Boaz serves through the Kingdom of Peace and Development (KOPAD) organization promoting ministries of evangelism, discipleship and peace and conflict transformation. KOPAD’s foundation for this ministry is based on Ephesians 2:14: “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” (NLT) Boaz has been engaged in peacebuilding activities for over a decade. He provides conflict transformation training, mediation and reconciliation among the rural communities throughout east Kenya along the border of western Uganda. He also works in ministries of evangelism, church planting and discipleship with new believers.
He writes – I am thrilled to extend my deepest and heartfelt thanks to the IM family, donors and friends for your passion and great support for peace and justice around the world. You are doing tremendous work for peace in my country, Kenya, and I want to assure you that you are not only a peace maker but a child of God (Matthew 5:9): “Blessed are the Peace Makers for they shall be called children of God.”
I was invited by the “Peace, Rehabilitation, and Reconciliation Initiatives” organization (“PRARI”) to lead a Training Conflict Transformation for Trainers (TCTT) event from August 14 – 18, 2019. This event brought together a diverse group of peace stakeholders (who come from different places throughout the city slums in Nairobi) to experience practical, participatory, creative, and meaningful learning together about how to create a culture of peace.
This was my first-time facilitating sessions that included a diverse religious group of Muslims and Christians. We had honest, open conversations where we discussed the root causes of conflict. We built trust and developed a shared mission that allowed us to build better relationships and friendships. This results in a more cohesive society.
The participants were intensely engaged in the activities; we had open sessions that created a welcoming and safe environment for transformative learning. This learning nurtured the formation of strong and caring relationships that will sustain the spirit of peace making towards the next generation. The participants were also equipped with tools to tackle the root causes of conflict and resolve differences through dialogue, active nonviolence, art, and religious traditions. This creates synergy which transforms broken, oppressive relationships into liberating, just, and respectful ones. These participants are now part of the critical mass of TCTT peacemakers’ family, who have committed themselves to champion peace through to the next generation.
One of our participants from the Muslim community said, “I have understood that if you have no peace within yourself, you can’t make peace. It is good to acknowledge and appreciate others for what and how they are, without requiring them to change as I want.”
It is clear that accepting others’ identity creates a WIN/WIN among religious groups; we want to embrace a diverse society. This is something I have to remind myself about, and also challenge you: we have to go beyond judgment, begin to make peace and care for others around the world. Your peace, our peace, and their peace are our responsibility. Peace is a collective responsibility and that is why I invite you to join me in this ministry!
Amani Yetu ni Wajibu Wetu (Our Peace is our Responsibility)