January dawned full of promise and quickly became a battleground.

On the 13th, his due date, our new grandson, Huxley James was born to our lovely daughter Christina and her wonderful husband James.
The delivery was very complicated and Huxley suffered considerably as the doctors fought to get him out. He was taken to the amazing neo-natal unit at St Thomas’s hospital, London and was in intensive care for 10 days. The prognosis was not good but he has so far exceeded clinical expectations. cutieHe came off the ventilator a week ago and is breathing beautifully. He was assessed for movement and sucking and there are some concerns but many positives. We have yet to see what his future needs will be. For now we watch, wait and pray with them all and enjoy this very beautiful latest addition to our family.

Liza’s trip to Kenya was hanging in the balance but with Huxley now stable we have all decided together to proceed with the trip.
Liza will arrive in Kenya next Friday the 3rd February and will begin preparations for the wheelchair distribution.

She’ll be blogging on a far more frequent basis than we have done of late so you have been duly warned!

Relinquishing and resuming

Autumn has given way to Advent and we are learning new lessons in how to both relinquish and resume our grip on all manner of things.

Liza really enjoyed her seven weeks back teaching- the boys face many challenges in their lives and learning and yet they have so much to offer, things they can teach us if we can only find the time to pause and listen, relinquishing our grip on how we think things should be.
David is still hopeful of finding gainful employment and in the interim he has been able to resume many of his skills and help to launch an ecumenical initiative in Chichester which will offer spiritual and pastoral support to older people.

After a break of four years, November saw us gathering with our family to celebrate Thanksgiving, this time with the additional blessing of the presence of two of our grandchildren. This in turn required a renewed willingness to relinquish our eldest daughter Lucy and family as they pursue their vocation to a parish in the Far North of New Zealand.

Meanwhile back in Kenya plans are going well for the next wheelchair distribution at Community Based Rehabilitation in Eldoret. Liza will fly out in February to join the diocesan team as once again they work with Wheels for the World to meet the needs of some of the most marginalised people in the community of the North Rift.

So we’re fairly busy in both being and doing and we are very much looking forward to resuming our family Christmas traditions later in the month.

A new season

We are now in our last month with our sending agency, Church Mission Society, and we are so very grateful and appreciative for our time together and their professionalism in preparing and sending us to Kenya, as well as our after care.

Our return to the UK has not been without its challenges.

David has not yet found work, but we are thankful as Liza has been welcomed with open arms by the school at which she taught before our departure, and the salary will meet our immediate needs.

We have been happy to re-connect with old friends and gradually pick up on the threads of UK living, always a challenge when one has been living cross-culturally.

Liza misses her Kenyan friends; she misses their kindness and selfless care for others, their resilience under pressure and their faithfulness to God and humanity even when they themselves have so little. Community Based Rehabilitation continues in our absence, as we hoped, but it remains woefully underfunded, and there is no obvious rescuer in sight on any horizon.

But we are encouraged by the news of the hard work of our friend Paul Korir, the newly appointed and first Bishop of Kapsabet. As we mentioned before, an example of his application is his rapid visit to the Borderlands (where David was carrying out peace-building work) as soon as trouble broke out- a new departure for the diocese. His energy and dedication to the health of the new diocese are breathtaking.

So as we have noticed the early signs of a new season here in the glorious countryside of West Sussex, we acknowledge that we personally are entering a new season and who knows what lies ahead? Just as when we first went to Kenya we greet each new opportunity with some trepidation and much joy!

Some mixed news

We are just back from the West Country where we went on retreat and then had a short break on the beautiful Isles of Scilly. It was a very special oasis of peace during these turbulent times. The referendum happened whilst we were away (we’d voted by post) and at the same time we also received some mixed news from Eldoret.

Down in the Borderlands where our colleagues continue to work hard for peace and stability, there have unfortunately been some serious outbreaks of violence. Several people have sustained injuries and there has also been loss of life. In part this has been due to a resurgence in cattle rustling but as ever these things are more complex than at first seems. This is now the run-up to next year’s general election so once again long-standing roots of conflict are sprouting new shoots which are being watered by some unscrupulous people in order to further their own ends.
We are very grateful that a friend of ours has been appointed as Bishop of the newly created Anglican diocese in the area. He is a remarkable man and within hours of the outbreak of trouble he was on the ground seeing what could be done to contain the situation. Where there are people like him and the grassroots peace activists working for the common good there will always be hope.

Bit like here really.

P.S. Several people have asked us  if we are going to talk again locally  about our work in Kenya  so we thought we’d let you know that we have been invited to take the sermon slot during the 11.00 am Eucharist at Chichester Cathedral on Sunday 17th July. You’d be very welcome to join us.