Monday, 23 May 2011


Last week I attended a week long course on Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills (SYIS)  by the Mobile Member Care Team (MMCT).  This course is designed that those who go through it might help others in their own organisation.  The task it too big to rely solely on professional care-givers and so Christian leaders must take some responsibility also to help those who struggle both with personal, interpersonal and work related problems.

Some of the areas we covered this past week were:

Looking at relationship killers
Listening skills
Drawing people out
Helping other solves problems
Confronting well including receiving confrontation well
Building trust
Lving in community
Managing conflicts
Helping others grieve well
Managing stress
Maintaining margin
The battle for moral purity
Being an encourager

The course was designed with lots of interaction, practice times, discussions, as well as theory.  Now the big question is what do I do with it all now.  The first thing I am planning is to look at ways that MAF can incorporate a more structured way of doing Member Care.  How that will look in reality is not clear yet but definately a goal worth pursuing.  I will keep you updated as to the developments that take place.

If you would like to know more about the Mobile Member Care Team you can visit their website at

Monday, 9 May 2011

Furlough looms

I am not sure where the time has gone in 2011 as it feels like Christmas wasn't that long ago.  Be that as it may the reality is that we are in now in the month of May and our furlough starts in June.

We have been looking at ways to make our furlough more efficient in the sense of getting round to see as many people as we can.  We appreciate that many of you support us both in prayer and through finances and that it would be good for us to touch base with you.  The way that we are going to do that is to have two regional events, one in Dundee and one in Edinburgh.  The one in Dundee will be held at Broughty Ferry Baptist Church and the one in Edinburgh will be at Wester Hailes Baptist Church.

If you would like to attend either one of these events then the dates and times are noted below:-

Broughty Ferry Baptist Church
Dundee area
28 June 2011

Wester Hailes Baptist Church
3 July 2011

We will also be speaking at Simon's home church in Meilen, Switzerland.

21 August 2011

If you would like more information then please do get in contact with us regarding either of these events.

If you would like to meet us on a one to one basis it would be help if you would contact us direct at and then we can set up a day and time.

We look forward to catching up with you and thank WHBC, BFBC and Chrischona Meilen for being willing to open their churches for us that we might share what God is doing through us in MAF in Uganda.  We also thank the team at MAF Scotland for being involved in the organisation of the event in Dundee.

If you have any further questions or queries then you can contact us at the email address above.

Sorry to those friends and supporters in the States as we will not be going Stateside this furlough.  One of these days we do hope to make it. :)

Friday, 6 May 2011

Just another day in the air....

Usually when I ask Simon how his day has gone I get the standard answer fine, went either according to plan or almost :).  Yesterday when I asked him the same question he said yes ok although one of the planes had a problem with its alternator and had to cut short its flight and return to MAF's aistrip in order to be fixed.    However, the pilot returned the plane and picked up another plane to complete some of the stops.  Due to this Simon's day didn't turn out as it was originally planned and a lot of dialogue went on to ensure that passengers weren't inconvenienced too much by this unplanned problem and help was given by the staff in Juba, Sudan also in order for the passengers to make it to their intended destination.

Today Simon was supposed to fly to Bunia, East DRC but the days plan changed again as the MAF Congo team's plane was in for maintenance and couldn't complete a flight that had been planned for.  Simon picked up the charter and was able to combine that with his shuttle run to Bunia.  He will now do an interior flight within Congo.  I believe, he hasn't been to these strips before so it will be something new for him.

I realise more and more you have to be flexible in this "job" as you never know what a day is going to bring. For the pilots it just another day in the "office".

MAF Congo team have asked for prayer due to the LRA (rebel group) being active in the northern parts of E DRC.  They carried out attrocities in Uganda in the past years but have now moved into E DRC and other places.  Just recently there was an attack on two towns.  Pray for those who have suffered at the hands of the LRA.   It is unimaginable the suffering that these people have gone through.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Member Care

Some of you might remember last year I did a course with the Mobile Member Care Team on How to Manage Crisis.  This was a course designed to help people who have gone through a trauma whether it be within their own mission but not limited to.  We addressed issues such as grief and loss, chronic stress, burnout, anxiety and depression to list just a few.  It was a very helpful course and so I have been working towards becoming a peer responder.  One who would be a point of contact to help someone manage a crisis that they have just gone through or presently going through.  In two weeks time I will be attending another course by the Mobile Member Care Team on Sharpening your Interpersonal Skill (SYIS).  During this time I will be discussing with MMCT how I can get more involved in this line of work.  The plan is to then be able to develop this kind of support within MAF if a need arises.  More talks on how this would work will be addressed with someone from MAF International in September.

As you might be aware missionaries/ex pats living overseas can face different circumstances than people from their own home countries.  Armed robberies, unrest, car hijacking, insecurity are just a few things that can happen on a fairly regular basis in some countries that people serve in.  Often times there is not a support network in place to help people who have been through a trauma hence the reason a MMCT East Africa branch has been opened up.  It is great to have people on the field with the expertise to help people through a crisis.  This can be a major deciding factor on whether the individual or family concerned remain on the field.  We hope by developing this support network within MAF and leaning on the expertise of the MMCT that MAF missionaries and national staff will feel supported when they go through a difficult situation.

In addition to this I have been asked to go on their Advisory Council.  The purpose of the Advisory Council ... "is to help the EA team understand member care needs and priorities in the region, to give feedback about how people are using our services and how we might improve, and to encourage and pray for the EA team."

I am honoured to have this opportunity and to gain experience from those in this field.  The first meeting of the Advisory Council will be in Nairobi, at the end of August, when we return from furlough.  I will keep you up to date as to how it all goes and what developments might take place.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Peace within but not peace without

We are getting used to Uganda having security issues but last Friday went to a whole new level.  There was widespread chaos around Kampala which you can read about in detail on the BBC or other news websites.  This would not be the right place to talk politics :)  The results for us and for many meant that we were to stay at home until it subsdided.  Thankfully we were getting regular updates from the B* High Commission as to where to avoid and where the main problem areas were.  For some weeks now there has been a strong police presence and that is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Simon ended up doing an extra flight to Congo in the afternoon due to the pilot who was scheduled to do the flight not being able to get to the airstrip because of the insecurity.  Simon on his way home from the airstrip witnessed the aftermath of rioting on Entebbe Road with rocks and evidence of burning tyres etc. Doesn't seem to take long before a situation can turn for the worst.
Joshua and Zara were at school but the school were keeping abreast of the situation also and informing us of what was happening.  When I arrived at school to pick up Joshua and Zara I was told by one of their teachers that they had been kept in most of the day due to shooting not too far from the school.  They didn't want any to take the risk of stray bullets finding a target.  Thankfully the children appear to take it all in their stride.  Definately a very different school experience than I ever had as a child.

As most of you know last Friday was a special day in England with the Royal Wedding.  I managed to watch some of the event with two friends as one of them had cable TV.  It was a bit surreal watching a Royal Wedding with all its pomp and circumstance and then listening to gun fire and tear gas being shot off not far from where we were sitting.  There wasn't much else we could do as we couldn't travel anywhere so it was a good way of taking our minds off what was going on around us.

As I was studying the book of Hebrews today in preparation for Wednesdays Bible study I was very much aware that we serve a Prophet, Priest and King who is far superior than anyone we will ever have on earth.  One that is in full control and knows the end from the beginning.
Hebrews 4:14-16 - We truly serve the High Priest and can approach Him with confidence in our time of need.  Amen!!!