The Attack: The Death of Big Whitey

May 5, 2012 by Steve Peifer

They came after midnight. There were seven of them, and they attacked two of our guards. They snuck up behind the first guard and hit him so hard that he was knocked unconscious and was treated for a concussion. The second guard saw them and tried to fight them. They overpowered him and beat him until they broke his leg and then they tied up both guards.

Because other computer centers had been broken into, we had reinforced all the doors. It didn’t matter; seven men can do considerable damage to any door; reinforced or not. All computers are now locked in a safe, and that took more time for them to break into, but they managed to break it and steal all the computers at the Longonot School.

It was our fifth center that has been broken into, and we had done everything “the right way”. I didn’t know what to do anymore. I asked the man who used to be in charge of security here at RVA, and he told me that a Kenyan had once told him, “You have the fence and the guards and you think that makes you safe, but it is the community that keeps you safe.”

Computer center to left, school to right.

That started me on a journey that has resulted in lots of change.

After I had been in Kenya for a few years, I had the idea for a solar computer center.

Computer center to left, school to right.

I met with some Kenyans, but it was pretty much a one person show. I had computer teachers and I had someone who bought and delivered the food, but it was my show. When we had meetings, we had opening and closing prayer, but mostly the purpose was to get lots of information shared in as quick of a time as I could, because I approached this as a manager, and I had lots and lots of stuff to manage.

It has taken way too long for me to come to the end of myself, and finally stop fooling myself and realize that I don’t have a clue as to what I am doing. It took longer to not be embarrassed by it, and longer still to finally rejoice when my only option was the Lord.

So today we had a meeting with all the computer teachers and I looked at them and said, “I am ashamed that I have not sought your counsel. I am so sorry that this is the first time we have met to seek the Lord together. I came into this country like Big Whitey coming to the rescue, and thinking that I had all the answers. I am telling you today that I am sorry I was so arrogant, and that I do not have any answers. But I believe that Jesus has answers for us if we will seek Him together.”

It was a wonderful discussion, with lots of good ideas from teachers who are passionate about what they are doing and who want to continue to help these children. One take-away is that we are scheduling a meeting with the chief (similar to the mayor of a small town) at every school and asking him for help on how to protect the 12 centers we have left. We are going to improve the locks, and the procedures that the guards follow.

Then we prayed. It was powerful. They proclaimed that we could do all the protection we wanted, but if God wasn’t our protector, there was no hope. They beseeched Him to help us and protect us. They proclaimed their love of the Lord and their trust in Him.

I didn’t pray out loud. I agreed with what I heard, asked the Lord to forgive me, and thanked Him for all He had done. It was as powerful a prayer time as I have ever had. Desperate times will do that to you.

Afterwards, I felt like I had two words for them.

The Longonot School had one of our best teachers. Usually when a center is broken into, I am forced to release the teacher, because I don’t have the monies to replace the computers and I don’t have anything to for them to do. But we are going to use this chance to have John teach our teachers. He is going to give them weekly assignments, and they are going to have monthly tests to take. We are going to get better. The enemy meant this for evil, but the Lord is going to redeem this for good.

And second, Big Whitey is dead. The arrogance has been broken and we are going to proceed together. There is no food in this country; we have to buy our food from Uganda, and the price has gone through the roof. Before I would have told them how we will handle it. But you know what? I’ve never been hungry, and I don’t know how we should handle this. They’ve been hungry; I asked them what we should do. They offered a solution which I could not have come up with, but will work.

It’s taken so long to learn something I should have learned long ago, but I can stand before you grateful that He never gave up on me and continues to work with this obstinate heart. I came to Africa to teach computers, never realizing how much more He would teach me.

It is almost embarrassing to share with you the cover of our book coming out next year, because books wrap things up neatly and life isn’t always nice and tidy, but if you read it when it comes out, treat it as a chapter in a long journey. He has broken us, and we can tell you, it has been so painful but it has been so worth it.

Your pal,



From Nancy

How does a 4th grade boy in Texas bless kids in Kenya?

Well, Pierce Urbanosky has figured out a way. Pierce loves to race go-carts. And he is really good. And he uses that skill and passion to bless kids 10,000 miles away from where he lives.

Though I didn’t know it before I met Pierce, there is an entire race circuit for go-carts, and there are cash prizes for the races. Pierce races his go-cart, and he often wins. After he heard about kids in Kenya that may never drive a car – even as adults – and who don’t get to eat three meals a day because their parents can’t afford the food, he took stock of what he had and made a decision. He decided to give all of his winnings to help feed lunch to Kenyan school kids.

When his mother gently probed to be sure he wanted to give all of his winnings since he had expenses like paying for his cell phone time, he responded, “Mom, don’t you think it is more important to help feed those kids than it is from me to talk on my cellphone?”

I think that verse “and a little child shall lead them” has just come to life. Thank you Pierce.