Christmas Greetings!!

Nativity play

Nativity play

We enjoy the fact that here in Kenya there is almost no ‘hype’ about Christmas – no big sales, no tinsel-town decorations. I think the most I have seen is a Christmas tree and a few tasteful lights at one of the shopping centres. However, at church last Sunday the children staged a Nativity play, with all the dressing up you would expect, and with a clear challenge to us all, “Do you believe the message of Christmas – that God sent his Son into the world to save us?”

But before Christmas Day we come to the end of our first ‘term’ – nearly two years – in Kenya, and in a week’s time we return to the UK for four months.

Tumaini & counselling

It has been a real blessing to lead the team at Tumaini, the AIM counselling centre in Nairobi; they are a fantastic and dedicated team of missionary counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Between us we have seen between 350 – 400 missionaries (or couples or families) each year and have also expanded our work in supporting missionaries based in other parts of Africa, doing an increasing number of sessions by video link (where the ‘net allows) , and running online support groups for missionaries working in ‘creative access’ countries.

We are also close to establishing a second counselling centre, this time in Kampala, Uganda, to better serve missionaries working in central Africa. We have now rented premises for the new Counselling Centre in Kampala, and have just been interviewing for a national member of staff to run the office. It is amazing what has been accomplished in just 2 months, and we praise God for his hand on this. We pray that this centre will be able to open its doors soon – we hope in February 2016.

English teaching at the university

Ladies do lunch!

Ladies do lunch!

Barbara continued to meet for Ladies Bible study until the end of November and I hope that one or two of them will agree to lead the study while I am away. It has been a joy to be with these women and to see them grow in faith. Recently we got together for an end of term Christmas lunch.

English students selfie

English students selfie

All is very quiet on campus at AIU now that the semester has ended. Some students had exams in the first week of December. So I have finished teaching until we return from Home Assignment. It has been a privilege to teach English here and to see how the students’ use of English has improved. Here is my informal English class together and an end of term ‘selfie’. They have agreed to let me go home to see my family – as long as I bring them a gift on my return. This particular group includes three ladies from DRC and one from Ethiopia. One of the Congolese students is returning home as she and her husband cannot afford to pay the fees to study here. This is a common occurrence, sadly.

Barbara outside the Language Centre

Barbara outside the Language Centre

During November and December, we have had periods of torrential rain and thunderstorms, though in between it is still hot and sunny. One night, there was torrential rain that lasted for 12 hours. Some of the student residences, the bookshop and the Language Centre where I teach, were flooded. I spoke with staff from the bookshop, who were thanking God that it was only a flood and not a fire which would have destroyed everything. Anyway, here I am outside the Language Centre in the blazing sun, after the water had subsided.

We were at the AIM annual conference in Kenya at the end of November. Barbara attended a valuable series of workshops on integrating a Biblical worldview into your teaching – to show how to make connections between academic content (in my case, the English language) and the bigger picture of the Biblical worldview. Meanwhile Tumaini staff, including Mark, ran workshops and offered counselling sessions.

Preparing to come home

As I type that subtitle, the question pops into my mind “But where is ‘home’?” Cambridge is home – but so is Nairobi now! We long to see family and friends and to attend our ‘home church’, but are sad saying goodbye to friends and colleagues here and will miss our Nairobi church.

We have come to feel at home in Nairobi, to love the people and the country. It is full of contradictions, but is vibrant, the country is beautiful, and the people are welcoming and very open to spiritual discussions.

Have we changed over these two years? Yes and no! I look in the mirror and still look just like me, but our outlook and heart have changed; God’s love and grace feels greater, and things that used to bother us seem less important.

We are beginning to sort belongings into those that can remain here until we return, and those we will need in Cambridge during the winter (short-sleeved shirts and sandals? – no!).

Jonathan & Jasmine

Jonathan & Jasmine

A second grandchild!

We are delighted to tell you the wonderful news of the birth of a son on the 14th November to Andrew and Fiona and a sister for Jasmine. They have named him Jonathan and we are very much looking forward to seeing him for the first time when we arrive home.

Financial support from 2016

We have been extremely grateful for the faithful support in both prayer and finance which has enabled us to do this work in Kenya. As you probably realise, we receive no income for working here, and so depend on my work pension, and support from our home churches and generous individuals.

Due to a change of the way that AIM works out the necessary finances for its members to cover their living costs etc, we need to raise an additional ~£200 per month from 2016. Those who have supported us financially over the last two years have been 100% committed, and we do not feel led to ask them for any extra giving; rather, we would hope for additional people to join in supporting us. This support pays for our accommodation, travel and the considerable back-up support we receive from AIM (and we pay our day-to-day living costs from Mark’s pension and our house rental). If you can help us in this way, our experience has been that the blessing goes both ways; please either contact us direct, or (after Dec 21st, when the site goes live) go to: http://eu.aimint.org/thephippens/

Locking up our apartment

Locking up our apartment

Locking up – for now…

Next Saturday we will carry out the everyday routine of padlocking our door when we leave the apartment, but this time, we won’t be returning until the end of April.

Please join us in praying

  • Giving thanks and praise to God for all that He has done over these two years
  • Giving thanks for looking after our families while we have been in Kenya
  • For the continuing work of Tumaini
  • For the theme of Mission at AIC Ngong Road church for 2016
  • For safe travel and a joyful reunion with family and friends
  • For rest and relaxation during our Home Assignment as well as catching up with many of you.

