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Kenyan man with West Michigan ties flees his home after violence
WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) A Kenyan man with ties to West Michigan has fled his home following the violence in Nairobi.
At least 67 people have died after a terrorist attack on a mall there.
The man in question is part of a prison ministry based in Grand Rapids, the director there tells Newschannel 3 that theyve dealt with some pretty tense situations in other countries before, but never a massacre like this.
Sandra Raak works for the Crossroads Bible Institute in Grand Rapids. She was on her way to work when she heard the news from Kenya.
I instantly start thinking, we have Pastor Jefferson Gathu in Kenya, said Raak, I hope hes ok.
Upon arriving at work, Raak immediately emailed the pastor to see if he was okay.
Hours later, I think it was around noon, he mentioned that he was running away with his family, said Raak, escaping from Nairobi.
In an email to Raak, the pastor wrote, My family is safe and secure, but goes on to say, one of our partners . . . lost his two kids in the massacre and another partners cousin was held hostage until now.
I could tell from what he was saying in the email that he was a bit scared, said Raak. You know he usually writes these lengthy emails and likes to elaborate and things, but that first email that he sent was three lines at the most and that was it.
Raak says the pastor told her he was just three miles from the gunfire and explosions at the mall that left at least 67 people dead.
I wish I could be there and I wish I could help them because I know they have lots of needs, said Raak.
While the pastor and his family are ok, Raak says theyre not sure when they will return to Nairobi. In his email he writes please remember us in prayers.
Crossroads Bible Institute has campuses in 19 countries across six continents and hopes Pastor Jefferson will be able to return to the one in Kenya soon.