Trouble in Kibera

Trouble in Kibera
Art work by Jeremiah Briggs

 For us, some of the most difficult situations to deal with is the treachery and deception from those you have poured life and resources into. Yet, we have come to realize that this is a common problem when you’re involved in discipling people. Over the eleven years we have lived and ministered here in Kenya, this malady has been a common occurrence. It can be heart-breaking and bring an onslaught of discouraging ‘fiery darts’ from our ever-present, ever relentless adversary. 

Though it is nothing new and well documented in the Scriptures concerning false brothers it still deeply disturbing. Even our Lord Jesus suffered betrayal from a close disciple He was training for leadership, that being Judas Iscariot. Doubts from Thomas (Joh.20:25), denials from Peter (Joh. 18:25), betrayal from Judas (Matt. 10:4, 26:47, Mark 3:19), and many times it centers around the desire for money, which is most definitely the root of all evil. (Matt. 26:15). 

Paul the apostle had his ‘Alexander the Coppersmiths’ (2Tim.4:14), and disciple Mark deserted him when he really needed him. Acts 15:38. We suspect Paul was disappointed by many more of those kind of men throughout his ministry. Men who knew him, in some cases believed his message, and even followed him. (2Tim.1:15).

So we too have had our severe disappointments and will continue to have them. A man we had poured so much into to building up his ministry and his family has tried to scam us! We had asked this man to gather legal information (documents) so we could authenticate and purchase (a long term rental) of some property from the government for the construction of a small gathering place. 

It was supposed to be lease in a 20 to 30 year contract from the government.  A week later we were sent what was supposed to be a legal document from the government, written by the Chief of that area. When we received the document it appeared to lack official clarity. No signatures, no official stamp etc., so we went to find out if the ‘brother’  had been scammed by the chief of the area. We had no idea this leader’s reaction would be so shocking and violent. 

Our two brothers traveled to Kibera and asked him if the document was an authentic document. Immediately this man flew into a rage and began to accusing  the brothers calling him a thug and  began to verbally attack them shouting  … “You don’t know who I am … here in Kibera! I can call many men to come and burn your car.” They were driving my car. Understand Kibera is a very dangerous place. Then our  brothers Njeroge and Robert felt their lives were being threatened and decided to leave Kibera. 

When they returned to the airbnb we were staying in they were visibly shaken. I decided to call this man and confront him.  When I contacted him and told him what I had heard, he … very angrily shouted over the phone …”Do you believe them? They are lying!” My reply was quick and decisive … I have known these men for years and they never have once ever lied to me, so yes I do”. He then started shouting over the phone … “you and  your church are evil … I have wasted my time with you!’. Not more than three hours previous (before the brothers confronted him he had text me saying … “how are you daddy.? … we are so glad you’re in Nairobi … you can visit us.” He’s now online spewing his hatred texting people that met him through us. 

So … the question might arise … why am I telling you, our friends, family and partners about this? Because we are in a real war. A war that Amy Carmichael, missionary to India a hundred years ago. She knew in detail the horrors of this war. Here are her words …

The measure of the enemy’s activity is in direct proportion to the measure of God’s working. We take it as a sign of encouragement, however hindering it might be. Satan would not trouble to fight if he saw nothing worth attacking; he does not seem to mind the spread of head knowledge of the doctrine or even a cordial appreciation of it. Often we hear people say how excellent the gospel is, and how they never worship idols now, but only the one true God; and even a heathen mother will make her child repeat scripture to you, and a father will tell you he tells his child bible stories; and if you are quite new to the work you might put it in a magazine and it will sound like a conversion. All this goes on most peacefully; there is not the slightest stir… till something happens to show the people that the doctrine is not just a creed… but contains living power. Then and only then will there be opposition.  Amy Carmichael 1903 from the book… “The Way Things Are” p.37

We have found her inspiring words to be painfully true. Our entire time here in Kenya has been an effort to live and demonstrate that ‘living power’ in the midst of this war. We are in a real war and the battles are intensifying. Pray for us and the people we love in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya. May the Lord God Almighty be victorious!

The artist that painted the depiction of Goliath and David was and is my best friend  and living in Heaven. He fought this good fight. Thank you … Jeremiah Briggs