Jack is a third year veterinary student. He recently took part in a five week short term mission trip to northern Kenya, living with long term missionaries Eddie and Rachel Andersen and ministering among the Gabbra people.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field.”’ Matthew 9:36-38.
This passage from Matthew is something that really struck me during my time in Kenya. I was amazed at the receptivity of the Gabbra people to the good news of Jesus and their hunger to learn more of who he is.
Whilst in Dukana I had the opportunity to see, and help in, the various ministries that Eddie and Rachel have initiated. This included going on outreach with some of the Gabbra church members themselves – Baracko, Abdoob and Duba – when they go to rural families and villages to teach through Genesis. I was amazed at the generosity of these villages, sharing their chai and often what food they had, their eagerness to hear God’s Word and their desire to learn more.
Farming God’s Way
In the afternoons I helped to teach 11 women the basics of arable farming using AIM’s ‘Farming God’s Way’ course. This is a programme where we discuss creation through Bible studies, and look at how we can serve God by caring for creation. These studies are then relayed into practical applications. We looked at how the women could farm in such a hostile environment of rocks and sand. It was wonderful to build a relationship with these women over the weeks, helping dig, plant, water and opening the Bible together. I saw the joy of growth, both spiritual, and the physical growth of crops.
Reflecting on my time in Dukana, I go back to the passage in Matthew; the Gabbra long to know more and have a hunger to know Jesus, but the workers are just so so few. The radio programme, Chalbi FM, instigated by Eddie and led by Baracko and Mwambi, faces hundreds of questions each night. It’s wonderful after the years of hard work the Andersens have put in to now see the surge in curiosity and searching among the Gabbra as God is changing hearts.
Children of the same God
I went out very naïve to mission. I knew going would be a massive learning curve for me but I didn’t fully appreciate how much I would learn and love. Yes, the culture is massively different to anything I’ve experienced before, yet I was still struck that we are all children of the same God, all in desperate need of Jesus. God is calling us all to himself. I learnt so much about mission, the power of God’s Word and what it looks like to open it up with others. I have come away, as I return to my third year of veterinary medicine studies at Bristol, with a new heart for mission, and a burden for unreached people that need Jesus and do not yet know him. I pray with renewed energy and eagerness for missionaries in the field, including the Andersens, their work in Dukana, and the calling of new workers.