Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Alfred and the Thief

Our story will start with a word from Lisa...

This morning (last Sat) I was feeding my monkeys (Duke & Daisy) when I heard alot of screaming outside our gate! As I opened my gate, I saw a young african man being dragged through the street by several security officers. He was beaten and bleeding from his head! I was horrified as I witnessed a mob of Africans continue to punch & kick him then he was thrown into the back of a truck. I have heard people talk about mob justice over the past few months but never thought I would see anything like this happen so close to my home! Not knowing what this man had done to deserve such a beating, the nurse in me kicked in and I was moved with compassion for this stranger. I asked if anyone needed medical attention and a guard replied, "no madam, just stay there." With tears in my eyes, I closed our gate, locked it and went inside my house. An array of emotions went through me and I began to ask God how I can make a difference, inside the walls of my village, this place that I call my home.

Yesterday morning my phone rang @ 6:30. It was Alfred, our gardener, telling me that someone had fallen into the quarry next to our home and that he was presumed dead. I threw on my clothes and drove down there as quick as possible taking Alfred with me. We pushed through a crowd of over 100 people on the edge of the quarry and then descended down the trail leading to the bottom (about 70 feet down). After pushing through another 20 or more people we found the man, not dead but sitting up. He was in VERY bad shape after having fallen more than 70 feet. Blood was everywhere! The bone above his right hand was sticking out of the arm and the hand was at a 90 degree angle, his right leg was at a 90 degree angle obviously broken in more than one place, his right shoulder seemed separated, his head was flat and dented in about 2 inches. Blood all over his body, face and on the ground. The people that had arrived before me were not trying to help in fact they were yelling and had stones in their hands.

The story was that this guy was trying to steal metal off of the roof of someones house and they caught him. He was running away from them and had fallen into the quarry about an hour before I had arrived. The people thought he was dead and he had sat up just minutes before I arrived. Now the mob was insisting on finishing the task of stoning this man to death for his attempted crime of theft. I began yelling at everyone to put down their stones and to walk away, they refused. I then stood in front of the man and said that this man had already paid the price for this crime by falling and breaking his bones. They insisted that this man should die. I stood my ground and said they would have to throw their rocks at this "mzungu" (white dude) because I was not moving. (thinking back on this, probably not a good thing to say but....) Thankfully, they backed off and watched me. I then looked at my only friend in the crowd, Alfred, and said, "let's pick this guy up as best we can and get him to the top of the quarry and into my truck so that we can get him to a hospital".

Here is where the story really gets good!! Alfred said "NO". He then told me that this past Saturday, there were 4 thieves in our neighborhood and that he had joined in the beating of the one they had caught, the other three got away. He said, "this man is one of the guys who got away and he deserves to die." I told Alfred that no one deserved to die like this and that because we were Christians, we had no other choice than to help this man. I reminded him of the story of Jesus and the attempted stoning of the prostitute and the story about the thief on the cross next to Jesus. He then said, "okay, maybe he does not deserve to die but there is blood everywhere and I am afraid of the AIDS!" I then bent down and grabbed the guys bloody body and looked back at him and said, "okay, if this guy has the aids, then we will both be touching the same blood, will you please help me?" In the most amazing moment I have witnessed here in Kenya (and in my entire life), Alfred went against everything he knew in his culture and in his mind and he reached down and grabbed this man with me and we carried him up the long trail to the truck. The crowd did not assist, in fact many of them told us they would stone us with the thief but we kept climbing. Alfred, being a Kenyan, was the one that was taking all the risks, he was the true hero of the moment!!

By the time we arrived at the top of the quarry, Lisa was there to help us get him into the truck. People were pushing us and yelling that we could not take him but we kept pushing back, getting into the truck and drove down the trail to the road. 45 minutes later we arrived at the hospital and we turned him over to 3 doctors who began to care for him. They asked us for all the details, we gave them none, other than to say that he had fallen and that he desperately needed their help. All the way home, Alfred asked many questions and for the first time in his young Christian life, he realized the value of life in God's eyes and that God loves us all no matter what we have done. I love Alfred and his willingness to be a bigger man and to "swim against the current" no matter the consequences. I love this country that God has called me and Lisa to because there is an opportunity every minute of every day to share the love of Christ! There are so many who do not know Him both here and there in the USA, we all must do our part to share what we know to be true about Christ, to whoever we meet, whenever we can.

Thanks for all your prayers, love and support. Keep them coming!!

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