 

Bug of the month

Bug of the month

And finally … our bug of the month

Here is a beetle that was walking along the path into Tumaini. I particularly liked his (her?) metallic green paint job with the ‘go faster stripes’!

(You can click on any of the pictures to get a bigger view.)

 

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The Messiah – and missions

The Messiah

Handel's Messiah choir

Handel’s Messiah choir

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.

Church

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.

AIC Ngong Rd church

AIC Ngong Rd church

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!

Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro

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.

Mark at AIM Tanzania conference

Mark at AIM Tanzania conference

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

Rift Valley

Rift Valley

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.

Please pray:

  • 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

 

And finally…

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.

Bug of the month

Bug of the month

Seasons of low cloud and mellow fruitfulness

Poinsettia tree

Poinsettia tree

This is our cold season: Kenyans wear woolly hats, scarves and gloves, and say it is “baridi sana” (very cold) – as the daytime high is just 22C and it can get right down to 14C at night. Also, the poinsettias are flowering on the compound, and look very Christmassy – except that they are 20’ high trees!

Tumaini

July and August tend to be quieter months for counselling at Tumaini as people take holidays, go on home assignment, etc. But it is a useful time to catch up on other background tasks that are less exciting, though still important.

We have been making good progress on planning for the new counselling centre in Kampala. It is now less than two months until Judith arrives in Uganda to begin the work of setting this up! We think it will be early 2016 before the centre is open for counselling – first there is suitable premises to be found, one or two national staff to be appointed, and the infrastructure to be put in place. It’s exciting to see how this is coming together after the original idea back in early 2014. (There is an apt saying which we find useful to remember in Africa: “Things take longer than they do!”)

We have been doing quite a lot of putting feelers out for additional staff. We have had a few ‘nibbles of interest’, which is encouraging, but please pray that the right people would commit to applying and coming at the needed time.

English

Life on the campus is very quiet during the second half of July and for the month of August. Some of my students are not around; their husbands have graduated and returned to their own home or country or they are visiting family during this break.

I am still teaching three ladies who have asked me to continue over the summer but it is a bit hit and miss; the students often have personal circumstances that lead to lessons being cancelled.

The new semester begins in September, but last year it was two or three weeks before my classes got underway. The university has recently set up a Language Centre and plans to run classes for English, French, German, Swahili and Arabic. At the moment, some empty rooms have been allocated, tables and chairs, bookshelves and a few English teaching resources that have been donated from the USA. The coordinator has asked me to come on board to teach English. These fee-paying classes would be for theological students of the university. Meanwhile, I still hope to offer English to those who are not students and cannot afford to pay fees for a course. This generally means wives of pastors who appreciate the lessons, not just as an opportunity to improve their English but also as a social / fellowship time. When they arrive on campus, they may have just left their home country for the first time, and appreciate being part of a support network. I need wisdom to know how to respond to the request from the Language Centre.

Ladies Bible Study

Just like the classes, there are no meetings at this time of year and we will start again in September. Following the meetings that I led from May to July, I was very excited when two of the ladies approached me and asked if I would do some sessions with them on how to lead a Bible study. I am so pleased that they want to do this. This is real progress in equipping them in their role as pastors’ wives.

Priorities

Sometime last year we included in our blog a picture of Joseph, a gardener where we live, and with whom we have become friends. We had previously given him a Swahili Bible.

Let me tell you a short story about Joseph from last month. He earns a tiny salary, barely more than the rent on his tin shack, that is home for him and his family – except (like all the staff) he hasn’t been paid since March. His wife earns a little by doing some cleaning, and they have 3 teenage children at school, and a fourth child who became part of his family when a relative died. Having not been paid, he just survives by washing cars and anything else he can do on top of his gardening work, which he continues in the hope of being paid someday.

When an American woman, who was visiting, saw Joseph gardening and the careful work he was doing, she got chatting and then surprised him by giving him 1,000KSh (about £7). Joseph could have fed his family with this for about a week (on ugali – a stiff maize meal ‘porridge’). However, he went straight to the campus bookshop and bought a Bible in the Luo language to give to his mother, as she speaks neither English nor Swahili. He showed it to us very excitedly that evening! We knew he had no food in the house, but we also know that he didn’t go hungry.

Fruit picking!

Fruit picking!

Here is a picture of Joseph’s wife, Agnes, and two of their daughters – dressed in their very best – when they visited us recently. The girls were very happy to have found some edible fruit on a tree near our apartment.

AIM’s Vision 2020

During the last year or so, Africa Inland Mission has been refining its vision for the next five years; yes, it’s called Vision 2020!   The first stage was to renew and concentrate AIM’s vision on evangelising unreached people groups, to disciple believers, to train and disciple church leaders through theological education, and to provide good support services to those working ‘in the front line’ – which is the part of AIM under which we work.

Now our International Director has just communicated the specifics of this plan to us all. Amongst other things, this sets out the 20 particular African people groups AIM will work to reach with the gospel by 2020, to seek 400 African missionaries to be involved in this outreach, and to equip 4000 African church leaders to establish and strengthen Christ-centred churches.

We all know this is a big vision, which can only be achieved by God’s grace – so please pray! We are excited and privileged to be a part of this work.

