News from Kenya - June 2017
A prayer letter from Ian & Hilda McMillan, Elim missionaries in Kenya.
Sorry for the long gap since our last letter. This year's planning has been affected by the need for further attention to Hilda's eye and by the political situation in Kenya with the presidential election coming up in August. However we are currently well into a 3-month stay in Kenya and will be returning to Scotland on 5th July.
Following the retina surgery last year, Hilda's right eye developed a fast-growing cataract, and she had this operated on in January. The operation was straightforward but a complication then developed: swelling on the retina. This was successfully treated in Glasgow and we were able to return to Kenya. Not long after we were back, the swelling returned, but she was able to have this treated by a specialist in Nairobi. We believe this has now healed, but she is to have another scan to check it. This is to be done in Kisii, which is just over an hour's drive from here, so much more convenient, but when we went there on Monday we found that the scanner had just broken down. Frustrations, but we are thankful for good doctors on both continents!
Here in Kosele we have been involved in our usual activities, helping particularly with the Children's Home and the church. With Terry and Judi back in the UK just now, a little more falls on us. There has been a lot of sickness in the schools and the community, and Hilda is often in demand for an opinion on how to give someone help. Last week we sent a 9-month-old boy to the small local hospital because we were so concerned about him. He is HIV-positive and was in hospital for a week being treated for diarrhoea, dehydration and chest infection.
This week we have just completed a two-day “Encountering God” programme in the church, which we were leading along with
Dorine, her husband Dennish, Collins and Effie. There had been a long gap since the last Encounter, and we were praying that it would go well. Nine church members came and we saw the Holy Spirit at work through the teaching and ministry. Many were able to forgive family members or those who had caused them real pain in their life. We pray that the impact for each one will be real and permanent. There is another Encounter planned soon, this time for youth.
The Children's Home is a bit smaller now – only 17 children, from age 3 to 8. Of these, seven are in their last two years at Secondary School and are studying pretty seriously. We also have five children under 10, and often there are young children of the dorm mothers staying overnight, so we have this group of young ones in the evenings. Actually the children all get on well together – most of the time! Caroline, Asca and Mikal are away at a vocational training school where they are doing well, learning tailoring or hairdressing.
The schools are going well and are achieving good results academically (Kenya's education system is very competitive and we are constantly able to compare our schools' performance against all the other schools, locally and nationally). We are thankful to have a good team – Thomas and Juliet – leading the secondary school, and to have Josephine still with us heading up the primary school.
As we mentioned previously, life in rural Kenya is undergoing rapid social and economic change. The support structure of traditional society and family has almost disappeared, and harmful influences from outside are changing young people's expectations. With the growth in access to secondary education, young people who would previously have been economically active – and married – are now continuing at school. One result of this is an increase in the number of schoolgirls becoming pregnant, and our school has not been immune to this. Millie and the teachers have recently been involved in trying to support some of our day scholars who are pregnant. We pray for them, and for the other students that they will make good choices.
We have now been in Kenya for 6 years, although with extended breaks back in Paisley. As we are both now over 65, and as things are changing here, we are beginning to wonder about our future, and would appreciate your prayers that we would hear clearly from God as to where he wants us to be and how we should be spending our time.
more about the McMillans
for those people who have just completed the Encounter, that they will not lose any of the spiritual blessings they have just received
for the next Encounter we will be involved in, for youth on 20th-21st June
for our involvement with the young people, children and staff in the Home
for the schoolgirls who are pregnant, and for staff involved in guidance to all our students
for Elim Gospel Church Kenya's outreach to the drought-stricken region of Turkana, from 6th-13th June
for Terry and Judi, currently back in the UK with their family
for our hearing God about our future