Times of change

The time is approaching when we will retire as missionaries with Africa Inland Mission.  It is a time of mixed feelings for us, as we have been associated with AIM since February 2010.  However, as this season draws to a close, we wonder what the Lord has in store for us; after all, we don’t retire as Christians!  

After 6 years, Mark passes on the Clinical Team Leader role for the Tumaini Nairobi and Kampala Counselling Centres at the start of November, but will continue with the handover until the end of the year.  In fact, Mark has also been handling recruitment enquiries for Tumaini and will continue with this into 2020, until a colleague who has recently returned to the US can take that on.  So, we are in a period of gradually bowing out.

But for now, everything remains very busy! 

New and visiting clinicians at Tumaini

Kay, a psychologist from the US, has joined us at Tumaini Nairobi and is settling in well.  Is it great to have her back in the team after she was in the US for about 2 years following her previous 6-months with us in 2016-17.

Moreover, we have 3 visiting psychiatrists about to spend time with us, just for a few weeks each.  They have different specialisms, a child psychiatrist and an adult psychiatrist who will be coming to Nairobi.  The third is a general psychiatrist who will be returning to work at the Kampala office.

[If you are reading this in the UK, you might wonder just how many missionaries need to see a psychiatrist!  Well, in a context where there is no NHS, and where most doctors don’t prescribe many commonly used medications, the answer is ‘quite a lot’.  Although in western countries we think we have a common understanding of mental health and its treatment, the whole topic is in fact much more culturally dependent than most people realise: there are differences in the understanding and treatment of mental health between the UK and the US, and that is before you begin to think about norms in South Korea or Germany, not to mention the understandings in Kenya, Chad or Madagascar!  So, to have experienced psychiatrists working with us who are sensitive to such cultural issues is a real blessing – literally a Godsend!]

We also have a lovely couple coming for a month from Australia to run marriage retreats.  As I write they have just arrived in Kenya, and we look forward to them leading three retreats – two near Nairobi, and one in Jinja, Uganda.

I, Mark, will be travelling to Nairobi for 3-weeks, including 4 days in Kampala, in late October to mid-November.  As well as providing an opportunity to see the whole team, it will also be a time for handover to Gunilla, who is taking over from me as the Clinical Team Leader.  Gunilla has been the Clinical Lead in Nairobi for the last two years, and I am delighted that she is willing to take on this role.

But, before I travel to Kenya I will be leading a session at a team day for Africa Inland Mission EU staff, talking about ‘What do Godly teams look like?’.


Lunch in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Barbara and I attended the AIM EU ‘Home Assignment Conference’ in July in Swanwick, Derbyshire.  It was a lovely opportunity to catch up with UK missionaries who are spending time in the UK, some of whom we knew and others we didn’t previously.  We also heard some excellent teaching on what makes for good gospel partnerships.  As we are retiring soon, it was also an opportunity to say some early goodbyes.

After the conference we gave ourselves a short break and spent a couple of days in Lincoln visiting the castle and the cathedral and a quick look at the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Lincoln Cathedral

Mark’s mother has been living at home without carers for a couple of months now.  It has been working precariously up until recently, since when she has had a minor fall.   She is taking care of herself for the moment, but needs more help than she will admit.

Change of blog web address

The sharp-eyed among you may notice that our blog address has changed from https://stepsalongtheway.aimsites.org to https://stepsalongtheway.org, though the old address will redirect you to the new one.  We have tried to keep the new site much alike the previous one, which still contains all the old posts.

For prayer

Please praise God with us for

  • The psychiatrists who are visiting Tumaini in the coming weeks, and for the Australian couple coming to lead marriage retreats
  • Kay coming to work long-term with the team in Nairobi

And please pray with us for

  • Missionaries and their families, who can benefit from these visiting staff, will be able to come during this time
  • Mark’s upcoming trip to Nairobi and Kampala, and the handover of the leadership role to Gunilla
  • The Lord’s leading in our lives in retirement.

PS This is not the end; we will be writing again!

And here is our ‘bug of the month’ – actually a common garden spider; maybe our next blog will have something more exotic!

Common Garden Spider

One thought on “Times of change

  1. Hi Mark and Barbara

    It is great to get your newsletter, as ever. And, as always, it radiates a joy which is highly infectious! My news is that
    I have a new baby granddaughter. She is now nearly one and I shall be looking after her for two whole days a month.
    I expect it will be exhausting, particularly as she lives in London, and I am still in Cambridge. My daughter is much
    happier since returning from France two years ago and lives near us. Keep your news coming!

    love from Penny (Cambridge)


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