Answers to prayer – received, and still needed!

Mark & Barbara – attending a friend’s wedding

We can hardly believe that three glorious months of summer here in the UK have passed since writing our last blog.  It was warm, even hot, here from the second week in June until the second week in August, weather more typical of Nairobi than Cambridge.  We’ve been enjoying every minute, though we know that not everyone feels the same about the heat.

Tumaini

Meanwhile I, Mark, have been occupied with work for Africa Inland Mission’s Tumaini Counselling Centre.

We are preparing to welcome two new counsellors to Tumaini – one who was accepted back in 2016 and has taken two years to raise the needed financial support etc., and the other who applied in May this year and was already working as a counsellor in Africa for another mission, but has had to leave her location due to visa problems.  Their loss is definitely our gain!

We have also just had confirmation that a German psychiatrist and therapist, who is retiring from his practice in Germany, will be able to make repeated short-term visits to Tumaini from next year.

But we are also beginning to think ahead about losing two long-term members of our team during 2019 when they return to the US.  Their departure will be a very great loss, for they have worked at Tumaini a long time – one for 5 years, and the other was a founder of Tumaini and has worked there for 30 years!

However, after a very long period with virtually no interest from psychiatrists, psychologists or counsellors to come to work at Tumaini, we have had numerous enquiries over this last few months.  What this will actually lead to, we don’t yet know, but we leave this in God’s hands, confident that he will provide us the staff we need at the necessary time.

In our last blog I let you know that we had a colleague based in N Africa who would be working with us.   In the very week that we referred our first mission client to her, she was told by the authorities – quite out of the blue – that she and her family would have to leave the country where they had lived for 5 years.  This was in no way linked to her impending work for Tumaini; yet we see the hand of our spiritual enemy.  While we are all very disappointed, yet we are confident in God – who is the Master of using apparent defeat for his good purposes!

Talking of difficulties, please continue to pray for our little centre in Kampala.  With just two professional staff, one is leaving and returning to the US at the end of this month, and the other will be on ‘home assignment’ in Germany for 8 months from this coming December.  Despite the counsellors joining us, and the interest being shown, we do not yet have anyone who can staff that centre from the beginning of 2019.

Tumaini team for Restore

Once a year, Tumaini in Nairobi runs an intensive 2-week residential counselling retreat, called ‘Restore’. This took place last month, and 8 missionaries attended.  We are privileged to see people moving from a position of burn-out and thinking of leaving the mission field, coming away from this time reequipped and committed to further service.  Here is a picture of the Tumaini team who worked together on Restore.

Home Assignment Conference and upcoming trip to Nairobi

In July we enjoyed a week of refreshment and relaxation with some good Bible teaching at the AIM Home Assignment conference at Swanwick.  Mark was asked to lead a session on the subject of ‘Transitions’, which was very well received (– of course! (B) 😉 )

[Several times in the past I have been asked to speak on some topic of other, and soon after found that the material was of most use in my own life, as some development made it relevant to ourselves.  So, I wonder why God wanted me to be thinking about transitions at this point in time!]

We will be in Kenya for most of September, and we are very much looking forward to seeing colleagues and friends again, and catching up on work face to face.  We are also excited to be able to spend a week at the coast with two colleagues from Tumaini.

Family news

The joys of being Grandpa!

Life with our grandchildren has continued as before, though we are aware of them growing up before our very eyes.  Our granddaughter has completed one year of school already, and is just turning 5 years old.  Our grandson is a delightful boy who loves buses and snakes – probably typical for a 2-year-old!  They are both adventurous children, and have a go on any equipment at the local park – “look at me upside down!”.  We are looking after them more than usual over the summer holidays, so we are happily enjoying grandparenthood!

Other family news – Mark’s mother, now in her 90s, is beginning to feel her age, and we are keeping in touch with her and going to visit more often these days, and thinking what extra care she is going to need.

Please praise God with us for:

  • The ability to work for Tumaini from a distance, and the opportunity to actually be with the team in person in September
  • The new counsellors starting in September and the interest being shown by others

And pray with us:

  • For the ongoing need for professional staff, particularly in our Kampala centre
  • For the member of our team, and her family, having to leave her home in N Africa at very short notice
  • For energy and wisdom as we support our grandchildren and Mark’s mother.

 

Bug of the month!

And here is our ‘bug of the month’ – a cheat this time, I’m afraid, seen in a children’s playground! Where else??