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