We are back in the UK for our ‘home assignment’, so what were our first impressions on arriving back?
- The sun is in the wrong place in the sky
- There are lights and signs everywhere and everyone is rushing
- People drink water straight out of the tap and go out in the evening without even thinking about their safety
- People drive very fast, and generally keep the rules of the road but they don’t let you in at junctions. (In Nairobi it is the other way around.)
- And England isn’t always grey and drizzling; it is more beautiful than we remember!
- But simple living is not so easy here.
It has been great to see our families, of course, to meet our grandson for the first time, and to see our granddaughter, who was just 4 months old when we left. She was understandably slightly cautious to start with, but within 10 minutes asked for “a big hug”, which we were very happy to give! They are 3 months and 2½ now and change in some way every day.
We are living in our own home, where our son and his family are also currently living, so it took a while to learn how to live in our house with them, their furniture and belongings. We were initially disorientated trying to find things, when nothing is where it used to be.
Home assignment is not just a time to reconnect with family, but also with those who support us with prayer and finance.
It has been a surprise to us how many people want to meet with us, and we have been invited to 3 or 4 such get-togethers each week. We have also given talks at churches, prayer meetings and I have preached at our home church.
Recently, we went to the AIM-Europe headquarters in Nottingham to talk over our two years in Kenya and also to think ahead. We greatly appreciate all they do behind the scenes to support us and other AIM missionaries.
We expect to return to Nairobi at the end of April, so we are already half-way through our home assignment. Despite warnings from missionary friends in Nairobi before coming back not to do too much at the start, we have, and now feel tired, sometimes overwhelmed and rather unsettled, living in a ‘no man’s land’. Where is our home?
It’s hard to find time for quiet reflection and to think, so we have just taken a short retreat – to have some space to relax, think and pray – and then a few days being tourists in London.
We receive no salary for our time in Nairobi; it is funded by individuals and churches who support us, as well as by my work pension and income from renting our home. Our supporters pay for our flights to & from Africa, our housing costs (rent, water, security), and all the support we receive from AIM. We are able to pay for all our day-to-day living costs.
We need to raise about £200 per month in additional financial support for the coming 18 months or so. If you can help us in this way please either contact us direct, or go to: http://eu.aimint.org/thephippens/
We expect to be back in Nairobi from May until about July 2017.
Meanwhile, others in the Tumaini team are working hard to prepare the new Kampala counselling centre for opening soon. The preparations are coming on well and an Open House event is planned for Saturday 5th March.
We will also need to do a fair amount of preparation before we return, as we both expect to bounce straight into long-standing work commitments from our first day back – teaching English to Bible translators, and talks representing Tumaini.
Please give thanks with us for:
- Safe travels back to the UK and reconnections with family and friends
- The opportunity to connect with so many supporters and others interested in mission
And please pray with us:
- For energy to organise and use our time well while in the UK
- To represent the work of AIM well to the people we meet
- For the preparations and opening of Tumaini Kampala in March
- The needed funding for the coming 18 months
We expect to post our next blog in mid-April, shortly before we return to Kenya.
And finally, here is our bug of the month
As it’s cold and we have mostly been indoors, we haven’t seen any interesting UK bugs, but here is one we saw in Nairobi to remind us of what we are missing!