Serving with PCI’s partners, The Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), the Cowans have worked among the Samburu and Turkana peoples of Samburu North district in Northern Kenya since 1989 with the focus of their work being in Tuum.
In the Samburu District, the approach to mission needs to take into account the peoples nomadic lifestyle, the lack of pasture for their cattle and camels, and sporadic unrest, violence and cattle raiding.
Along with their Kenyan colleagues, the Cowans are engaged in helping people to help themselves through training and skills development, whilst also sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and nurturing those who have come to faith.
Stephen co-ordinates the work of the Samburu Awareness and Action Programme (SAAP), encourages leadership development, and manages project finances.
Angelina devotes much of her time to home-schooling and hospitality as she looks after the SAAP guesthouse and any visitors who come to Tuum. She also acts as a ‘listening ear’ to many of the young girls who come to the SAAP Camp, as it is known locally.
Building choices, both literally and figuratively, were the hallmarks of Tuum as December slowly melted towards the hottest season.
As 350 excited children exited the bus and several land-rovers, a happy chaos reigned over the whole Samburu Awareness and Action compound for the following 10 days. A less happy chaos was ongoing in the construction area of the new camp kitchen where the building team eventually managed to complete the basics and our ever-patient cook was enabled to move from a bush barbecue set-up into his new premises.
‘Building choices’ were also being made within the various camp teaching sessions and activities. The committed Nairobi-based team was encouraging the children and later the youth to choose God’s way for the present, the future and eternity.
Slowly, students began arriving for the new academic year at Tuum Girls’ Secondary School. The hard work of the dedicated teaching staff has become better known in the whole district, and more parents are choosing to send their daughters here.
Important choices have to be made after secondary school education. Despite much guidance and long discussions, students are tempted to choose courses which are not suited to their abilities or interests, and have little prospect or opportunity for future employment. Sometimes sensible choices are overruled by traditional cultural practices or even by the corruption of vulnerable young adults by those who promise the unobtainable. Regrettably, these choices made in a moment of passion or desperation pull down and destroy years of learning and sound advice.
Thankfully, some school leavers with Samburu Awareness and Action financial support, choose the opportunity to attend discipleship programmes at YWAM or iServe Africa, thus giving them time to mature and involve God in ‘the next choice’.
Torrential November rains and a previously unknown underground waterway have caused the guest house pit-latrine, water tank and platform to sink into itself. Ironically, the chosen site for a new pit latrine has been baked rock-hard by the unrelenting sun and has had to be softened with buckets of water before digging. Although the hole is shallow and the surrounding iron sheeting-wall temporary, the seven French tourists, translators, donkey handlers and guides who arrived on its completion were pleasantly surprised by the ‘facilities’ and overwhelmed by the care and kindness shown to them.
- Pray that the many visitors who pass through Tuum would further investigate and choose to follow the Living God whom they encounter through his people here.
- Continue to pray for wisdom for the young people making choices and decisions.
- Pray for energy for us all as we struggle through the hottest season of the year.
General Prayer Points
- The gospel to be evidently working in the new girls’ secondary school.
- Men and women to see the relevance of the Word of God to their lives and by His Holy Spirit respond to God's call to follow and serve Him.
- The youth camps as they seek to reach young people.
- The projects, including honey-marketing and improved cattle breeds, which seek to show that Christians care about people’s lives, especially men.
- Daily health and safety of each member of the family, and particularly for Stephen who regularly as he regularly drives long distances on rough and often dangerous roads.
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