Sometimes the political controversy of the week sparks little more than verbal jousting and public posturing; more like a sporting event than something that effects real people and influences important events. The recent reported statement of our President, made while consulting Congressional leadership about immigration policy, could have easily fallen into that category. Yet when we received word from those involved in our Kenyan partnership, brothers and sisters in Christ from one of those African nations reportedly denigrated, we believed a counter word needed to be spoken to our partners. Below is the letter that Pastor Kathryn and I wrote together and have sent to our partners on behalf of our church.

Pastor Steve

Dear Friends of the Kerio Valley, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We hold you in our prayers every day, lifting up the burdens of violence and injustice that you face, and celebrating with you the many triumphs of your ministry; the divine miracles worked through your churches and its members! You are an example and inspiration to us of the courage granted to the faithful through God’s strength and Christ’s Spirit. It is our privilege to be in partnership with you in mission and our joy to be in loving relationship with you through our partnership.

We write with a sense of fear and shame that you might have heard about our President’s words directed towards the nations and people of Africa. These thoughtless remarks do not speak for us or for many in our country. Through our relationship with you, we have come to love Kenya. We see the love you hold for the people and homeland that is your mission field so that it fills our hearts as well. So too do we love our own country of the United States because God has called us to spread the unconditional love of Christ here among this people and our homeland. Please know that we will continue to pray for Kenya and for all the ways in which Christ is working through you. We ask your continued prayers for us, and for the challenges faced by our nation and our ministry. We are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “…I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” Surely God will work through our prayers and bless our nations and our world with peace.

We recently received the joyous news that some of you are planning to be with us here in Appleton in April. On this cold and snowy day in Wisconsin, let us assure you that all the snow will be gone by the time you come to visit us. We will be blessed by your presence as you are blessed by the early flowers of Spring and the warming days of Eastertide. Until then, God’s peace be with you!

Yours in Christ’s love,
Rev. Dr. Stephen Savides and Rev. Kathryn Kuhn

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