Christmas 2016

Another couple of months have slipped by and now we are looking forward to Christmas.

The barn

The barn

We continue to be very blessed living in our friends’ barn near Cambridge in the UK. It is a very warm and cosy home, which we appreciate as the colder weather has arrived. Mark is settled into working around two days per week for Tumaini doing planning and admin, and keeping in contact by emails and Skype (when the internet allows).

Family news

Barbara’s mother decided to leave the care home and return to her house with a private care company providing her with 3 visits per day. This began just over two weeks ago, and she has already fallen at least 4 times, with neighbours and family having to intervene. It remains to be seen how long this arrangement will last, but we doubt it will be stable.

Moreover, it has become clear that other members of our family still need considerable help as their situation is far from resolved. So we remain on hand, offering support as we are able, through the most difficult of times for them.


Meanwhile, I (Mark) have continued to work part-time for Tumaini from afar, although I am not doing any counselling. The internet links enable me to be in daily contact by email, and to have regular voice calls with key people there; sometimes the link is good enough to enable a video call, but this is the exception, not the norm!

During this year we have been able to open a new counselling centre in Kampala, Uganda, and are delighted that this is going well.

Tumaini Nairobi clinical staff

Tumaini Nairobi clinical staff

Two key members of staff left/retired from the Nairobi team recently, and we praise God that two new people have joined, one in Nairobi, the other in Kampala. But more professional staff are needed; we are talking with a number of people who have expressed interest. Please pray that God would call who he wants! The Nairobi clinical team is pictured here as we say goodbye to two and welcome one!

Tumaini building project

One exciting piece of news is that we are starting to build four 2-bedroom apartments on the Tumaini compound, because housing in Nairobi is becoming unaffordable for missionaries, and the Nairobi traffic often means a 3-hour round trip for our staff to commute just 8 miles to work each day.

Proposed apartments at Tumaini

Proposed apartments at Tumaini

We have wanted to do this for quite a while, and during the year have been through the process of getting the needed planning permissions from the Nairobi authorities. Now we have builders lined up and they are ready to start in January. We have the land, the plans are drawn, and we start with $45,000 towards the needed $300,000 (~£35,000 out of £235,000).

Please see for more information about the project; please consider whether you could contribute. We are moving forward in faith that the money will be there.

Our future role with Africa Inland Mission and Tumaini

It is currently planned that we remain working part-time for Africa Inland Mission from the UK, and make one or two trips out to Kenya per year at times when this would be most useful, and to maintain face-to-face links with the team at Tumaini. The details are still being worked out, but we look forward to serving in this way while it remains helpful.

God is present & faithful

So, what have we been learning through this year? That life takes unexpected directions, and all our plans are in God’s hands; that prayers are not always answered in the way we expect, but nonetheless God is good and faithful! We have been amazingly well supported by colleagues in Africa Inland Mission, by friends in our home church in Sawston and by others in our family.

It doesn’t come naturally to us to rely so much on friends’ kindness; we confess that the independent streak in us clearly runs deep. And yet we have seen God’s goodness through so many of these small and large kindnesses, which have gone well beyond mere words and have shown us sacrificial service. So, we have felt ‘held’ and ‘lifted up’ on the prayers of God’s people. (A non-Christian friend said ‘we’ll keep fingers crossed for your situation’. While we appreciated their thought, we wondered how people who lack the knowledge of the power of prayer and of God’s practical love manage in this life.)

This powerfully reminds us that the message of Christmas is that God is not content to be ‘God at a distance’, but rather sent Jesus, his Son, into the world to be right alongside us in a messed-up world. And we can certainly join in celebrating that knowledge of ‘God with us’ though all the ups and downs of this year.

Please celebrate with us

  • That’s God’s plan are better than our plans!
  • God’s presence in the midst of all the ups and downs of life

Please also pray for:

  • New clinical staff for Tumaini in Nairobi and Kampala
  • Funding for the Tumaini building project
  • For our family who continue to go through difficult times




Bug of the month

Here is a slug (OK, it’s not a ‘bug’!) that we snapped in Nairobi in May – at least 8 inches / 20cm long. See what we are missing by having to be in the UK!