From Buckner :
Buckner re-opens mission trips to Kenya
By Analiz González, Buckner International
Buckner International President Ken Hall announced Feb. 29 that Buckner will resume sending volunteer mission groups to Kenya, thanks to the signing of a peace deal and stabilization in the area.
“This is a result of our U.S. missions staff listening closely to our staff in Kenya,” Hall noted. “It’s an answer to prayer that Kenyans have recognized the need for peace and that our teams will be able to be the hands of Christ to a country that needs healing.”
The decision, he said, opens the opportunity for previously scheduled church teams to send volunteers to Kenya. It will first affect summer trips planned by four churches: Valley Ranch Baptist Church in Coppell, First Baptist Church of Amarillo; Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo. and Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.
“We’ve been in constant contact over the last month with our Kenya staff and things are much more stable now,” said Randy Daniels, vice president of global initiatives at Buckner. “A peace accord was signed today and all Kenya is celebrating. They anticipate stability, continued growth. The climate has dramatically changed over the last few weeks.”
Daniels said reinstating the trips will be an encouragement to the Kenyan children and staff.
“Not going over there would be akin to not seeing your family for a year,” Daniels said. “When Kenyans see us in their country, it reassures our staff that they have our support. We are with them, walking beside them. We won’t abandon them. I mean, we weren’t going to put people at risk and they understood that in Kenya, but they will be celebrating our presence now.”
Daniels said Buckner set Feb. 28 as the deadline to make a decision because the mission groups need to plan their flights early. Early on the 28th, he received a message from Dixon Masindano, national director of Buckner ministries in Kenya, saying the peace accord was signed and that things looked positive for mission trips.
“Unfortunately, it was too late for our college interns to go because they need to start raising funds early on,” he said.
“When the turmoil started, we wanted to switch the [mission teams] to travel to another country instead,” said Victor Upton, vice president of missions resource group. “But they wanted to hold and pray about it. And it came through for them.”