Stephen and Angelina have been serving amongst the Samburu and Turkana people in Samburu County in northern Kenya since 1989. They serve with PCI's partner in Kenya, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) and are based in Tuum with other strategic outposts at Seren and Wuaso Rongai.
Their work of the past 30 years has built a strong foundation, introducing the Bible and Jesus to the Samburu and Turkana people. This has been done in many practical ways, as well as preaching. See Samburu Awareness and Action Programme (SAAP). Cultural thinking is still very strong, and only a few families would seek to put Biblical values above cultural expectations.
Their work is predominantly relational. They have built trust with communities taking interest in their animals. Gospel community has been established in many villages. Stephen and Angelina are teaching life skills, challenging young people to understand the changing world, while always teaching the central message of Jesus across cultures and generations.
This work is people centred, and recognises the value of people's animals as the main livelihood. The geographical isolation has helped them develop some good survival skills. Unfortunately increasing population means hardships are increasing and change will come. Improved infrastructure will lead to further marginalisation of the semi nomadic community, if they fail to incorporate change. Living the gospel has helped people see the Bible has the answers for drought, work, family and hope through Jesus for eternity
Stephen and Angelina have three children. Caragh and Jason are now in further / higher education in the UK. Annissa is still at boarding school in Kenya. Stephen and Angelina have close links with Waringstown Presbyterian Church, and links have also been maintained with Newry Presbytery.
Stephen has continued to serve in Tuum throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Angelina the first nine months of the pandemic in Ireland to home school their youngest daughter who normally attends boarding school in Kenya as the school closed. However when Kenyan schools reopened in January 2021, they returned to Kenya. Schools in Kenya have fairly strict protocols in place and education now continues uninhibited.
General Prayer Points
- Pray for the Kenyans, mostly Samburu, who are growing in leadership.
- Pray for Stephen and Angelina, as they ask the difficult questions as the gospel penetrates hearts and minds.
- Pray for the expanding youth ministry, and the three youth camps held each year.
- Pray that the wider PCEA would catch a vision for greater involvement in outreach amongst the Samburu and Turkana people.
Stephen and Angelina have recorded two film clips (a short 3 minute clip and longer 15 minute clip) which can be downloaded and used in church services, prayer meetings or events to raise awareness and prayer for what God is doing across the world, as we seek to go deep and wide in global mission involvement.
(For previous Digital Dispatches video clips click here)
Good teamwork is essential and effective, and often quietly threads through the decades. The Samburu Awareness and Action (SAA) programme has grown slowly over many years. What began as a tent under an acacia tree has expanded exponentially to form a large central area. This area consists of the garage and workshop, the central office, the church/teaching hall and dormitories, the honey processing and bottling factory, the camel boma (enclosure), the vegetable garden and trial plots for grasses, a water tank and tower and three guest houses. This expansion has not been achieved easily or by any one individual. Many people have been involved, each gaining experience and contributing in the process, then moving on to various other roles throughout the county and country. We are grateful to each person who has played an unique part in the constantly evolving work, and for those who continue in the present leadership team.
There has also been much support and team participation from outside the area as visitors and groups help extend the boundaries of God’s kingdom through physical, financial and prayerful participation. We are always working against a background of strong cultural practices and beliefs and frequently, drought. Tried and tested development methods used in other regions are often not relevant or effective, and we constantly need to draw on God’s wisdom and provision.
We continuously look to new contributors to play their part through financial commitment and spatial development. Recently a piece of land bordering the secondary school has been fenced and protected from overgrazing. ‘Bunds’ or ‘earth smiles’ have been dug by the ‘tree watering and weeding team’ who, through their work, fund a family member’s attendance at secondary school. These half-moon water bunds have been promoted by an organisation called Justdiggit. Semi-circular pits, about 3m in diameter, are dug into rainwater run off slopes and the small mound of soil at the back of the pit help retain captured surface water. This enables seeds within the vicinity of the bund to germinate and develop vegetation cover. This ‘regreening of Africa’ is not going to happen quickly, but a landscape increasingly denuded by overgrazing, mismanagement and drought needs the possibility of a future.
We will be on home assignment in the autumn and doing deputation. Sundays are fully booked, but there is availability during the week. Contact Beverley in the Mission Department on email@example.com to make a booking.
Pray for the upcoming elections in Kenya and the aspiring politicians in this area. Many on the campaign teams have previously benefitted from and contributed to the SAA programme.
Give thanks for those who are willing to consider and implement new ideas.
Give thanks for the leadership team of SAA and pray they will be aware of God’s leading.
To download a printable PDF of this bulletin or for a previous bulletin visit the Mission Reports listing at the top or the Global Mission monthly bulletin archive.