Prudence For The Fishermen

November 29, 2021

Reflections and a Call for Hope and Action

By Rev. Dr. Pete Odera

Rev. Dr. Pete has founded, co-founded, and currently leads several organizations and ministries in the greater Nairobi area. The Waterbrook Church, Ixos Synergies, co-founded the Kisima Awards (Kenya’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards), and co-founded the Wakenya Pamoj Foundation to name a few. He mentors several CEO’s, church ministers, and leaders who range from members of the judiciary to musicians. Pete’s wife, Christine, is a graduate of our pioneering all women’s Entrepreneur Class in 2018. The two of them along with their family continue to be strong supporters of our work at Sinapis. >> Learn more at his website

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Proverbs 22:3

My ancestral home is near a small fishing village by Lake Victoria, the largest fresh-water lake in Africa. There are hundreds like it dotting the beaches of this beautiful lake that our people called Nam Lolwe by the colonialists, named after their queen. The people mainly fish, grow some subsistence crops by the fertile shores of the lake, and live a semi-pastoralist life.

Elections in Kenya, as in many sub-saharan countries, are usually hotly contested and often result in some form of violence. Every election year in my memory, without fail, Kenyans go through the same ritual. The severity varies each election, but it’s the same cycle every five years. And every five years, this cycle disrupts the economy of Kenya. The violence shuts down the economy, which only sputters back to life after several weeks, months, and in some extreme cases, years after the elections. I know of businesses that shut down completely after the 2007/2008 elections that also left over 1,000 people dead and untold injuries and losses.

The last two years have been destabilizing because of the global pandemic to say the least. There isn’t a nation on the planet that it has not affected and some countries have to grapple with the effects of it more than others. This double spectre has been looming in the background of Kenya’s landscape. Rather than sit and wait for the inevitable, the challenge for the Sinapis community is to posture ourselves to respond appropriately.

The right Christian response is to be our brothers’ keeper, and to be prudent and wise with the resources available to us. Some of our churches had to dig into their resources to support congregants who had lost their livelihoods. This was an incredible opportunity to innovate and improvise on our networks and relationships.

We have an opportunity as leaders in the community to show the way in mitigating the impact these crises have on our economy and social stratum. We can lead the way in building reserves for resources that will be needed. This can be as simple as helping develop food banks to offering training for planning and building resilience in the following year and beyond. Organizations with the vision and capacity can also find ways of direct funding for projects or programs that would fill the gap. I see this looming time as an opportunity for impact rather than gloom.

The Church is a natural hub in much of our nation’s fabric. I see this as an opportunity to be a light to the community and a resource centre for those who will look for direction and hope. In this way, the Church and the partnerships with organizations like Sinapis can be an oasis for others. We can then sustain rather than deplete the ecosystems that hold businesses together. Businesses that have found innovative solutions during the pandemic can lend their expertise and knowledge to others because there is a place they can go for resources.

I see opportunities for evangelism as people look for hope. Growing businesses as crises bring opportunities, resource building, and Kingdom building. Finally, we may be able to influence political decisions as players in the business community. The recent political developments have lent themselves to leaning towards putting economic interests at the front of the agenda. We can posture ourselves to speak into the corridors of power through our networks to have outcomes that preserve peace. Whereas we might not have the ability to control political outcomes, we can mitigate the trouble these upheavals bring.

We can make life more bearable for those businesses in the fishing village by the lake that are thrown into turmoil when supply lines are disrupted by supporting and developing resilience in the Kingdom businesses involved in supplies and trade in consumer goods.

We can look at the verse in the book of Proverbs 22:3 - A prudent man sees trouble afar and hides himself and literally applies it to our situation. Having seen the portend of potential political turmoil, we can develop ideas, concepts, and structures to help our businesses become salt and light in this season.

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