This month I have officially taken over as Team Leader at Tumaini. I’m only confident in doing this as I know that the rest of the team, who have much greater experience in this context than I do, are very supportive.
We recently spent a day as a team talking over how the renewed vision being set by the AIM leadership for ‘reaching the unreached’ in Africa, might shape the future direction for Tumaini. We have more to discuss about this, and will be spending another day on this later in September. Our prayer is that we would come to clarity and agreement about how we take Tumaini forward in the months and years to come, so that we can best serve those in the front line of sharing the gospel with those who have never heard.
In October I will be going to the AIM Tanzania conference in Dar es Salaam, where I’ll be leading a session. Barbara is able to come too, so this will be our first trip outside of Kenya, and our first sight of the Indian ocean from the African coast – I was brought up in India, so have seen it from the other side. (At least one Tumaini counsellor goes to each of the AIM conferences in different regions of Africa each year, to speak and be available for counselling for those who cannot get to Nairobi.)
At the start of September we had 3 days away in a cottage north of Naivasha, about 2 hours drive from home. We were surrounded by acacia trees populated by Colobus monkeys – the big black and white hairy ones – and the most colourful birds.
On one day we drove through Nakuru National Park with a guide, and saw both black and white rhino, giraffe, zebra and buffalo aplenty, baboons, pelicans and flamingos (and a miscellany of other birds) – and the highlight was seeing a leopard high up on a rocky cliff. (The lions were hiding, though, and our guide was rather put out on our behalf, as he had seen them “just there!” that morning – so presumably they had subsequently gone off somewhere to catch lunch, rather than waiting to be seen by us!).
It was also our 41st wedding anniversary, so we treated ourselves to a meal out, which came to a grand total of £2.30 for the two of us, including chapatis and chai! (We thought we should splash out, given the occasion!) This was off the tourist track, where prices are much, much cheaper.
We’ve certainly gained confidence in exploring areas by ourselves, and our Swahili is good enough to get by if needed, though most people default to English when they see wazungu coming.
In late August, in a conversation with Joseph the gardener, we were shocked to realise that he and his family had never seen any of the wildlife for which Kenya is so famous. So we took his family to the nearby Giraffe Centre – you should have seen their faces, with their eyes popping out of their heads as they came face to face with a giraffe!
Now that term is beginning to get underway here at AIU, I (Barbara) am starting to meet new international students (i.e. Africans from outside of Kenya) and some of these are interested in improving their English. There are two of us missionaries here on campus who are running informal classes. We are working together to compile a list of potential students and then we will assess their level of English before we decide whether they would be better in an intermediate or more advanced class. I will be teaching the less advanced; though, over the summer, I have very much enjoyed tutoring a couple of more advanced students who happened to stay at the university through July and August.
In the last two weeks, I have started going to a ladies’ weekly Bible Study for internationals. It is a joy to share with women students and with wives of students as we read the Bible together. We are from Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Ethiopia and Madagascar, the USA and the UK. Everyone speaks in English, so that we can all understand one another!
Since we arrived in Kenya, we have been doing a course that helps AIM to monitor how we are getting on as missionaries here. As part of this course, called Inbound, we meet with a mentor for an afternoon once every 3 weeks or so, and we follow a programme designed by AIM, which prompts us to learn about and consider how we are adapting to our new culture, and how we can remain faithful to God in this context. In addition to the regular meetings with our mentor, we have an extensive reading list – fortunately this is a two-year programme!
- Thanks for our holiday and time for relaxation
- For God’s guidance as we seek his will for the future direction of Tumaini
- For the people who most need the English classes to come along, and for wisdom in working out the different groups of students
- For continuing learning through our Inbound course.