Thursday, November 09, 2006

Meeting with Lutheran Maasai Elders a Success in Kenya (Outside the Safari Park)

In October, I traveled to Kenya to meet with church leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK). Meeting with about 40 of the Maasai Elders was on the top of the list. The meeting took place on a plot of 60 acre plot of land the Maasai tribe gave to the ELCK to develop "Entito Rescue Center."

A key factor in battling the practice of Female Genital Cutting is to work within the culture and support the education of the children.

Historically, the Maasai culture encouraged boys to become educated and the girls were to stay behind, get married, and provide for the family. However, in order to marry, an "acceptable" Maasai girl must be "cut" to be considered mature enough for marriage and become a full member of the women of the village.

"Entito Rescue Center"

In a partnership with Friends of Mercy, ELCK, LCMS World Relief, and Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland (LEAF), the "Entito Rescue Center" will eventually be a boarding primary school for 500 female students and a rescue home for up to 200 girls who desire not to become circumcised. This will provide the educational foundation for girls to receive a liberal arts education, learn about the medical problems associated with FGC, and, learn about the Lutheran faith and the mercy and hope in Christ.

The foundation of Christian instruction will strengthen the community's understanding of creation and the gifts God gives therein. As Lutherans, we confess the ultimate gift that we have is our God who became flesh. This God, who came to earth to pay for our sins, to cleanse us and make us holy, recreate the sinner in His righteousness in baptism. This is the foundation of respecting one's own body, and loving one's neighbor.

This will be a long term project. No "one-day" miracle. It will come about by God's work through the faithful gifts of other Christians who will provide for those who do not have the funds for their own education.

The meeting with the Maasai Elders was the foundation of the future of the "Entito Rescue Center" because we heard from all levels and leadership of the community. Those who spoke at the meeting were,

  • Maasai Elders, pictured above left, with me speaking to them.
  • Local Counselor, the regionally democratically elected political leader
  • The Chief of the region, the appointed representative of the Kenyan government
  • The Lutheran Pastor, Pr. Momposhi is a Maasai pastor of the local Maasai Lutheran church.

  • Maasai Education Committee, made up of Maasai Elders, Women, ELCK church leaders, the Counselor. Two Members pictured on the right.
  • Friends of Mercy Exec. Director, I spoke about our work to raise awareness of this project among Lutherans in the U.S.
This was a GREAT start for Friends of Mercy in our work with the Maasai Tribe and showing mercy to girls who do not want to be "cut." What made this meeting so successful was the fact that all levels of leadership fully support this project.

So, now we need to move forward and develop the funds to get this project off the ground.

Please go to Friends of Mercy and give generously. Every gift received qualify for a 1-1 matching gift which will double your gift.