After the death of his father, and amid rising conflict within his family, Boaz Keibarak became homeless at the age of nine.
“I slept in empty maize sacks, searched for food in dumpsters, sniffed glue to cope with the pain, and got involved in stealing cattle,” he says. “Then a local Kenyan pastor reached out and shared God’s love with me. I lived with his family for the next fourteen years.”
As Boaz experienced God’s love through the pastor’s family, his desire grew to share the gospel through a ministry of peace and justice.
“The transition from home to street life that I experienced was very violent. It was painful, but healing took place after I received the message of hope in Christ Jesus,” Boaz explains. “The experience enabled me to realize that wherever there is pain, there is an opportunity for healing. Wherever there is violence and conflict, there is a door for peace.”
Today Boaz is an ordained pastor and gifted peacemaker. In 2013, he completed the Training for Conflict Transformation (TCTT) with former IM Global Consultants Dan and Sharon Buttry, after which he founded the Kingdom of Peace and Development (KOPAD) organization to continue conflict transformation training throughout the Northern Rift Valley.
There is ongoing conflict along the Kenyan border with Uganda. Groups of nomadic herdsmen compete for scarce resources in the severe, arid climate, leading to violent ethnic clashes.
Boaz is known throughout the region for his ability to mediate and transform conflict. In 2013, his mediation led to a ceasefire among Pokot and Turkana tribal leaders. He has planted four “intra-tribal” churches that focus on unity in Christ rather than tribalism.
“Rev. Keibarak is widely regarded as a key leader in conflict resolution,” says IM Area Director for Africa Karen Smith. “There is a high demand for his training and workshops, which are based on the TCTT model.” In 2019, Boaz became an international associate global servant with International Ministries.
In 2020, when so many organizations around the world shifted their communication onto Zoom, Boaz needed a different solution to reach across his vast community. “Many rural counties in Kenya don’t have good internet access due to long-term marginalization,” he says. “But eighty percent of the population in this area listens to radio broadcasts. I realized that using the radio for peace-building would be the best way to deliver a message to thousands of people.”
In 2021, Karen and Boaz successfully applied for a Palmer Grant to fund a radio program with weekly messages on how to transform conflict based on biblical principles.
“The program has been tremendously successful, far beyond that which we initially hoped,” Boaz says. “People have the place to voice their concerns and generate solutions to the situations that trigger conflict. The call-in program was particularly successful. The interactive format allowed everyone to be heard, contribute to the conversation, and ask relevant questions.”
In one key response to these radio conversations, one of the tribal groups acknowledged their part in the conflict and sought an amicable solution— sparking five other tribes to join them in a peace-building dialogue facilitated by KOPAD with support from International Ministries.
“Through Christ, God made peace between himself and us (2 Cor 5:18), and God gave us the work of bringing people into peace with him,” Boaz says. “Amani yetu ni wajibu wetu—our peace is our responsibility.”
This story originally appeared in IM’s 2022 Annual Report. You can read the entire report here.