It was sobering in church today as we prayed for those who are grieving in Nairobi and for those who are still being held hostage. As huge as this city is, with 6.5 million people, it seems everyone will have some sort of connection with what has happened. In our church, one of our Pastor’s brothers made it out of the Mall safely, while several other church members reported relatives or friends that made it out safely as well.
We live about 11 km, a 40-minute drive, from the Westgate Mall, which is located in a more affluent part of Nairobi. We visited the Mall on one occasion, but because of distance, we frequent malls that are much closer to our home. Jon Michael and Sarah bought their cell phones in the store where it is rumored that much violence has, and may still be, taking place. Seeing the photographs of the all the chaos yesterday has been chilling, as we reflect on the places we have been in that Mall.
The Kenyan government treats security with much importance as the Malls have security check points with armed guards inspecting cars and personnel at every entrance. Even with copious security efforts, this horrible terrorist attack occurred and appears unresolved at the time of this writing.
All six of the Halvorsons are doing well and were not anywhere near the Mall yesterday. In addition, Africa Inland Mission quickly notified us about the situation with their recall procedures, telling us to not go near the area until further notice.
We mourn with those who are mourning right now. Specifically, we mourn for Juanita, an 8th grader at Rosslyn Academy, where Jon Michael and Sarah attend school. She was injured in the attack, but is apparently recovering well after surgery. Her Father, though, was killed in the attack. The Mall is located fairly near to Rosslyn Academy, and it is reported that several Rosslyn families, who live nearby the Mall, were there at the time of the attack, but got out safely. We mourn for all those who are in pain and affected by this tragedy. The prayer of the Kenyan woman sitting next to us in church today was powerful, as you could hear the pain in her voice for those grieving and for her Nation.
Please join us in prayer as we pray for:
-A peaceful resolution to the current hostage situation.
-Peace and healing for those who have suffered great loss.
-For Jon Michael and Sarah as they go to school tomorrow and grieve with those who have been directly affected by the tragedy.
-For Lydia and Abraham as they process what happened in their new city.
-That through this evil act, the holiness, purity, and salvation of Christ would be recognized by those blinded and in darkness.
Thank you for walking through this difficult time with the people of Kenya.
~Dan and Lesli