We recently went to hear Handel’s Messiah – a slightly surreal experience given the African setting. But it was wonderful, with a choir of around 300 drawn from many Nairobi choirs and an audience of about one thousand. The performance itself was very good, and what made it so special was the orchestra and choir being made up of people from every continent – a foretaste of heaven, we thought! The setting also made it special – a huge circular auditorium with a reed roof. The monkey I spotted sitting on a beam was paying close attention while grooming itself; though, when we all stood for the Hallelujah chorus it became unsettled and left, and so missed the best part!
Term in full swing
You may remember that Barbara had mentioned a new Language Centre at the university. She has been busy teaching English to theology students there twice a week, and continuing to teach student wives once or twice a week. What the students’ find most useful is the opportunity for conversation in English. The Language Centre students recently did short presentations about themselves. I was fascinated to find out more about them and their home countries and how they consider learning English as essential for their education and future work as pastors and evangelists. I have also recently started one-to-one English with a Korean missionary whose English is good but it will help her work to improve it further.
The Ladies Bible study is studying Mark’s gospel and we recently read the story of Jesus stilling the storm. Do we react with fear or with faith in the storms of life? Do we trust that Jesus is with us and that we can trust Him?
I was greatly encouraged that one of the Kenyan ladies led our study recently. At the moment, I co-lead this group with Susie, a fellow missionary; it is our ultimate aim to put ourselves out of a job.
A man we respect very greatly who leads our Bible study each Sunday morning before church, Dr Samson Obwa, is retiring at the end of this month, after 49 years of teaching the Bible at a theological college in Nairobi. He recently said that he felt the Lord was calling him to visit every home that he could reach from his home village during the 5 years after he retires, to take the news of Jesus. He said “I have no money to give them, but I have something much more precious to pass on…”. He is a towering man of God, and we have been hugely blessed to spend time with him each week. We will miss him greatly, but we are sure he will be a very great blessing to the people in his home area.
We were very excited to hear recently that our church, AIC Ngong Rd, is going to spend 2016 teaching and preaching on the theme of missions. We have been praying for quite a while for the church to expand its mission work, so we are very pleased! Mark and others have been invited to attend a meeting with leaders of the church at the end of October to help plan for this.
Mark & Tumaini
At the start of October, Judith left her home in Germany and arrived in Kampala, Uganda, to take up her position as our leader for the new Counselling Centre there. Once she has begun to get settled, she will be looking for suitable premises for the Centre. There is much to do before it can open next year!
Mark visited Arusha in Tanzania at the start of October, with the other leaders in our section of Africa Inland Mission. We were visiting the people in AIM who plan and train teams of (mostly young) missionaries while they spend 2 or more years living alongside an African people group who have never heard the Gospel. The programme is called ‘Training in Ministry Outreach’ (TIMO) and you can read about the TIMO programme, and watch some of their videos at: http://aimstories.com/timo-embedded-video-series/
My role was to consider how Tumaini can best support the people on the TIMO teams. On the way, I got my first sight of Kilimanjaro above the clouds, higher than we were as we flew past in our small AIM plane.
Barbara and I have just returned from another visit to Tanzania, this time to a conference in Dar es Salaam for AIM missionaries working in Tanzania. This is the second time we’ve been to this particular gathering, so it was good to reconnect with people we had got to know. Many are from the UK, and it was good to find out more about their ministry joys and challenges. Mark was giving some talks and seeing people for counselling.
We continue to need new clinical staff – counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists – to work in Nairobi and Kampala, so please continue to pray about this.
Now it is time to prepare for the upcoming ‘Kenya conference’ at the end of November, with further workshops and counselling.
Looking back and looking forward
On the weekend near our 42nd wedding anniversary, we drove down into the Rift Valley to visit a famous archaeological site. During the drive – just forty miles – the temperature went from 24C in Nairobi (which is high on a plateau) to 36C in the Valley. The scenery was stunning.
It is now only two months until we return to Cambridge for our ‘home assignment’. This is a time to reconnect with family and friends as well as with the many people who support us in prayer and with finance – without whom we could not accomplish anything useful, nor afford to live here. We will be home from just before Christmas until the end of April, returning to Kenya for the start of May 2016.
We are excited about this and our plans for this time are coming together well.
- Give thanks for safe journeys locally and twice to Tanzania
- Preparation for the Kampala Counselling Centre, and for as Judith she begins to settle there
- For additional staff for Tumaini in Nairobi and Kampala
- Encouragement for the students and their wives who Barbara teaches, who face many challenges
- AIC Ngong Rd Church planning for 2016 on the theme of missions
- For the AIM missionaries working across Africa, often in remote and challenging situation, that they may be faithful in all things
- Preparations for our time in the UK
Here is our ‘bug of the month’ – a small but bright yellow spider, who walked across my paperwork on our dining table while I was working.