We were welcomed to the Yearly Meeting by the Presiding clerk Bro. Zablon Onyango. In attendance from the yearly meeting office were the Vice Presiding clerk, the General Secretary and the Treasurer. The Presiding clerk opened the meeting with a word of prayer. We got a word of encouragement from the book of John 15:5 by the assistant General Superintendent.
Vihiga Yearly Meeting has 110 Village Meetings, 44 Monthly Meetings and 20 Quarterly Meetings.
Query 1: How has global change affected our communities and ourselves?
There is tremendous global change in our Young people as a result of media information technology and mixture of culture. We are experiencing loss of respect to adults from young people.
Global change has brought about death of local languages. People are not effective in any one language. Our knowledge of understanding has gone down. Due to the change in food we are using, it has brought about diseases. Our food is no longer natural.
We also have so many religions that have come up to compete with the original major churches. This has greatly affected our believes. Some of the new religious churches are just there for commercial purposes.
There is disappearance of crops and plants we used to see. Many indigenous tree species are also disappearing. There is an increase in population and our rivers are drying up. Shrubs which had high herbal medicinal values are no more. The global change has also affected our wildlife.
Use of mobile phone has however made communication to be very easy. Mechanization on the other hand has brought about labour problems.
Socially we are now allowed to intermarry with people from the other areas. The change in the set of Quakers staying in camps has negatively affected us and our children. Our morals have really degraded. On most occasions you will hear people say “Vana va vafriends vakhumalili malwa” meaning “The children of the Quakers have finished for us all the alcohol”.
Query 2: What actions have we taken in response to global change as experienced in our area, to express our responsibilities towards all creation? In what ways have my own activities or those of my community contributed to positive or adverse local and global change?
We are planting trees where there are no trees. We encourage use of organic manure to improve on food production. Through terracing we are controlling soil erosion. To improve on food security we practice crop rotation and zero grazing. We have also embraced on teaching our children our native language to maintain our cultural values.
To control on population growth we are teaching our young people aspects of natural family planning (spacing). We are planting indigenous trees in plenty and doing away with eucalyptus trees to conserve our water sources.
We have faulted as Christians by not bringing up our children in a Christian way. We do not have good parent-child relationship. The global change has made people to become very individualistic. Initially, all children belonged to the society. We are no longer allowed to correct the children of our neighbours.
Continuous use of fertilizers has contaminated our water. We also have people who do not have pit latrines. We contaminate our water by washing and bathing in rivers.
Query 3: How do changes around us affect our relationship with God? How does my relationship with God affect my responses o changes around us? What role does faith have in my life and in the life of my community? In what ways do I and my Friends church or meeting community bear witness to our testimonies in our daily lives?
The church is tearing apart because there is no unity. People are working on levels of clanism and tribalism.
We are also giving poorly to God. We should note that everything we have belongs to God.
We have faith but we are not putting it into action. Due to change in lifestyle we have changed the way we worship God by failing to observe the Sabbath day. When we are blessed abundantly by God we tend to forget to serve Him. We only remember God when we have problems.
As a Christian, I may be willing to respond to the global change positively but the problems facing us are enormous. Our income is far less than what we spent.
As a chosen people of God we value Honesty, truth and integrity. We should be a good example to the world.
Query 4: What stories or experiences from past catastrophic happenings – perhaps from Scripture, perhaps from the record of local or regional events – might inspire us to respond to the changes the world is facing today?
In the year 1991 we had a local District Commissioner who was posted in our District. The new District Commissioner in liaison with the forest department officials started illegally harvesting trees that we planted on Maragoli Hills.
All the trees were harvested leaving the hills a bare rock. To date there are no trees on that Hill. We have submitted a picture of the Maragoli Hill.
Query 5: How can we bear witness to the abundance God offers us testify to the world about ways in which justice, compassion, and peace may address significant disruptions, stress, and tensions?
The greatest gift God has given us is peace. We should understand to solve issues amicably. We should share our blessings with the others. We feed, cloth and provide shelter to the orphans. It is worth to note that whenever we give, we are blessed abundantly.
Query 6: How can we support one another in rekindling our love and respect for God’s Creation in such a way that we are messengers of the transforming power of love and hope?
- We should believe and pray to God.
- We should practice what we say.
- We should humble before God.
- We should be patient with one another.
- We should carry other peoples burden “being good Samaritans”.
- We should have a vision for our church.
- We need to seek for wisdom from God.