On the 14th May we went with someone from AIM Personnel who took us to the Kenyan Immigration Office in Nairobi. There we were fingerprinted and had our passports stamped to show that our work permits had been approved. The process took a couple of hours, but was relatively smooth. From that time, we have been able to legally “work”! However, we still needed to wait for our new ID cards to arrive, which, amongst other things will enable us to get a Kenya driving licence, buy a car – and pay tax!
*** STOP PRESS: our ID cards were issued a couple of days ago! PTL ***
Tumaini arranged a ‘Welcome chai’ for the new staff i.e. Mark and also Soohyun, (a Korean psychiatrist who is also joining the team). Although we have been here for 5 months or so, this was an official welcome following the issue of work permits. (Perhaps the sub-text was ‘it’s time to do some work now!’?) Here is a new picture of the team – you can click on the photos to see them larger if you want.
Barbara held her first English class on campus the day after we had our work permits approved. As she had already met with several students who wanted this additional help, they were raring to go, as was Barbara! By the following week she had 3 lessons per week on the go and is currently teaching an extra class per week to cover for a colleague who is away. Her students are studying theology at the university, and – coming from various countries across Africa – need to improve their English in order to progress; English is often their 3rd or 4th language! They include a couple who are church-planters in Ethiopia and a Christian lawyer from Madagascar whose aim is to represent the poor in his community.
It looks as if her schedule will keep changing as students come and go. At the end of term, some students will stay on campus and others may return to their home countries until September. (One student recently announced that was going with a friend to Uganda for a few weeks to teach some people how to “cultivate with cows”. Barbara completely misunderstood this, thinking he was talking about dairy or beef farming. Eventually, she understood that he meant that he was going to help with ploughing using oxen!)
I have been at Tumaini more or less full-time for a while and have been helping the Clinical Team Leader with some of the administrative workload. However, my counselling work started more gradually, but I am now counselling regularly again; it feels good to resume after nearly a year! I quickly see the validity of the statement on the Tumaini website: “The missionary life can be an adventure. God makes no promises as to how we will fare in this endeavour, except for Jesus’ sobering words that we can expect trouble; there may be triumphs, but there will be hardships as well”.
Last week I was at an AIM leadership conference. While others were coming from all over Africa, I just had to travel 3 miles down the road – very convenient, and wonderful teaching! It enabled me to get a much bigger picture of AIM’s work across Africa, its priorities and vision, and to put many faces to names.
Earlier this week I led an introductory session on online counselling for the team. Tumaini is keen to be able to offer more support to those who are at some distance from Nairobi, and we are exploring the options together.
You may remember that I was involved in a video-shoot not long after arriving, for which the whole Tumaini team had to dress up as garage mechanics. The resulting 6-minute video has just been published – it is AIM’s first comedy! My particular part amounts to just a few seconds, which is probably just as well. You can see it at http://vimeo.com/97428873
Last Sunday, we had the joy of linking up with a visitor from Cambridge who contacted us via mutual friends. She spends some of her working time in Nairobi and it was so encouraging to talk with someone from ‘home’. We met at our church and enjoyed Bible study together, the service and lunch out together afterwards.
Some of our Bible study group members led the service on 15th June; Mark read the Bible passages. The theme was the importance of Bible study and we wanted to encourage more people to join such groups. Although it means an early start to Sundays, for those of us who can go, it is a real encouragement. As you can see above, we meet in a tent in the church grounds.
The second picture here shows people chatting after the Service in front of the church building.
We were delighted that one of the pastors is picking up the suggestion of a new mid-week home group near our home, as there are quite a few members who live nearby. We pray that this can come into being.
Barbara was pleased to discover recently, a reprint of the Good News version of the English-Kiswahili Bible. This is going to be very helpful for teaching English and for sharing the Gospel.
Barbara is also very pleased to be harvesting spinach, lettuces, celery and herbs from our small ‘shamba’, which continues to be a talking point.
We continue with Swahili lessons twice a week. We need to work harder at listening and speaking; constructing sentences on paper which are more or less correct is one thing, but listening and speaking ‘in the wild’ is quite another… Still, we are making progress.
When we arrived in Africa, it was the hottest time of the year and we have adjusted to the warmer climate. Now, as we are getting towards the coolest months of the year here (the seasons are reversed from the UK), we are surprised to feel quite cold when the temperature drops to 21C; I even put on a jumper this week!
If you are the praying kind, please pray:
Give thanks with us:
- for our work permits being approved last month and our ID cards arriving now
- the possibility of a new church Bible study group starting in our area
- that we are getting to know more people in the church and community
And please pray with us for:
- security in Kenya, and that the message of the Bible will cause Christians to respond to felt threats with the love of Christ
- the work of Tumaini in supporting missionaries from many organisations
- some ongoing dental problems for Barbara which have been painful, that these may be resolved
- safety on the roads as we travel