A season for every activity under heaven

We can hardly believe it’s early March, and we are later than intended in posting this update. The days seem to fly by even more quickly as we get older. We have both turned 65 since we last wrote, are now proud owners of bus passes. Mark became virtually the last person in the UK to start getting his state pension at that age.

Teaching the essential skill of rolling out chapatis!

Teaching the essential skill of rolling out chapatis!

After excruciating stomach pains at the end of December, I, Barbara, ended up in hospital on my 65th birthday having emergency bowel surgery! I have been making a good recovery from that. We praise God for excellent (and free!) health care.

We love seeing our grandchildren frequently, but that has needed to be cut back a bit recently because of my health.

This has been a particularly busy time for Mark. On top of the regular work for Tumaini, he has spent a lot of time supporting me, and his mother is becoming noticeably frailer. Following two recent falls, we have just helped her move into a care home for respite care. The hope is that she will be able to return home with a suitable package of care.

And we continue with leading a church home group, and the church mission group too.

Tumaini

A lot has been happening at Tumaini. Members of the team attended and were fully booked offering counselling at four Africa Inland Mission conferences or similar gatherings in Kenya and nearby countries. And our daily work continues at full capacity, though we still need to turn away a majority of those seeking help due to having few clinical staff (though we always prioritise AIM missionaries).

In the National History Museum, London

In the National History Museum, London. Not quite the same as Nairobi National Park!

The couple who are both psychiatrists who have been working at Tumaini Kampala have now been there for two months, and have just returned to the US for the birth of their first child. They have indicated their hope to return to work with us after their baby is born, at least for a while. And one of our long-standing psychiatrists has very kindly moved from Nairobi to staff the Kampala centre until August.

We have accepted a German psychiatrist to join our team; she is able to come to Nairobi for three short visits each year, starting this April. We also have enquiries from a number of other specialist mental health personnel, but it is too early to know whether they will join us.

However, one of the new full-time therapists who joined us last September may need to leave this summer, as her daughter is not settling at all well in Kenya. We pray for clear direction for her and her family, confident that God will both meet their needs and ours. This is a reminder that we too face the same difficulties as other missionaries, and the cost of serving can be considerable – even while the blessings of following God’s call are multiplied.

This would leave just 3 full-time clinical staff working in Nairobi and 1 in Kampala, so the need for more committed long-term staff remains acute.

For the last couple of years, I have held two roles for Tumaini: I am both the Clinical Team Leader (CTL), overseeing the work of the Nairobi and Kampala centres and much of the administration, and I also handle the recruitment enquiries from people interested in finding out more about Tumaini or the possibility of working with us. This latter takes more time than it sounds, as many people enquire, but few see it through to actually come and work with us.

Mark & Barbara

Mark & Barbara –  on our 45th Wedding Anniversary

I have told the team that I would like to be released from the Clinical Team Leader role by the end of this year, though I will continue with the recruitment role until another member of the team who is returning to the US can take this over in 2020. At present it is not clear who will take over as CTL, but nonetheless I feel it is right to signal that it is time to hand this over in due course; I will have had the role for 6 years since I retired from my previous position at the University of Cambridge.

Please praise God with us for

  • For the work of the couple who were with us for a while in Kampala. Please pray too for the safe arrival of their baby due in April, and guidance for them about their future direction – whether to return to work with us or elsewhere
  • The new short-term psychiatrist joining our Nairobi team
  • Answers to prayer for professional staff cover in Kampala until August; but also for the provision of staff beyond that time.

And pray with us for

  • For clear direction and wisdom for our counsellor whose daughter is not doing well in Kenya
  • Further new staff to join us so that we can meet more of the requests for support that we receive from missionaries each week
  • Clarity about the timing and nature of the handover of the Clinical Team Leader role towards the end of this year.

And finally our ‘bug of the month’

Spotted at the Kenya coast, Sept 2018

(Well, we spotted it last September at the Kenya coast, actually)