Tenants and home assignment

Two of the prayer requests in our last blog were answered together in an unexpected manner within 24 hours of posting our blog. We asked for prayer concerning a new tenant in our home in Sawston, and also for somewhere to live while on home assignment from Christmas to the end of April. Well, our son Andrew and his wife Fiona contacted us to ask if they could move to our home, as they needed somewhere larger due to expecting their second child in November. After thought and prayer we agreed. So this means that we can stay with them in our own home while back in the UK! And we can also catch up with our grandchildren – but can we remember how to change a nappy? Anyway, we are very glad to be able to help them, as they also help us!

Elephants strolling past

Elephants strolling past

We took a week out in July and went to the south-east of Kenya. We saw a lot of wildlife, including these beautiful elephants; the picture was taken from our loungers by the pool at our safari lodge!

Prayer Points

Please pray:

  • For AIM as it focuses its works on reaching people in Africa who have never had the chance to hear the Gospel
  • For the preparations for the new counselling centre in Kampala, Uganda
  • For new counselling & psychiatric staff for Tumaini, both in Nairobi and our new Kampala centre
  • Clarity over Barbara’s involvement with the language centre, and freedom to continue teaching non-AIU students for free
  • For Barbara to teach the ladies how to lead a Bible study in culturally sensitive ways.
Bug of the month 2

Bug of the month 2

 

Finally, bug of the month:

Planning for the future

Since our last newsletter life has moved on.

Ladies Bible Study

For me, Barbara, I have continued to help with the Ladies Bible study and have the opportunity to lead for two months while the co-leader of this group is visiting her family in the USA. Instead of our usual studying a book of the Bible, I am doing a series on issues that affect pastors’ wives. So far, we have looked at men’s and women’s roles, what happened as a result of the fall, Noah and his family, and last Tuesday we talked about children and parents. Next time, we are looking at what the Bible says about widows and orphans. I started the series with few ladies attending and I became a bit discouraged. However, the numbers began to pick up week by week and there were ten of us at our last meeting. If everybody came every week, we would have more than twenty ladies. But people always have reasons that make it difficult for them to commit every week. Sickness, child-care, other family issues or return to home countries to apply for new visas etc. are always around.

English teaching

Barbara with Bible translators

Barbara with other teachers and Bible translators

For the first two weeks of May, I had the exciting opportunity of linking up with missionaries from Wycliffe/SIL and I was privileged to teach English to Africans from various countries who are studying towards qualifications for their work in Bible Translation. I met pastors from countries as diverse as Cameroon and Ethiopia and learned how they work to get the Bible translated into their mother tongue. It was also a wonderful opportunity to work with other English teachers and I have subsequently met with the Wycliffe/SIL coordinator for ‘English as a Second Language (ESL) in the Africa Region’, and we are wondering whether we can work together to produce a course, or at least a way of providing these pastors with English teaching via distance learning. I would love to be able support the work of Bible translation.

Since then, I have continued to teach the pastors’ wives, but attendance has been very sporadic until this past week.

Tumaini

Tumaini has been very busy these last few months. As well as all the regular calls upon our time, troubles in South Sudan and Burundi have brought people our way. AIM and other missionaries live and work in difficult areas – in fact in exactly the places where they are most needed! But to sustain that over the long-term means that Tumaini needs to be able to provide professional support in those situations. In this way, we contribute to reaching people who have never heard the gospel.

We have been very fortunate over the first half of 2015 in having more professional staff at Tumaini than ever before, but we have just said goodbye to a couple (a psychiatrist and family therapist) who have been at Tumaini for over 20 years; this is a huge loss, but we celebrate their faithfulness in this work over many years. We are now actively recruiting for new psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists to join the team, either in Nairobi or our soon-to-be-opened new centre in Kampala, Uganda. Do you know anyone who might be called to this work? There is more information at http://tumainicounselling.net/about-us/join-us/

On the way to Tanzania by bus

On the way to Tanzania by bus

I recently attended a week-long forum in Tanzania for the leaders of the AIM ‘Training in Ministry Outreach’ (TIMO) programme. These teams work in many of the hardest to reach places in Africa, living amongst the local people and learning their language, living their lifestyle. As well as learning a great deal about these programmes, I was speaking on managing stress levels. Although God sends people to the ends of the earth to tell others about Him, we know that we are still human and not immune from the struggles of all people. We have to both take good sensible care of one another, and to rely on God for what we cannot do.

Plans for our new Kampala centre are coming along well. I recently met up with the person in charge of AIM Central Region, which includes Uganda, and who will have some administrative oversight of this centre (while the clinical oversight remains with us in Nairobi). This was a very encouraging meeting, and we see that God has been preparing the way. We pray that further pieces will become clear by the time that our leader for that centre arrives in Kampala from Germany in October. I think this time will go very fast!

Animal spotting

Tumaini staff animal spotting

As well as the therapeutic staff, there are 12 employed Kenyans who work at Tumaini, in the office or the compound. We discovered that none of them had ever been into Nairobi National Park – which is just a couple of miles from the centre – to see the animals for which Kenya is rightly famous. So we recently arranged a team day out in a bus to visit the Park. Here are some pictures, including of the lunch we made together. Much excitement all round!!

Lion cubs

Lion cubs

Serving lunch

Tumaini staff having lunch

Future direction

In our last blog, we talked about future direction – our plans beyond this initial 2-year commitment. After much prayer, and discussions with our home church, families and people here in Nairobi, we believe it is right to return for a further 15 months or so, after a time back in the UK. We are very grateful for everyone’s support and backing this way forward.

