Pause for Thought July 2017

My wife and I have just returned from a short trip to Kenya to see our son and his family there.  We’re very familiar with that country, as Pam grew up in Kenya and we later lived there together for six years.  Over the years, I also made many work visits to Kenya and elsewhere in East and Southern Africa. 

But how things have changed in the Region since I first lived in Africa.  For six months in the early 1970’s I was at a mission hospital in what is now the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.  Communications then were not easy to say the least!  My journey there (by sea, train and bus) took me nearly a month, and it was several more weeks before any news came to me from the UK.  Of course there was no email or internet 45 years ago, but you couldn’t even phone internationally from the hospital, and letters took almost a month to reach home.  So keeping in touch from there with family was certainly quite a challenge. 

And now what a contrast we have: actually getting to Nairobi for our recent visit simply involved a drive down to Heathrow and a day-flight of 8 hours; and when there, we were able to “Skype” back to the UK on a daily basis.  Having such easier contact with our children and grand-children is a real blessing, especially as we watch the little ones grow and develop. 

But more than this, modern communications allow us to see much more about life and living conditions elsewhere in the world.  Our latest trip to Kenya reminded us both about the beauty of that country and its wonderful people, and also about some of hardships there: the continuing drought situation and lack of food, new challenges of army worm attacking the crops, the fear of insecurity across the border in Somalia, insidious corruption and inequality, pervasive poverty and lack of jobs. 

Beyond our personal links with the Region, I am delighted that the churches in our benefice already have several existing and new partnerships with East Africa, including with the Diocese of Taita-Taveta in Kenya (where Revd Dave Maylor will go this summer), and with Kisiizi Hospital and the Chilli Children Project in Uganda.

So as we thoroughly enjoy contact with family abroad and the advantages of international communications, so too I challenge myself not to take our own privileges and advantages of living in the UK for granted.  God calls us to live compassionate lives, concerned for justice and the welfare of others.  Modern communications technology helps to keep this challenge in front of our eyes, and I pray that we will all look for opportunities to “see” this and to respond generously to the needs of others. 

You can find out more about the church’s parterships in these areas online:

Kisiizi Hospital, Uganda

Chilli Children Project in Uganda

Diocese of Taita-Taveta in Kenya


“Pause for Thought” this month comes from Mike Mills
Reader in the Benefice of Barnack with Ufford and Bainton
Telephone: 01780 740285