It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog about a tragedy in Kenya.  A message to our congregants came from the Bishop of my church yesterday, much of which is copied below.

Early in the morning of July 8th a fire broke out at Holy Cross Prayer Community (the mission house in Lanet Umoja), which is the home of Fr. Thomas Mugi, the head teacher of Lanet Umoja Primary School.  The residences attached to the church experienced a bad fire and most devastating of all, a young five-year-old girl, Jane Peter, was killed in the fire.  Jane was the granddaughter of Joseph Ounde, one of the church elders, and the daughter of two members of the Holy Cross Community.  Fr. Thomas and his family were away in Nairobi and Fr. Thomas’ sister-in-law was staying at the residence (pictured above) with the young girl who was visiting for the night.

Our hearts grieve for them and for the loss of precious little Jane.  At this time there is an ongoing investigation into the cause of the fire.  There is some speculation that it possibly was an electrical fire since there were some power outages and surges in the area early that morning.  The residences attached to the church are badly burnt.  The church hall has some damage but apparently is still somewhat structurally sound.  Church authorities are still trying to determine the extent of the damage at this time.   Here is a link to a news source about the fire, although I will warn you that it contains some misinformation about the child who lost her life during the fire:

You may ask: “What can I do?”

Right now you can:

1.      Pray for the family of Jane Peter.

2.      Pray for the family of Fr. Thomas and all the members that were present during this horrific event.

3.      Pray for the entire Holy Cross Community.

4.      Pray for wisdom for the authorities to discern how best to help the Holy Cross Prayer Community move forward.

A “Go Fund Me” website has been set up for anyone who would like to help financially. Please feel free to forward this information to others in your circle of influence who may be compelled to help also. The first website is a memorial fund for the little girl who passed away in the fire. The second website is for the rebuilding of the church.

Thank you for your prayers and your generosity in the midst of this tragedy.

With hands lifted high,