So, we will be in the UK from Christmas this year until the end of April 2016, and then return to Kenya until about July 2017, at which point we expect to spend more time with our families, church, friends and neighbours and take up our grand-parenting duties properly!!

During our ‘Home Assignment’ we are not sure where will live, as we expect our own home to be rented out. So if any of you know of a small apartment / house we could rent from January to April – ideally in the South Cambridgeshire area – we would be delighted to hear. (Actually, our current tenant is shortly to be leaving. He has been great, so please pray for another suitable tenant.)

Bug of the month

Bug of the month

The rainy season has been good this year – that is, lots of rain! We are now moving into the cold season, so out come the gloves and scarves, and woolly hats, as the temperature only struggles up to 20C during the day, and is a chilly 14C at night!

Finally, here’s a ‘bug of the month’:

If you are the praying kind, please join with us:

For praise

  • For the good rains this year
  • For the opportunity Barbara had to teach Bible translators from around Africa
  • For the work Tumaini is able to do in supporting missionaries
  • For Mark’s time with the TIMO leaders
  • For clarity about our future direction.

For prayer

  • For the Bible studies to be useful to the pastors’ wives
  • New staff for Tumaini in Nairobi and Kampala
  • Ideas re distance ESL, that we would all seek God’s will for this
  • For a new tenant for our home in the UK
  • Accommodation near Cambridge during our time in the UK from Jan – Apr 2016

 

Getting on with the work

Following the excitement of friends and family visiting us in January & February, and the hard work involved in conferences in the second half of Feb, life has been more ‘normal’ for the month of March (we put ‘normal’ in inverted commas like that as every day still has a surprise of one sort or another!). We have also continued with Swahili learning but have decided to finish our lessons at the end of April. We have appreciated the opportunity to get on with our routine work of counselling and running the service, for Mark, and teaching English and Ladies Bible study for Barbara.

However, we know that the news from Kenya has been terrible recently. The day before Good Friday, there was the awful news of the shootings at a university in Garissa. It happened 250 miles from here, in an area not too far from the Somali border. 147 people, mostly students, were massacred and it has had a widespread effect over Kenya. Churches have been praying for the families of the victims, that they would be able to forgive and to not to harbour hatred. But students and their families are understandably edgy.

Personally, we feel safe.  One of the features of living here is tight security – we live on a compound behind two sets of gates which are guarded 24/7, in an apartment which has a tough steel door, and sleep within a ‘safe area’ which has a further big steel door to bolt ourselves in, and with metal bars on all the windows, etc.  From a UK perspective this probably sounds horrendous, but we’ve just got used to it, and this is normal life here.  And we know that, ultimately, the safest place to be is in the centre of God’s will.

Barbara’s teaching

Most weekdays, I (Barbara) sit in our bedroom-cum-study and sit at the desk planning English lessons or Bible studies. It’s lovely to be able to look out of the window in front of the desk and look at the beautiful acacia tree and to see tropical birds feeding on seeds from the agapanthus flowers in the garden below the window.

Barbara with some of the Bible-study group

Barbara with some of the Bible-study group

Here are some of the women from the Bible-study group – all pastors’ wives – from Tanzania, Burundi, DRC, and other countries.  From May I’ll be leading them in a new series highlighting Biblical teaching that will be relevant to them in their roles as pastors’ wives back in their home countries.

I’m also excited to be asked to teach English on a 2-week course in May here in Karen, Nairobi, for students from many African countries who are studying for degrees in theology.  They are on a distance-learning course for Bible translators, consultants to Bible translators, or Scripture Engagement (i.e. those encouraging Africans to use the Bible that has now been translated into their own heart language).  They all need to improve their English for their studies.  It’s a privilege to be a small link in the chain of Bible translation.

Tumaini

Tumaini clinical team

Tumaini clinical team

Tumaini has been unusually busy these last months, but we have been able to meet these needs as we currently have a full team. There are 10 clinical staff at the moment – psychiatrists, a psychologist, marriage and family therapists and psychotherapists – coming from the US (including a Chinese-American), Canada, UK, Germany, and South Korea.  It is common for some of us to be away speaking and counselling at conferences etc, so it is rare for the whole team to be together at Tumaini. But as we were all present recently, here is picture of the entire clinical team.

Two very significant and long-serving members of the team are returning to the US in the coming months, so are in the late stages of winding down their work at Tumaini.  There will be other absences by 2016, so we are praying for new staff to join us – both at Tumaini in Nairobi and at the new centre planned for Kampala. We are sending out information about the vacancies to the AIM offices in the US, UK, etc. but if you know of anyone who would be interested to find out about these opportunities, please put them in touch with me!

Our planning for a new counselling centre in Kampala is coming along well, and we expect to have our first person based there from October.

Our first online group supporting missionaries working in remote areas is coming to the end of its six weeks and is going very well. I am familiar with online work, including with groups, so have led this first group, which has focused on the theme of burnout. In May we expect to be starting 3 more groups, led by several members of the Tumaini team.

Easter

Palm Sunday was a day when many of the public buses decorated their vehicles with palm branches and many churches celebrated the event.

Washing feet at church Passover meal

Washing feet at church Passover meal

Easter here has no chocolate eggs. (Shocked gasp! Have they forgotten the meaning of Easter? No they haven’t!)  On the Thursday evening – the day of the Garissa shootings – we attended a Passover meal at church, ate bitter herbs and unleavened bread (in this instance, a slice of green pepper and a cream cracker!) and remembered the Old Testament Passover.  Our pastors recalled that before the Passover meal with Jesus and His disciples, that Jesus had washed their feet. The senior pastor then washed the feet of a number of church members, and after that we all had our hands washed by church elders before we ate a full meal of roasted goat, rice and chapatti!

