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November 10, 2014
This essay is part of the Vocation of Peacemaking series where we asked members and friends of the BPFNA to write brief essays on their peacemaking work. The Vocation of Peacemaking stories come from students, activists, teachers, parents, pastors, lay people, and retirees who work for peace in their jobs, their communities, their families, their volunteer time, and their neighborhoods in a wide variety of ways. Each story is a wonderful reminder that there are as many ways to live a life of peace as there are people, and that we can act for peace in real and important ways wherever we find ourselves.
We will be publishing the stories one at a time over the next several weeks and then compiling them into an Issue Monograph before the end of 2014. The monograph will be available as a free download from the BPFNA website.
Keep checking the Vocation of Peacemaking webpage for more!
My peace vocation started after the death of my biological father. Conflict erupted over my father’s wealth; the events took us a long painful way where I and my mother were discriminated against as outsiders external to the family. It was thought that the wealth of my deceased father should be inherited by his stepbrother since they belong to the same blood.
They burned our property, forcing us to migrate. I reported the matter to the elders. They intervened, but there was a lot of argument so finally I requested the elders to allow my mother to stay and let me go my own way to start a new life. I had become a threat to the family wealth, and I decided to compromise by moving out and looking for life elsewhere. I found myself in the street until rescued by a missionary with whom I lived for a long while.
When my government recruited volunteers for peace work, I attended the meeting and was elected to lead the peace volunteers called the District Peace Committee. I was suggested by one elder who gave testimony about my willingness to act for peace within my family, the way I had paved the way for peace regarding my family wealth. My call and commitment to peace work has become a blessing for me because it has given me chances to engage with different types of tribes, religion and ethnic groups within and beyond Kenya. I have created a new family through peace activities.
The 2013 Training for Conflict Transformation Trainers (2013 TCTT) by Revs. Dan and Sharon Buttry played a vital role in motivating, enhancing and empowering my skills/capacity for peace ministry. After the end of the training month of November, inter-tribal conflict erupted among communities in the northern end of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. Great loss of lives, destruction and vulnerability were witnessed. With the skills gained from the training, I was able to arrest the conflicts through a Mediation and Reconciliation Conference.
|Boaz leading a Conflict Transformation training.|
The knowledge learned in the training played a vital role by giving the two conflicting communities ways to discover their conflicts and agree on reconciliation through learning experiential methodology. They were commissioned to own peace and reconciliation activities under a theme of ”AMANI YANGU JUKUMU LANGU” which means “My Peace Is My Responsibility.” We also promoted a Peace Movement through a Prayer Walk shared by Philip Kakungulu Stargate from Uganda who was my partner in this work. The place was hostile with a strong presence of guns among civilians, but I thank Philip because he was able to resist and remained strong until the success of the programme.
My gratitude goes to Baptist Peace Fellowship of Northern America for their quick support to fund the peace work. After the training, I was so happy and viewed the peace work as easy. Surely I could use the skills and knowledge learned during 2013 TCTT! Things started to change because I had skills but no financial support. This is where I realized that peace work was not an easy task. I was almost ready to surrender especially after the churches, the government and other institutions whom I expected to support the work remained silent and selfish, leaving the conflict in crisis without action. Because of peace inheritance in my heart, I took the initiative to sell the few resources I had and fund the mediation processes. It was just then that Rev. Dan Buttry and Philipine Kidula Chepkoech intervened by introducing me to the BPFNA Gavel Fund. The Gavel Fund supported the programme that transformed the conflict into the peace that is being experienced now. Women and pastors are taking part in spearheading the reconciliation processes through monthly meetings within their programmes. Now BPFNA with my partnership has given rise to the Kingdom of Peace and Development Programme (KOPAD) that will spearhead the work. The members appointed me to be the President of KOPAD, it is a challenge to me to move from street boy to be called “President of Peace.” Success comes through togetherness.
After that successful mission, my peace work did not stop here. Instead, I traveled to Zimbabwe’s Masvingo Province for a Chief’s Training I led along with Lance Muteyo. I still acknowledge the 2013 TCTT since it opened ways for me to go a different country and widen my perspective and commitment to this peace work. The Masvingo Chief’s Training gave me a chance to gain international experience as I am expecting to go across the globe to deliver and explore all that I learned and achieve my call for peace making. The training was welcomed and appreciated by the chiefs because it brought new and effective tools to learn from their own experience to solve their intra and inter-conflicts. Asante Lance Muteyo for the great work you did to make this happen! Thanks also to BPFNA, Dan, Sharon, Murphy Kathleen and others who contributed to the success of this training. This reflects how much you owned peace in your heart. May God bless you abundantly.
Finally but not least, I want to thank you all who contributed to this success either by funding or prayers. I still call upon your partnership and support. Working with BPFNA and the Gospel Peace Initiative Group has given me a chance to widen my call and commitment not only in Kenya but across the globe and to create a new family, Kingdom of Peace and Development Programme. KOPAD will spearhead the gospel of peace and continue partnering with you forever as per the will of God for HIS GLORY. With due regard may I end by a word of “Asante Sana” (Thank you so much) to BPFNA’s members for being part of the transformation. May God Bless you us as we serve HIM.
!AMANI YANGU JUKUMU LANGU!
Boaz Keibarak was born and lives in West Pokot County in the North Rift Province of Kenya. He is the president and founder of Kingdom of Peace and Development (KOPAD) which works for reconciliation and peaceful stability among inter-tribal communities in Kenya and across Uganda and Southern Sudan. He serves as the Board Secretary of the District Peace Committee of Kenya and as the pastor of Kapenguria Baptist Rock Church.
Your donations to the BPFNA’s Gavel Memorial Peace Fund have supported his work.