comfort and terror – five miles apart

It was eleven o’clock on a cool Monday evening and I was climbing into bed. Between soft Egyptian cotton sheets. Under a thick comforter.  Among five plump pillows.

And five miles away, terror, panic and evil continued. Three days earlier, gunmen stormed the Westgate Mall in Nairobi and began firing their automatic weapons and tossing hand grenades into the crowds. Within the hour, images flashed across the news and we watched, horrified.


Minutes, hours and then days ticked by. Defense forces converged and battled the gunmen. The news commentators commented endlessly and repeated horrific information hour after hour. The hospitals were swamped. The number of fatalities grew.

The incongruity of that hour on Monday night was stunning. I was in a cozy, quiet room, getting into bed. At the same moment, men, women and children were either hiding, killed or held as hostages.  It was like we were on two different planets or a bizarre time warp.

And then it dawned on me. This happens every day. All around the world. Evil plays out, people suffer, death and destruction unfold. For months on end. Far more extensively than this. And a few miles away, people check their email, stop at the store for milk, and visit the dentist. They exist side by side. I had never been so close to this kind of death and destruction.  And I wasn’t really close, not by a long shot. But I had a taste.

I don’t know what to do with this.  I just know that I still have so much to learn.

7 thoughts on “comfort and terror – five miles apart

  1. Hey Dode… thanks for your note and encouragement. It’s touching to know others were thinking of us and praying. How are things with YOU?? love, Jan

  2. Jan, we are so thankful to hear that you and Phil are okay, but how we feel for those that have lost loved ones or who suffered through that horrific event! God bless you as you travel to Turkey for some R and R and spiritual food. How we enjoyed your visit here in May! We are still smiling 🙂 Praying for your safety, Marsha and Bob

  3. So glad to hear you are ok. Prayed for all our friends and waited anxiously to hear. Thanks for the news. Sorry there are so many with horrifying news.

  4. Jan, Thanks for sharing in this blog. I was thinking of you both. When events like this happen, we are nudged to pray even more specifically for you, your ministry and the many people of Kenya.

  5. Thank you for this, Jan. It feels good to read in your blog what I, too, have been pondering over here. Wish I could just sit with you and pray with you and cry with you. I’m so thankful our “family” over there is all safe. Praying for the unimaginable amount of grief so many are facing there. Love you.

  6. Hey Jan,
    Thanks for this very good perspective. It’s hard watching this from a distance, but it would be hard watching it from there as well. Miss you, friend.

  7. Jan, I’ve been praying ever since I heard the news. I am so grateful that you are safe and continue to pray for the many victims and their families. Thank God for your lovely apartment and be continually grateful for his many blessings. I work at never taking for granted my lovely home & a hot shower (a prayer prayed every day) and the freedom I have to worship my Lord. Love, Mare

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