Paul and Helen will be moving to the Sahel region in French-speaking West Africa in 2022.
Until mid-2020, Paul and Helen served in Karamoja, the poorest region in Uganda. The Karimojong who live there carry the stigma of having the lowest status among Ugandans. They live traditional cattle-herding lives in small communities scattered across a harsh landscape. The villages – manyattas – are surrounded by dense walls of sticks to prevent cattle raising and to keep outsiders out.
Paul and Helen lived with their team in Kotido, northern Karamoja, and worked with the Church of Uganda. Helen helped to run the church health centre in Kotido, treating and praying with patients, training and mentoring staff to deliver Christ-centred healthcare, as well as doing some admin. She was also involved with the youth choir and youth Bible study at the church in town, helping to inspire the youth to proclaim Christ in all they do.
Paul did a little medicine in the government health centre in town, but spent most of his time discipling rural church leaders and believers. This involved teaching the Bible in ways oral learners could understand, helping believers to create local Scripture-based songs and equipping leaders of small churches.
As they consider their move to West Africa, they are aware that their new region has few Christians, small numbers of churches and large numbers of mainly Muslim people groups. This is sadly combined with political insecurity, poverty and poor health infrastructure. With the few Christians and churches there are huge numbers of people in in those countries who have no access to the good news of Jesus Christ, many will never hear of him. However, there are some indigenous churches and Christians who are striving hard to share the gospel, and among some people groups they are beginning to see some fruit.
The task is big, with huge numbers without the gospel and exploding populations. Paul and Helen’s roles initially will be to begin to lay the foundation for AIM ministry. They will be listening to and building relationships with local churches and agencies on the ground, beginning to understand the history and culture, finding out what the Lord is already doing in the region and seeking to be led by his spirit in all they do. They will then be better able to partner with the local churches and begin to explore long term ministry options. They hope to continue to use their medical skills in whatever ministry they do.
In the meantime, before they reach West Africa, they will spend the 2021-2022 academic year improving their French at a language school in France. There is little English spoken in the region and they want to ensure as a whole family they can engage in the community from early on. In France, the girls are going to local school and Paul and Helen will attend language classes.
Could you partner with Paul and Helen in this work?