Wayland students join in prayer for Kenya

Release Date: January 30, 2008

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University students in Plainview joined WBU students in Kenya Wednesday morning in praying for peace for the violence torn country.

              Led by WBU senior Luke Loetscher, Wayland students in Plainview were joined via video conferencing by a group of students in Kenya. Two students in Kenya spoke about the things they have seen and dealt with during the time of political upheaval that has shaken the African country. As well, Kenyan students on the Plainview campus told stories of how the violence has affected them and their families.

              Purity Biwott, who just arrived on the Plainview campus from Kenya last week, told the students of what she has seen; large numbers of people left homeless, living in shelters with no food and no bed on which to sleep. She said many refugees are leaving their homes and boarding in churches in order to escape the violence.

              “I do feel like shedding tears,” she said. “I ask that you pray for Kenya.”

              Dominic Tarus, who runs for the Pioneers cross country team, told a personal story of how his cousin was literally “cut to pieces” while traveling, for no other reason than his ethnic background.

              “We pray for peace in these hard times,” he said.

              Dr. Gilbert Werema, who teaches marketing in the Division of Business on the Plainview campus, is from Kenya. He spoke to the students as well, giving them brief background information on the history of the country and how the warring political factions have come to this point. He said in 1992 Kenya went to a multi-party system of government at which time the parties began fighting for dominance. When results of the latest presidential election were announced amid controversy surrounding their legitimacy, violence broke out, resulting in the death of hundreds of Kenyans.

              “All of us are shocked,” Werema said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. Kenya was the beacon of hope in Africa. It’s almost like a dream for me. I never thought Kenya would reach this point.”

              Werema’s family back home has also been affected as his two brothers have been unable to operate their Nairobi businesses for the last two months.

              Dr. Richard Shaw, director of the WBU Kenya campus, joined the group from Kenya and pleaded with students, faculty and staff to pray for the country and for the people.

              “The most important, effective and significant act that each of you can do is pray for this country and for these people,” Shaw said.

              Loetscher also asked the group to consider donating to a Kenya refugee aid fund. He asked Dr. Shaw about the power of $1 in Kenya. Shaw said $1 can buy a tremendous amount of food. A child in Kenya can be fed for an entire day on 25 cents. As Wayland’s Student Government Association passed donation buckets through the auditorium, Dr. Shaw explained that 100 percent of the money donated through Wayland will go to purchase food, medicine, hygiene products and bedding for the displaced refugees.

              Anyone interested in donating to the Kenya fund may contact the Office of Advancement at Wayland, at 806-291-3425, or send checks to: Kenya Refugee Aid, Wayland Baptist University, 1900 W. 7th CMB 621, Plainview, TX 79072.