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)
Throughout Kenya, harvest ranges from bountiful to meagre. Crops in those areas in which the rains came are looking very good while areas that have suffered prolonged drought have produced little. In some of the pastoralist areas animals die on a regular basis for lack of grass and livestock is often moved long distances in search of adequate pasture. And in addition to environmental pressures, rustling continues to be a problem.
Towards the end of September, the newly elected President Ruto watched an aid convoy setting off from Nairobi heading for north eastern Kenya, an area particularly affected by drought and famine conditions. In his address he recognised the current need but expressed his hope that, with properly directed long term planning, the need for aid convoys would become a thing of the past.
With the new government there is at least a desire for change, but it will require the support of many partner organisations to help fulfil this vision rather than relying on constant short-term interventions.
Participation at the September adult seminar was encouraging and it is evident that participants can visualize the opportunities and benefits that change in agricultural work practice can bring. The gospel is received by faith, but people do need to see change to continue the journey.
As well as seminar teaching sessions, we go on to the land to look at soil degradation and practical ways of dealing with issues and planning for improvement. It is encouraging to see a positive approach and the hard work by the women of the area has yielded excellent results with soil conservation ridges still producing grass despite a complete lack of rain since July. People see that change is possible and that they do not need to be dependent on others for everything.
During September, schools took a short holiday as term 2 ended and term 3 began. Although the time was insufficient for a youth camp it was good to see some of the students planning their own mini programme as they desire to fellowship with others and encourage one another in their faith. May they grow and mature.
- Give thanks that people are noticing that planning for change brings results.
- Give thanks for continued involvement of people from vulnerable villages in the Samburu Awareness and Action Programme.
- Pray that people would see the futility of cattle rustling which often leads to tit-for-tat shootings and that the supply of illegal guns would end.
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.