This summer, Peter and I had the great joy to meet Eden and Jim Grace, who are field staff for FUM, serving in Kenya--in a hospital and at offices in the city of Kisumu, where levels of violence have been severe.
It's not that peace or the people of Kenya are more important because I happen to know and care very much about one small family working in that part of the world. But the terrible nature of the violence is so much clearer to me because I am afraid, personally, for people I know (at least a little bit) personally.
There is not enough goodness--plain, unpretentious, open-hearted kindness--in the world. I found it in Eden and Jim. I wish it were possible to tell them to you as a story, to make real for you how funny Eden is, or how she and Jim fit together like pieces of a puzzle... How good they both are at listening, or how good it was to talk about ordinary stuff (kids coming up on adolescence, parenting, books).
I wish I'd had more time with them this summer, so they could have made more stories for me, of the men and women and children of Kenya they spend their days with, so they would be more real to me, too. But my heart is invested and awake to Kenya because of the connection we did make. And perhaps my words to you may wake some connnection for you, too.
Gentle reader, whether Pagan or Quaker or both, may I request you light a candle, say a prayer, and/or hold in the Light the Graces and the Kenyans (Quaker and non-Quaker alike) they love so well?
This prayer request is from John Muhanji, head of FUM's African Ministries Office, who writes that at least as of yesterday, the Graces, their colleagues the Richmonds, and he are safe.
The country Kenya is now in chaos now and many people are dying and properties destroyed as a reaction to the announcement of the results. We are appealing for prayers that calmness may come to our country.
Peace and unity may prevail in our country. We are all safe wherever we are. Pray for Kenya!! Pray for Kenya!!!
The request comes to us via among Friends, courtesy of Carol; this is the blog I'll be checking with for updates. More information on Eden and Jim Grace and their colleagues can be found at the FUM International Field Staff page, where I found the picture of the Graces and their sons.
Carol suggests the blog Kenyan Pundit for further information, though the author's latest post is about her decision to leave the country; if her resolution holds, then it is mostly background information that will be available there. (Though what I've read thus far is excellent, and there are many links to additional Kenyan blogs.)
As for me, I'm printing up a picture of the Graces, and lighting a candle for peace and safety, for them and for the people of Kenya. In my heart and in my cauldron, I'll keep a prayer going.
Keep me company?
UPDATE: Friends United Meeting has posted an update on the situation of their staff, who are all safe at the moment.