Taking stock & beginning to think ahead

Now that we have been here for a year and 3 months, we have just had our mid-term reviews. Our manager discussed with us how things have been going so far and we have been thinking about what we do at the end of these two years here.  There is definitely more work that we could do, and it seems as though we’re only just now getting into our stride.  AIM would clearly like us to return here after a few months back in the UK.

However, we greatly miss our families and are very much looking forward to being with everyone again when the time comes. So there is much to pray about!

The rainy season begins

The long rains have started, and the scenery has turned from brown to green, and from dust to mud! One side effect of the rainy season is that the electricity supply becomes even less reliable, so when thunderstorms start in the evenings we reach for torches and candles, just in case. (Another apparent side-effect is that all the ants come out; where do they all come from?)

But it’s wonderful to see the grass, plants, shrubs and trees coming back to life. Moreover, the temperatures have moderated somewhat, down from 30+ to about 25C in the day, which is much fresher and very pleasant (though the Kenyans say it has got ‘quite cold’).

 A new plane for AIM

Dedication of the new plane

Dedication of the new plane

Today we attended our twice-yearly Africa Based Support prayer day (ABS is the part of Africa Inland Mission to which we belong).  As well as praying for all the services that ABS provides, we prayed for all the regions of Africa where AIM has missionaries working.  The highlight of the day was the dedication of a new aeroplane that will support them in their work by flying people and goods to remote parts.

 

For those of you who are the praying kind, please give thanks with us:

  • That the rains have started for the crops and there is fresh green grass for the animals to eat
  • For the new AIM plane that was safely flown to Nairobi from the US, to support missionary work here.

And please pray for:

  • Peace and safety for all in Kenya.
  • Barbara to plan well for the English course in May and that it proves useful for the students attending
  • The Ladies Bible Study group that Barbara is leading from May through July, that we learn from the Bible how to live as Pastors’ wives.
  • The new online groups being offered by Tumaini to support missionaries working in remote areas, and for the members of the Tumaini team who will shortly begin to work in this way.
  • Preparation for the new Kampala counselling centre and the people coming to work there.
  • New professional psychiatric and psychotherapeutic staff for Nairobi and Kampala in 2016.
  • Guidance about our personal future from 2016 – that we would be open to and clear about God’s will.

New Year 2015

We wrote our last blog in mid-December, which gave a quick summary of our 2014. We were feeling tired and needing a break. Well, we have had an excellent break and feel re-enthused – and are now into our second year here!

Moreover, having got very used to navigating the countless and ever-growing pot-holes in the road from home to work, weaving around them while trying to avoid the other vehicles doing the same, we have been surprised that over the last couple of months workmen have been busy filling in the holes. By Christmas we had a much-improved road – though with so many patches that it was difficult to tell whether any of the original road was still visible. So I am having to relearn how to drive straight! (It will give the lie to the local joke that you can tell who the drunk drivers are by the fact that they drive straight!)

Christmas and New Year

We certainly missed seeing family over Christmas, but it was interesting having our first Christmas in Africa. In some ways things were very ‘normal’, even singing most of the same carols at church. But in other ways it was very different – much less commercial, with many people away because it was the main summer holiday, and it was hot! Our main memory of Christmas Day was singing carols to all the guards who faithfully protect the university compound where we live; they are people with whom we have built relationships and who were working just as normal right through Christmas.

Our new year was quieter than we expected as Barbara had bronchitis, so we stayed in, read, and even tidied up old emails! Oh, we also watched series 1-4 of Downtown Abbey, which a friend lent us on DVD. I (Mark) had never watched this in the UK (“a soap in frocks”!), but it suddenly seemed quite appealing, reminding us of home. (What do you mean – our home in Sawston has an upstairs and a downstairs, too!!)

Barbara’s students bring her to tears

Barbara's students at our home

Barbara’s students at our home

Towards the end of that period Barbara’s students brought her to tears. She received a call from one of them, saying ‘We need to visit you this afternoon’, but gave no further explanation. We wondered what the urgent problem might be. When the afternoon came her whole student group arrived at our apartment carrying gifts – a large carrier bag full of fruit and vegetables, which was so heavy it took two of them to carry it. They told her that they missed her and were looking forward to English classes again. So they all squeezed into our small lounge and drank chai, and before they departed Mark took this lovely photo of us all in our apartment.

Visits from home

Barbara and Carolyn at our local vegetable stall

Barbara and Carolyn at our local vegetable stall

Then it was back to work for us both – however, not for very long, as we had booked holiday time to spend with visitors from home. First, our great friends from our home church visited for a few days in January, and then Anna and Keith, our daughter and son in law, visited us for the first 12 days of February. Our friends, Geoff and Carolyn were able to see us in our new surroundings and to see us working and our way of life out here. Then we had a wonderful holiday with Anna and Keith and all enjoyed being tourists in Kenya.

Colobus monkey & baby

Colobus monkey & baby

Tumaini

Work at Tumaini has been very busy, with numerous missionaries in difficult circumstances being seen by the team. I am also involved in planning for a new Tumaini satellite in Kampala, Uganda – a new mini-counselling centre to better serve missionaries in central Africa. Everyone concerned is in agreement with the intention, but we need the right personnel to make it happen! We are very excited as we now have just the right person to lead this new team, who expects to be available from October this year.

