Paul & Di Allcock from Above Bar Church are working in Mbarara, Uganda, providing pastoral care & support to the team there. They talk about their journey so far.
Pastoral care and support
We came to Uganda last September, initially for one year, having retired from our role in pastoral ministry at Above Bar Church, Southampton. It’s been an exciting journey so far!
The AIM team in Mbarara is currently made up of fifteen adults and seven children: five couples and five singles; seven long-termers and eight short-termers. Our previous visits here and conversations with Unit Leaders, Joel & Jill Skinner, confirmed that there would be a role for us and that a significant part of that would be to offer the team pastoral care and support.
People of all types
Joel & Jill have been so supportive and have trusted us with the opportunity to meet one-to-one with team members, which is a great privilege. We try to meet with each person once every two weeks. It’s astonishing to see the different personalities and experiences within the team – and a constant reminder that God uses people of all types and at different ages and stages of their journey. We’re also aware that becoming a missionary doesn’t turn you into a spiritual giant – we all have so many of the same issues we had back home, but may well be encountering many additional challenges.
“It’s astonishing to see the different personalities and experiences within the team – and a constant reminder that God uses people of all types and at different ages and stages of their journey.”
It’s still very early days for us, but some of the issues that we all face here are:
- missing home and working out for different people what is a healthy level of contact with friends and family
- having a fairly small number of westerners to relate to, and they’re often not people we would have chosen!
- cultural adjustments between team members – Americans, Canadians and Brits have their differences!
- people come and go a lot, especially short-termers – things don’t stay constant for very long
- just living – even though we’re in quite an urban setting, it takes more time and is more tiring (or perhaps it’s just that we’re getting old!)
One of our aims is to provide a place where missionaries are listened to and given time, and to develop a culture of openness, vulnerability and accountability. This is a great team to work with and we’re learning so much from them. We thank God for bringing us here!