I, Mark, continue to work more than half-time with the Tumaini Counselling Centres in Nairobi and Kampala as their Clinical Team Leader, albeit from 4,300 miles away sitting in my room near Cambridge – moving in and out of time zones as I climb the stairs! Barbara continues to support me by supplying me with cups of coffee and food, and by reminding him to adjust to BST after he has been liaising with colleagues in Kenya!
When we last wrote, three months ago, the team was feeling under considerable pressure. In many ways that is still the case, but we have some exciting developments to tell you about.
First, after a long period of getting no applications from people wanting to work with us long-term, we have just received three within a week – two to join us long-term and one from a psychiatrist offering repeated month-long visits each year. There have also been some other enquiries, but it is too early to say what will come of these. Please pray for each of these people, that God’s will be done, both regarding their future and our needs.
The second piece of good news is that our new staff accommodation was completed and opened on time, and the first of the four units is already occupied. Another is reserved for a counsellor who will be joining us in August; one is being kept for short-term visitors and has already been in use. The final unit is not yet allocated but we think it will be soon. The picture shows the completed building. However, we still need to pay off a sizeable loan – please see the Tumaini website for more pictures or if you can help with funding.
As well as working on the administration for the Tumaini centre, I have been doing an amount of distance counselling and supervision. It is a joy to be able to continue to support missionaries directly, in this case people working in Ethiopia and Kenya. For some people, with some issues, distance counselling offers a suitable and convenient support. But the main basis of the work of Tumaini is to be able to support missionaries face to face on the field, and distance work will not be suitable for the majority.
The Kampala Centre
The leader of our Kampala centre has had to be back in Germany in order to get medical treatment, but I’m glad that she will be back in Kampala in June after four months away. We have also heard that our other counsellor in Kampala will be leaving us to move to other member case work at the end of August. This little centre, with its faithful team, has been through considerable difficulty – under spiritual attack we would say – since it opened in 2016. But the need amongst missionaries working in some difficult areas – including South Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic and DR Congo – is considerable. Having talked and prayed with our team and other leaders in Africa Inland Mission, we are convinced the Centre should remain open. So please pray with us for God to release the needed staff!
Support in North Africa
For quite some while we have been quietly working towards having a Tumaini presence in North Africa. There are many people working across N Africa. Gospel work in these countries is not welcomed and those working there can have a tough time. Recently the necessary preparations have been completed, and a new member of our team based in N Africa is about to start offering counselling. For obvious reasons there will not be a ‘Tumaini N Africa’ building, so we are finding ways for our services to be accessible to those who need this kind of support.
Nairobi in September?
Barbara and I hope to visit Nairobi in September. I have been asked to give a presentation to an AIM conference at the end of that month, and it would be a good opportunity to touch base with colleagues in person, including the one new member of the team due to arrive at the end of August. Moreover, Barbara has not had the opportunity to return since we left our Nairobi home in a hurry in mid-2016. So this would enable her to see and say proper goodbyes to former colleagues and students with whom she was working.
We continue to support family and have our grandchildren to stay over weekends. They are 4 and 2, and it’s wonderful to see them growing and developing so fast, with the energy and excitement typical of children that age.
We have had time for a few days of relaxation, where this picture was taken at an aviary in the lovely town of Bury St Edmunds.
Please pray with us, praising God for:
- recent applications to Tumaini
- the opportunity to support people working in N Africa
- good health and a settled time at home
And please pray with us for
- God to sustain the counselling team in Nairobi and Kampala while they are so few, and for wisdom as they receive more requests for help than they can respond to
- For the future staffing and work of the Kampala Centre
- For the application process for those interested in joining us to be straightforward, as they trust God to make clear and provide for each step
And finally … the bug of the month
Here is a butterfly spotted in Nairobi last February.