There has also a been lot of time spent planning for a conference just starting nearby for missionaries working in ‘creative access’ countries, i.e. where they cannot serve openly as missionaries. As well as offering counselling and leading 4 sessions at the conference, we are hoping to pilot the idea for online ‘focus groups’ – in which AIM missionaries working in isolated or restrictive areas can link with Tumaini and with each other to ‘discuss’ online a range of subjects, such as ‘living and bringing up families in dangerous settings’, ‘women serving in challenging cultures’, ‘when to say ‘no’ in the context of sacrificial service’, etc. So, there is lots of thinking, praying and planning going on about these things!

We need rain

A parched landscape

A parched landscape

Meanwhile, it has been the hot dry season, and the country desperately needs rain. The ground is parched, and the plants and tress look sad, and the crops need water. So, today, when we heard distant thunder, everyone got excited. But there were just a few spots…

 

If you are the praying kind, please join with us in celebrating:

  • Praise that God sustained us over Christmas, which turned out to be the hardest time to be away from our families in the UK
  • Thanks for a break from routine and the chance to lay before the Lord the routines of life and to make adjustments
  • For the safe travel and wonderful times with our friends and family when they visited us recently.

Please also pray for:

  • The new ideas and plans at Tumaini, particularly for the current conference just starting and the AIM-Care Kampala base
  • The Tumaini team as they work with people in great difficulty
  • Discerning priorities in the use of our time
  • And for rain!

Christmas 2014

Looking back

It’s nearly the end of 2014. A lot has happened for us this year! In January we packed up everything in our home, giving most of it away and storing a few basics and the personal things we treasured. Then came the very difficult time of saying goodbye to family and friends, and boarding a plane to Nairobi. We stepped out into hot sunshine and a different world.

After three weeks of orientation with Africa Inland Mission (AIM) we moved to our home – a one-bedroom apartment on the campus of Africa International University (AIU), where we have since made many friends. We spent 4 months learning the basics of Swahili, and have since continued with two lessons per week. For the most part we enjoy this very much, though recently, we have got somewhat behind with practising conversation and doing our homework

Barbara with friends

Barbara with friends

We joined an AIC Church and belong to one of its Adult Bible Study groups that meet before the Sunday morning service. It is a privilege to meet with such mature African Christians. Recently we have talked about the beliefs and practices of ordinary Muslims, how to build relationships and how to pray for them. Mark, plus one of the church pastors and another missionary, started a midweek cell group on the university campus back in July and here we have enjoyed learning about discipleship in an African context.

In May we received our residence and work permits, bought a car, and started work. For me, Mark, that has meant counselling at the Tumaini Counselling Centre in Nairobi, which primarily offers support to missionaries of any Christian mission. For Barbara this has meant teaching English informally to students of AIU and their wives. AIU is mainly a theological college, so most of the students are pastors-in-training.

Working at Tumaini has been great; the clinical team is all volunteer missionaries – counsellors and psychiatrists from the US, Canada, UK, Germany, and S Korea, and we are supported by a Kenyan office and compound staff. In August I took over the administration of the Centre as the Clinical Team Leader, but continue with some counselling. During the year we have been able to help several hundred missionaries, some of whom would have left the field had it not been for the professional and timely support available to them.

Frangipani flower

Frangipani flower

Barbara’s teaching began in May and from then until September, she very much enjoyed teaching two married couples, one from Ethiopia and the other from Madagascar. When the new academic year began in September, she started to teach some pastors’ wives English and has built good relationships with these women in both these English classes and in a Ladies’ Bible Study group that meets each week. The last week of November was end of term and classes resume in January. Although she will miss contact with these ladies, she very much needs a break.

Recent events

Mark leading workshop (there were more than 3 people there!)

Mark leading workshop (there were more than 3 people there!)

We have recently returned from the main AIM Kenya conference for all those working with Africa Inland Mission in Kenya – about 250 adults plus a further 150 children.   This was held just one and half hour’s drive north from Nairobi, at an AIM school high up on the edge of the Rift Valley with stunning views to match. We helped out with some of the registration and Mark led two workshops, which seemed to go well. But we returned tired from the year, and Barbara with a cold – the first since coming to Kenya!

A firm foundation

Looking back, we expected to be living life rather more slowly in Africa. Initially we were able to do this, but have gradually found ourselves living at just the same pace as in the West.  That lifestyle felt wrong in the UK but at least we had modern appliances to help us! We value your prayers, as, over Christmas, we will be thinking and praying about how to slow down again here. This isn’t just about a pace of life, but also about living on a foundation of prayer.

There are many good things that it’s possible to be involved in. However, Barbara sees her main focus as continuing with language learning for building relationships with the people around us, and teaching English to equip pastors and their wives in their studies as they prepare for Christ-centred leadership in the African church.

African nativity

African nativity

We’re dreaming of a warm Christmas

We write this letter in the run up to Christmas – except that the weather is getting warmer, not colder, and the majority of Christmas cards here have traditional Christmas images such as hippopotami, porcupines and acacia trees! Now – we are ready for a break – but Christmas away from family and friends is missing a major ingredient and it feels very strange.

We think of all of you in the UK often, and pray that this Christmas will be a time of blessing! Although many parts of the world have been in turmoil, we have confidence that security lies in Christ alone.

