In August this year I’m going to be travelling to East Africa for just over two weeks, with a very small team of Christian lawyers, and law students. We will spend a week in Rwanda, where we will be training local lawyers on legal topics, continuing their professional development, and working with the Local Partner. The Local Partner provides access to local justice projects.
We will be helping the Local Partner to raise their profile but also equipping the local legal profession to be more effective, to uphold justice and integrity and to reflect on how they can practice law well. Although they are not Christians themselves, they know we come as Christians, so there will be opportunities to share our faith with them.
Our partners are Christian lawyers in the country and we will be spending some time at their projects as well, and helping to facilitate their fellowship meetings. We will have a leadership weekend in Mombasa, when we gather our partners together to build capacity for them in the charity work they are doing.
Then the following week we will be staying in Mombasa to visit a project that’s doing child maintenance work. Mombasa has quite a diverse community, including a strong Moslem community.
The charity works with women who have been abandoned by their husbands, and who are looking for provision for their children. Several years ago, the local imams were unhappy with the work we were doing because under Sharia law, these Moslem women weren’t entitled to anything. However, under Kenyan law, they are entitled to provision for their children and so they would come to us and we would help them.
Because of this the staff were getting death threats and having a tough time. But amazingly, in the past year, the head Imam in the area has been to visit the office, spoken to the staff and recognizes the value of the work that's been done. He has issued an edict across the local community that this work should be recognised and that it’s important for the children to be provided for, regardless of whether the parents are still together, which is quite remarkable.
We will also be at a conference gathering Christian lawyers from all across Africa to talk about how we can encourage them to live out their faith as lawyers. We will be thinking about the fact that God is a God of justice, that He cares about the law and the law being done well. We’ll be talking about lifestyle choices and integrity, the challenges of bribery and corruption, which are a huge issue and trying to help them work out how to recognise and deal with corruption, which isn’t easy when it is endemic. I’m excited to learn from them too, to pray and connect together. There’s something incredibly powerful about gathering people from different nations to pray in their own tongue for themselves and each other. You really get a taste of heaven.
- Mhairi Hamilton