In July 2015, he was 29 years old, a new father in the physical prime of his life, and he had a solid job. He was working in the quarries near Mandera, Kenya in the country’s northeastern corner, just miles from the Somali and Ethiopian borders.
That all changed drastically on July 6. Overnight, militant Islamist terrorists from al-Shabaab attacked the quarry workers’ sleeping quarters with assault rifles and explosives. They were hunting for Christians and they murdered 14 people.
Chaos erupted around 1:00 a.m. when the attackers breached the gate to the compound with explosives and sprayed indiscriminate gunfire throughout the bedrooms.
“That fateful night will forever be on my mind. When they attacked the house, we were all sleeping. I managed to escape through the window with the intention of [seeking] protection from the landlady, who was a Muslim,” Patrick told International Christian Concern (ICC).
“Before I could enter her house I was shot in the back. I fell down on my stomach and the pain was unbearable. I could hear the Muslim landlady conversing with the assailants; she was pleading with them to stop shooting at us.”
Patrick told ICC that gunmen murdered the landlady and her unborn child at gunpoint.
According to CNN, after the attack, an al-Shabaab spokesman claimed that the assault killed “Kenyan Christians.”
The raid resembled a similar attack from December 2014 when Al-Shabaab fighters slaughtered 36 quarry workers in their sleep in Koromey, approximately seven miles from Mandera.
A Long Recovery: the Ongoing Effects of Persecution
Although Patrick survived the 2015 attack, he was left permanently disabled. Patrick and the other injured workers were evacuated by the Kenyan Red Cross and flown to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi where he was discharged after two weeks.
“I was shot at the back near the shoulder, and the bullet made two huge holes in the right side of my chest,” Patrick told ICC, “Some bullet covers got stuck in my body and I [had] a surgery to remove them. Thanks to God, I am [gradually] recovering.”
Since his operation, Patrick’s life has taken a difficult turn because he can no longer handle the physical demands of his previous work. He can now only work light jobs, which are competitive to get in the village.
“My wife left me because I could not put food on the table. Life became hard and we went for a day or two without food. She could not bear the kind of life our family was living, so she decided to go back to her maternal home together with our two-year-old baby,” Patrick told ICC.
While Patrick’s father helps him financially, he perseveres today while persecution has ripped his family apart. Though he survived the attack, his story shows how persecution creates lasting hardships and enduring tensions.
14 other families tell a tragically different tale.
The quarries in dangerous Mandera offer higher salaries than the ones near Patrick’s home of Nyeri, Kenya, so the majority of the men who died in July 2015 are Patrick’s personal friends.
While he thanks God for sparing his life, Patrick dearly misses his friends who were murdered. Their families are left without their primary breadwinners and are also struggling to survive.
Moving Forward in Faith
ICC has stepped in to try to support these suffering families in Nyeri County. Rather than having to rely on dangerous or physically demanding quarry work, we are working with two families to establish dairy cow businesses.
Thanks to God and the generous support of our donors, survivors such as Patrick can support themselves and their families by selling milk.
“The Lord is good. May my wife hear all this and come back to me. We shall have a cow for milk. This is good news to me,” Patrick told ICC.
No measure of financial success can replace a loved one lost, or restore a debilitating injury. But as the New Testament commands us as Christians to support brothers and sisters under persecution, we look forward in hope that the Lord may show Himself to be their Provider.
“I hope one day life will become good and my wife will come back to me,” Patrick said.