After about a month back home, living in the UK just seemed fairly normal again, though Mark’s dreams have remained of life in Nairobi. This has led to a strange sense of dislocation and some surprise on waking up in the ‘wrong’ place.
I (Barbara) have had more of a sense akin to amnesia while back in the UK, wondering why on earth I have forgotten the last two years in the UK, while I was actually in Kenya!
We have been blessed by living in our home with family. I hadn’t really understood others’ excitement at having grandchildren until this time. They are a delight, though the younger – being a baby – certainly takes up more than his share of time and space! Here is a recent picture.
After two very busy months meeting with people and speaking, we spent much of March being unwell – just coughs, flu and bronchitis – but going on long enough to test our patience. Nonetheless, we have coughed and spluttered our way through a variety of talks and presentations, though fortunately our diaries were somewhat quieter.
We had put aside a week at the start of April to have a holiday, but had dithered over booking anything.
However, God surprised and blessed us when friends in our church said that we could house-sit at their home while they were away. This is within the same village where we live, so we ended up really enjoying a quiet week in another house less than a mile away. We were able to rest and enter into the spirit of ‘being on holiday’ albeit on very familiar territory!
Talks and presentations
We have continued to be surprised and blessed by the level of interest in and support for the work we are doing, so have continued to meet with people and speak to groups.
Mark was also asked to lead a number of sessions at the AIM European Based Orientation for new AIM missionaries about to go out to various parts of Africa. Two sessions were on ‘Transitions and Adjustment’ – a very familiar topic, but it was good to remind ourselves that God’s aim is to have us rely more on Him, and not simply to grow in self-confidence. The other sessions were on Suffering, and again, it was good to remember that in this world God uses suffering to mature his followers – which is very different to the common notion in the world that all suffering is bad and must be avoided if possible (…not that Christians seek out suffering!)
I am delighted that the new Tumaini Counselling Centre in Kampala opened in March. Here is a picture of Judith, the Lead Clinician, and our Ugandan staff, Faith and Imelda. There is a second counsellor preparing to come from the USA to Kampala to join this small team, starting in September, God willing. We look forward to his arrival.
Staffing remains a matter for urgent prayer for both Nairobi and Kampala – as we know of plans for some of the current staff to leave later this year or next, but no-one with firm plans to come, apart from the one mentioned above to Kampala. Please pray.
Preparing to return to Nairobi
It’s only two weeks until we fly back to Nairobi, so our minds are already full of returning and preparations are well in hand. Soon it will be time to say ‘goodbye again’ to family and friends, which we anticipate will be hard.
We fly on 28th April and start work again on 2nd May with a ‘bang’. On the 2nd I will be going to Nakuru (a 4-hour drive north of Nairobi) with a Tumaini colleague for us to lead a session with AIM Personnel Officers from every continent that sends missionaries to Africa. Also on that day Barbara starts 2 weeks of teaching with Bible translators from around Africa who work with Wycliffe. Please pray that we will be prepared for these important tasks.
Towards the end of May I will be going to Tanzania for a week to lead some sessions for leaders in the AIM ‘Training in Missionary Outreach’ (TIMO) programme.
It will be good to get back into the roles to which we have been called for this time.
We expect to remain in Nairobi until about July 2017 and then return to the UK.
If you are the praying kind…
Please give God praise:
- For our time in the UK
- That the new Kampala centre is now open and working
- For renewed health, strength and energy as we are still recovering from recent illness
- Our goodbyes and return to Nairobi on 28th April
- Preparations for the work we are involved in straight after arriving
- The staffing needs at Tumaini in both Nairobi and Kampala