Here in the UK, the hot summer enabled us to have a seamless transition as we travelled to Kenya on the 5thSeptember at the start of their warmer season. This also led to less ‘thermal shock’ on our return at the end of September!
We stayed on the campus of Africa International University, very near to where we had lived in 2014 and 2015. As this was my first trip back to Kenya, this gave me, Barbara, the great joy of being reunited with several of the people I knew there, from people who were my English students, some from Ladies’ Bible Study and workers on the campus. I saw this amusing sight as I wandered round! 🙂
It was very good to have time to catch up with the Team at Tumaini – both clinical and office staff. We had timed our visit to coincide with two new counsellors joining the team in Nairobi, so were there to welcome them to the ‘family’ of Tumaini; a great joy!
I want to praise God for an answer to many prayers about being able to keep our Kampala centre open while its sole member of staff will be back in her home country for much of 2019. While we were in Nairobi, a young couple, who are both psychiatrists, came to work with us briefly at short notice, as they had to leave another African country due to its political instability. When they heard about our need, they offered to work in our Kampala centre from January to March 2019. And one of our psychiatrists from Nairobi offered to move to Kampala to cover the rest of that gap. So, the staffing for that centre looks secure until September 2019; after that God alone knows, though we are confident he will provide!
But mission life in Africa always seems to be ‘living on the edge’. Since our return to the UK, our excellent Kenyan receptionist resigned unexpectedly and at short notice, and our Kampala centre suffered a burglary, taking the centre’s laptop and money, as well as a laptop that was in transition to another Christian mission in Uganda. These trials leave our finances even more precarious than before, and as our counsellor there was due to lead a debriefing the next day to a mission team who had just been robbed, this brought an additional level of empathy…
We desperately need more professional staff still; we are currently turning away about two-thirds of the requests that we receive for help due to insufficient staff – though we always prioritise members of AIM, and are able to see them.
And our team member who had to leave a ‘creative-access’ country at short notice is in the process of praying through what their future direction should be.
I am currently struggling with setting the budget for 2019 – struggling because we do not have enough money to cover the costs of employing our national staff who run our centres.
During our visit we were also able to get in a short holiday at the Kenya coast; which we’d not seen before. It was a wonderful time of relaxation, and also enabled me to stock up on ‘bug’ pictures. This spider was about 5 inches across and was hanging in a tree just above where we were relaxing. (We kept one eye on it, and think it was keeping one eye on us!)
We missed the grandchildren during our month back in Africa, but we were very touched at their joyful reunion with us on our return, and we have been able to tell them about our visit and showed them many photos and videos.
Barbara has been laid up with the ‘flu since mid-October, and is making a slow recovery. So she hasn’t done as much to promote mission within our church as she would have liked.
We receive much prayer support from our church family here in the UK for which we are very grateful. And for our trip to Kenya in September, faithful friends and supporters took us to the airport and collected us on our return.
As part of leading our church mission group, in recent months we have been distributing copies of an AIM magazine ‘Connect Junior’ to young people in the church to tell them about mission, what it is and what it might involve, and Barbara spoke to one of young peoples’ groups about mission with the hope of sowing seeds into young lives.
Please praise God with us for
- New counsellors joining the Tumaini team
- Answers to prayer for professional staff cover in Kampala next year
- And wonderful holiday at the Kenya coast
And pray with us for:
- Recovery for our Kampala team following the burglary
- Sufficient income to meet our expenses in the coming year
- Further new staff to join us so that we can meet more of the requests for support that come to us from missionaries each week.
And finally, a couple of the many ‘bugs’ we saw at the Kenya coast. The butterfly was beautiful, but we were particularly impressed by the 6-inch millipede with the ‘red-leg upgrade’! (All pictures can be viewed full-size by clicking on them.)