And we are very grateful to everyone who has supported us by maintaining friendships, contributing financially and by praying. Thank you!

If you are the praying kind:

  • Please join with us in giving thanks for God’s faithfulness through 2014.
  • Our main request is for Godly wisdom as we seek to rebalance life around core priorities, and to stop rushing around!

 

By the way, we are shifting to writing this blog every two months, rather than monthly. Please feel free to email us in between times and let us know about your life in furthest UK, or US, or wherever you happen to be!

Comings & goings

This blog is a little later than usual, as we will explain below.

Since we last wrote, members of the Tumaini team have returned from various travels and briefly the whole team has been together – but only briefly because several of us are or will be off travelling again to various conferences – in Chad, Tanzania and Madagascar this month.

We have just welcomed the return of a Canadian counsellor who has been back home for about a year, and a week ago we met with a new Chinese American psychologist who is going to join the Tumaini team after her orientation and language training. This will bring us to 10 people, from 6 nationalities. However two or maybe three will be retiring or leaving in 2015; comings and going seem to be the norm in missionary life!

The Tumaini Office Manager, Doreen, got married on the 11th October, so we were delighted to attend her wedding – here are some pictures (but the videos of us dancing are unavailable at this time!)

Doreen's wedding

Doreen’s wedding

AIM staff at Doreen's wedding

AIM staff at Doreen’s wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching

Since the last blog, we two English tutors have divided our students into two groups with Susie teaching those doing Masters’ courses and I have the privilege of teaching pastors’ wives at intermediate level.  At the moment, my group comprises women from Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Burundi and South Sudan.  Their common language is English and they need to improve so they can support their husbands in their future work as church leaders in Africa.  It is a pleasure to teach these women and to use English for discipleship too.

AIM Tanzania conference

Conference centre, Dar es Salaam

Conference centre, Dar es Salaam

We have just attended an AIM conference in Dar es Salaam – our first trip out of Kenya, and I was delighted that Barbara could come too. It has been great to meet many of the ~100 AIM missionaries working in various parts of Tanzania. The main conference speaker was Rev Nigel Styles (from the UK no less), teaching through 1 Thessalonians on ’standing firm as a Christian’. I presented a workshop on managing change & transitions, which looked at both psychological insights and at character of Jesus, our Good Shepherd who leads us through all changes and seasons in life. I also offered quite a few counselling sessions for those who cannot easily get to Tumaini. So all in all it proved a very busy time, but also a time of much blessing.

We were struck by the very remote and challenging environments where many of these missionaries live and work. I have been known to grumble that the internet is slow, but there are many for whom cooking a meal involves growing the food, killing the chicken (on special occasions), making your own charcoal fire, fetching the water and waiting for it to boil in order to purify it, and then beginning to cook… For them ‘just living’ is a full-time job.

As a representative from Tumaini goes to every AIM regional conference, our diaries are punctuated by these visits. At the end of November there is the main AIM Kenya conference, and all the AIM staff from Tumaini will be going; between us we will be giving three presentations and again offering counselling. In February there are two conferences for those working in creative access regions (i.e. where one cannot work openly as a missionary), and we will be leading more workshops and counselling.

We are praying about how to better support people at a distance from Nairobi. Attending conferences where missionaries meet is one way, but we are keen to do more. In a few areas using Skype may work, but usually the internet is not available or doesn’t have sufficient bandwidth. Counselling by email may be feasible in some situations, and I did do some training in this kind of work in 2012, so we are intending to give this a try.

At Amani Beach, Tanzania

At Amani Beach, Tanzania

Another strategy is to place Tumaini staff in different parts of Africa, and to this end we have plans to start a small counselling centre in Kampala, Uganda. Please pray that we find suitably qualified staff who are committed to this work. (Any experienced Christian counsellors out there who share our vision?)

Two days in paradise

I am writing this sitting on a white sandy beach, outside a ’banda’ (a grass-roofed bungalow, in this case a luxury one with every amenity!), overlooking the Indian Ocean, 30km South of Dar es Salaam, where we are having two days in paradise – courtesy of all of you who contributed at our leaving party a year ago. Thank you, we have looked forward to this with great anticipation and are now very much enjoying the moment!

Amani Beach, Tanzania

Amani Beach, Tanzania

Monkeys enjoying our hammock

Monkeys enjoying our hammock

Tomorrow we return to Nairobi and so back to work.

Two days later…

We returned home to Nairobi to great excitement – for a washing machine has been installed on the compound, which we can use.  Actually it is a very old machine which has been repaired, but still, very exciting!

[A delicate issue carefully resolved: how does the ‘new’ washing machine not put the young woman, who does washing by hand, out of work?  Answer: pay her to look after the machine and put our washing into it etc, hang it out afterwards, etc!]

Postscript: our washing gets stuck in the machine mid-cycle and we cannot retrieve it.  Umm.  Revert to having Divina wash it by hand, which is much more reliable!

If you are praying kind, please give thanks:

  • That the Tumaini team is expanding, and pray for those who have returned or are about to join us.
  • For Mark being able to speak and counsel at the AIM Tanzania conference.
  • For a wonderful 2-day break at the beach.

And please pray:

  • For us to have a more disciplined prayer-life together.
  • For the ongoing work of Tumaini in ministering to missionaries.
  • For the right staff to be found for the proposed Tumaini base in Kampala.
  • That Barbara would teach well and that this will continue to encourage those she teaches.
  • That we will continue to make progress in Kiswahili.

