6/30/2020 COVID-19 update from Pastor Christopher Sure in Kodera
Although there are no known Covid-19 cases in Kodera, the virus is still causing great hardship, because the lockdown in Kenyan cities, and the shutdown of local businesses and schools, has caused a break in the flow of funds coming back into Kodera to support families—especially the elderly.
In Pastor Christopher Sure’s words: [This is the] plight of a very vulnerable group of people in Kodera who have been adversely affected indirectly by this pandemic and are now in a very desperate situation. This is a group of old people who mostly depended on their sons, daughters or grandsons/granddaughters for all their needs and yet those they depended on have either lost their jobs or have been sent on compulsory indefinite leave without pay. Worse still, their children or grandchildren were either at work in Nairobi or in Mombasa and both of the cities are under complete lock down.
After learning this, several families from our area who have visited Kodera in past years joined with PLCC to send funds to Christopher to buy maize, sugar, salt, cooking oil, soap—and face masks. Here, you can see some of the supplies that have already been bought, and were stored in the church building for safety until they were distributed.
Here are are some of the stories we have been hearing from Christopher:
Here [is] day 2 of distribution of food to the most vulnerable. In the photos you find an old lady in her late 80s, she is lame and was wholly dependent on her grandson who has since lost his job. I attach the other photo of her and her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The one carrying the load on her head is still in her 60s. Takes care of her 3 grandchildren. She is a widow, her grandchildren are orphans. In her joy and appreciation for the gift she remarked “surely God does not forsake widows and orphans.”
4/21/2020 COVID-19 update from Kodera
The following is a letter from Pastor Christopher Sure in Kodera, Kenya, explaining the current situation there:
In all parts of Kenya, we still have the partial lock down; everyone is required to stay home except for situations that must be attended to. The city of Nairobi and the coastal region of Kenya have been on total lock down for one week now. No one can go into Nairobi and also no one can leave Nairobi to travel to any other part of the country. It’s in the same way for the coastal region. Movements with the places are allowed for very good reasons only. In the whole country, 265 have since tested positive for covid-19. 13 people have died of the same. The government has put measures such as mandatory face masks for any and every person going out of their house into some public place. Every shop and every store must have a place for washing hands. You can only walk into a store/ shop/or kiosk after washing hands. We also have curfew where everyone must be in their houses by 7:00pm.
What I see and don’t like here in Kodera is that the motorcycle riders do not seem to care especially on face masks. They always run into problems with the police for that.
At church, one old lady passed away on Wednesday. Burial will be on Tuesday. She was 85 years old and has been in hospital since October last year.
Since we don’t have church gatherings due to the pandemic, what I do on Sundays is to go to church and do some solo church service. Basically, spend time doing intercessory prayers for the members of our church and for you guys and the world.
On Sunday April 29, that being the first Sunday that we could not attend church due to the pandemic, I was in my house meditating on Ezekiel 37:1-10 and the word of the Lord came to me (this was an inner voice) and said “do you know that you are the Ezekiel of today?” As wondered about such strange strong feeling I asked what I would do and where the dry bones were. Immediately, the image of our sanctuary came to me and I saw all the empty chairs in church and realized they were the dry bones for the day. Again I asked, “where is the word of the Lord for me to prophesy to the empty chairs?” Then the Lord spoke to me saying that His Spirit is never limited or confined to a building or space. The also reminded me that at the time of creating the heavens and the earth, His Spirit hovered over the surface of the earth (Gen.1:1-2).
Immediately I got up from my seat and headed straight to church. I understood that my duty is to go to church and pray for those who would otherwise be in church but could not because of the situation. That the Spirit of the Lord will reach out to them wherever they are and bring life to them. I therefore devote my Sundays to doing a solo church service knowing that the empty chairs are the dry bones of this time and the spirit of the Lord gives life. Amen. That is my story.
Our Partnership in Kenya
Missionaries: Christopher and Florence Sure Location: Kodera Karabach, Kenya
Christopher Sure was a Kenyan high school teacher and local lay pastor when many recognized that he could be more effective with a Bible School education. In 1999, the opportunity arose to come to Issaquah, Washington to the Lutheran Bible Institute (now known as Trinity Lutheran College). Even though he was the father of 3 young children, he and his wife determined that since they had prayed for 5 years for this, he must go.
God brought Christopher into contact with Pine Lake Covenant Church and we took him on as our missionary, as well as finding funds to provide for his full college schooling. We made it possible for him to fly home each summer and Christmas in order to maintain the ministries he had begun before leaving.
Around Christmas of 1999, we sent a team to investigate the potential of initiating a mission partnership, and they returned with excitement, convinced that God had placed this community in our path for a good purpose! We undertook initiatives such as:
Taught health and hygiene principles
Funded the building of latrines at local elementary school
Developed a Certified Seed and Fertilizer Bank
Provided medical services through medical teams
Funded the construction of a 3 room clinic – St. John’s Clinic, Karabach – manned by Kenyan nurses
Funded the Pine Lake Academy – a private Christian elementary school – through Child Sponsorship
Purchased a 50’X 30’ tent for the purpose of being a Community center as well as house the Church congregation of 200 Koderans
Taught how to dream dreams and build goals for community development
While Christopher is not an elected leader in his community, he is looked at by almost everyone there as ‘their’ community leader. Up until now, he has been responsible for all the development of this community. Now, since the 2008 Conference in Nairobi with the leaders of the community, he has a group of 27 leaders on ‘the same page’ committed to helping him dream dreams for the community and help make needed changes.
Christopher and Florence have been married 20+ years and have 3 children: Vickie, Isaiah, and Angela, who is physically challenged.
Pine Lake Academy
The largest component of our partnership with Christopher is the Pine Lake Academy. PLA is a Preschool through 8th grade school located in Kodera and funded through sponsorship of students, coordinated by Pine Lake Covenant Church.