way, I WILL be addressing ministry because this event will not only effect the lives of every Kenyan, but our lives also and the ministry that we do here). I know that we just finished a presidential election in the States. And whether you like the results or not, I’ll bet none of you reading this worried, even for one moment, about losing your life because of the election process. Well, that isn’t the case here in Kenya. The last presidential election in Kenya in 2007 resulted in mass rioting, ethnic cleansing, tribal warfare, murders, looting, and crop burning. People were targeted, profiled and killed simply for being in the wrong tribe. Others ran to churches for refuge only to lose their lives when those churches were intentionally set on fire and burned to the ground. Thousands of people lost their lives, many of whom lived in Eldoret, a city not 50 miles from where we live in Kitale. This went on for months before things finally got settled down and the rioting and killings stopped.

Why am I mentioning this? Because we have another presidential election coming up
in March, 2013 and there is already tension in the air. Nobody is certain how things will
go and so we are beseeching your prayers.

Most of you probably don’t know this but I am the warden for the United States embassy here in the Kitale region. That means that I work with the embassy to distribute information and help the American expatriates in the Kitale region try and stay safe in Kenya. So, to help me in this position I attended a meeting at the US embassy to hear what they were saying concerning the upcoming elections. They related a number of problematic scenarios that could occur over the next couple of months that I would like to relate to you so you can be praying for us, for our ministry, and for the people of Kenya.

First, a change in the registration process here in Kenya is cause for concern. The new constitution made it available for Kenyans to register and vote within whatever district they wanted. That means that if a presidential candidate thinks he has a certain district locked up, he can send followers from that district to another district that he doesn’t have locked up. The bottom line is that people from other districts, who have no links or connections to Kitale whatsoever, could be bused to Kitale to register and vote. Having people in Kitale with no links or care of this place could bring unwanted abuses.

Second, the high court of Kenya is supposed to vote soon on whether two presidential candidates can even run for president. The problem with these two guys is that they were indicted by the ICC at the Hague for stirring up the people to riot and murder after the last presidential election. These guys are guilty of mass murder and yet are trying to run for president. Depending on the high courts decision, this could cause further rioting and problems.

Last, the elections take place in the first week of March. But since there are many candidates running and since they need 50% of the popular vote to win the election, there is a potential for a run-off or even several run-offs before one candidate gets elected. This means the election process could drag on for months with lots of uncertainty and tension. The embassy’s advice has been “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Hopefully the Kenyan people have learned from the last time that they don’t want a repeat performance of the rioting and murders of 2007. But when I ask Kenyans what they think will happen this time around, only about half of them feel comfortable and think things will go smoothly. I tell you all this because, again, I desire your prayers for our family and this country. May God receive glory in Kenya even throughout this entire process.

Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.

For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, & Josiah)
P.O. Box 96
Kitale, Kenya 30200
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