Back to work

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.)

Dawn at Kima Cottage

Dawn at Kima Cottage

Naivasha holiday

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.

Zebra

Zebra at Nakuru National Park

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.

Nancy at the Giraffe Centre

Nancy at the Giraffe Centre

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!

Teaching

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!

‘Inbound’ course

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!

Prayer requests

  • 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.

 

Summer, but not as we knew it

Well it is August, which is vacation time for most pupils and students, and many missionaries are also away on ‘home assignment’. We are here working as normal, so it is a slightly unusual period as ‘normal’ arrangements are re-arranged. (Actually, ‘normal arrangements’ in Africa are frequently rearranged on a daily basis, so perhaps this is not such an unusual time!)

Teaching

Although my (Barbara’s) lessons were interrupted in June and early July, I found it much easier than I expected to take up where I had left off. The students were keen to resume, and during this time I have been able to teach my 2 Ethiopian and 2 Malagasy students each twice per week. I am spending more time than before on speaking English, especially pronunciation and discussion. It is a great joy to be able to read and listen to Bible passages as a basis for learning and to pray with students. Last Sunday, one of the students from Madagascar was preaching in English for the first time, which is his third language, already speaking Malagasy and French. So he had last minute queries about the correct use of English to get his message across.

IMG_3817

Barbara with two students from Madagascar

It is lovely to be able to socialise with students, too. Here is a photo of me with my students from Madagascar, when we went to have lunch with them. We enjoyed the Malagasy food – rice, fish cooked in coconut milk and served on a bed of peas, chicken served with peas, plus chopped onions in vinegar and mayonnaise as side dishes. For dessert, we ate tropical fruit salad and home made apple pie. Delicious!! I am also getting a taste for Ethiopian coffee and injera (a type of fermented bread) when I spend time with those students.

Tumaini

I (Mark) mentioned in our last blog that it was planned for me to take over as Team Leader from the end of August. Unexpected events meant that I had to stand in as Team Leader for the last three weeks, as the current Team Leader had to return suddenly to the US due to a crisis in his extended family. This meant not only my stepping into the leadership role, but that the Centre was unexpectedly short-staffed. Nonetheless, myself and the one other counsellor currently working (out of a full team of 8) have been able to see all those approaching Tumaini for support during this period.

Tumaini gardens

Tumaini gardens

As I cannot talk about individuals who are seen, here is an overview of the work of Tumaini. We see 300 – 400 people in a year, nearly all missionaries. Many work for Africa Inland Mission or Wycliffe Bible Translators (as these are the organisations that jointly staff Tumaini), but also people from many, many other smaller mission organisations. We see individuals, couples and families for counselling, evaluations, and for debriefing following some traumatic experience. Our psychiatrists also see children and adults to prescribe and check up on a variety of medications, and make assessments of conditions such as ADHD. In addition to seeing people in Nairobi, we attend mission conferences across the continent to give presentations, run workshops – such as marriage retreats – and see people who cannot get to Tumaini. There is a lending library with several thousand volumes related to issues relevant to missionaries, and we have a website with material on a similar range of topics. Finally, we have very beautiful gardens where people can sit, reflect, and pray.

My counselling room at Tumaini

My counselling room at Tumaini

The pictures alongside are of Tumaini, including my counselling room.

People come to Tumaini for all sorts of reasons, for example: relationships problems of all kinds, stress or anxiety, depression, trauma, and burn-out. Christian missionaries are not immune from such issues, as they often work in some of the most challenging, isolated and sometimes dangerous places on earth. And they are in the front line of the ever-present spiritual battle, so it is important that support is available when needed.

All our staff are professionally trained therapists or psychiatrists, but work with Christ’s love and rely on His power.  And we are missionaries ourselves, experiencing the same life as those we see.

A place to reflect in Tumaini gardens

A place to reflect in Tumaini gardens

As I unexpectedly took over as team leader early, we were not able to take a weekend break at the beginning of August but we hope to be able to go away for a short holiday at the beginning of September.

Church and home-group

Mark has led the Sunday morning Bible Study prior to church for the last three weeks, where we continue to study Islam and the differences between the Moslem and Christian faiths. Many Moslems are very devout, and yet their faith gives no certainty of salvation. How much more should we Christians be committed to serving Jesus, who died to give anyone who will accept it, not just full forgiveness, but confidence in their eternal salvation!

Our Thursday evening church home-group has continued meeting. We have been a small group – 6 at most – and we have been watching and discussing a wonderful short video series about discipling new Christians.  It is set in an African village context and addresses the topics that are relevant for many African Christians. We are blessed by the mixed African & wazungu (white) membership. The group will be going through a transition next week; we will come to the end of this series and start studying a new topic, moreover, one couple will return to the US.

In both the Bible studies and home-group, we greatly value how we can each learn from people who have a very different background and life-experience from ourselves, but who worship the one true God.

Please pray with us for:

  • The work of Tumaini – so that the whole team can be a faithful in supporting missionaries who are going through a hard time
  • Barbara and another missionary who teaches English, that they would be put in touch with new students arriving for the start of the academic year who need their help
  • The transition for our home-group, that we will continue to thrive and new members would join
  • Planning for a week’s holiday at the beginning of September
  • Barbara is still needing better sleep – disrupted because of skin irritation from bites or from something unknown
  • For our families in the UK; we are very glad to see them on Skype, but miss them greatly.