Kwaheri Friend

April 30, 2013934873_10151378343056120_421905329_n

On Thursday, April 25, our dear friend and our field director of Kenya Matters completed his life’s work. The funeral for Elijah Wachira will take place in Karai, Kenya, on May 1. Writing about a dear friend who has passed is more than a difficult task. My first attempt read like a well written obituary, but that was not what I wanted to share about Elijah. So here is a second attempt.

Overwhelmed with grief for the loss of this dear friend and visionary, we as the leaders of Kenya Matters will never fully express how difficult this is for us. Indeed, we really sense that a friend and brother has left us. He has also left us with a project to continue, and to that end we will move forward believing that this vision of Elijah Wachira has been deeply good for the community of Karai, Kenya.

For a bit of background, Elijah began feeling pains in his back in late December. In early January he entered a Nairobi hospital for testing. After many tests and a handful of treatments, it was determined that he had a form of bone marrow cancer. We were not fully aware of his condition until early March. In addition to his cancer diagnosis and the treatments that ensued, his heart was strained and complications developed.

After a discussion with Ben Wachira, Elijah’s son in early April, I decided to take a quick trip to Kenya. After spending a week with Elijah and his amazing wife Dorcas, along with our staff and board in Kenya, I returned back to the States believing that the project was in good hands. Elijah has built much competency and leadership into his staff, and our Kenyan board is capable.

The community of Karai, Kenya has been and is being transformed with Elijah’s vision of caring for orphan children, reaching out to elderly widows, and digging a well that now supplies water to an entire community. Jason Anderson, one of the founding visionaries of Kenya Matters here in the States, game me the following words with the hope that I would convey his message to Elijah during my visit:

“Please pass to both Elijah and Dorcas my sentiment of thanks for their friendship in both a past and present way.  Please convey to Elijah my sense that we have done a good work, and that the vision he carried has come to pass.  The future is all sugar in the tea, just the potential to become more sweet, but the fellowship has already been shared and born good fruit.”

With these words, I ask for your prayers. We hope for the future – for more meetings of Westerners and Kenyans over tea and the breaking of bread over a meal around a table in Karai.  Lives in this community have been changed. Orphan children now have hope for a future beyond empty bellies and unquenched thirst. Lives of those who have traveled to Karai along with those of you who have heard these stories have also been transformed.

We realize that caring for one another regardless of location is of the highest calling for humanity. The words of Jesus to care for the poor, to care for the most marginalized of children to come sit on our laps and invite them to feasts of food, education, and transformation are exactly what we as humans are called to do and be.

When we follow Jesus with complete abandon, we become people who have much to offer this often hurting world. We help fill lives with joy, with goodness and with kindness. Justice and mercy still win the day when we chase after the kinds of vision Elijah instilled in us.

Again I ask you to please hold in prayer the Wachira family, the orphan children who have lost their ‘dad,’ and those of us who knew Elijah as friend. We trust that we can continue to be voices of hope even in this difficult time.

Grace & Peace,
Randy Buist
Board President, Kenya Matters

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