Mark & Barbara Phippen

Sent from Christchurch South Cambs, Sawston

After spending time helping at the Tumaini Counselling Centre in Nairobi as part of a short term trip in summer 2011, Mark & Barbara believed that God was calling them back to use the skills he has given them on the mission field for his glory.

‘Tumaini’ is the Swahili word for ‘hope’. The missionary life can be very rewarding, but can also be tough. There is a real spiritual battle, and, of course, missionaries are not exempt from the physical and mental health problems that can afflict anyone. The staff, who are themselves missionaries, work to ‘provide preventative and restorative mental health services and pastoral care in order to enhance missionary resilience and fruitfulness.’ Mark had been a counsellor for over 30 years and took early retirement from his position as Head of Counselling at Cambridge University to go to Nairobi.

Barbara taught adult literacy in Essex for over 15 years, and while Mark worked at Tumaini she worked at Africa International University, teaching English and discipling theology students and pastors’ wives.

In 2016 the Phippens moved back to the UK, and until the end of 2019 Mark remotely supported the work of Tumaini as their Clinical Team Leader.

Latest Prayer News

Mark & Barbara Phippen have recently retired from serving with AIM in Nairobi, Kenya. Mark was Clinical Team Leader for Tumaini Counselling Centre, and Barbara taught English to pastors and their wives on the campus of Africa International University. “We look back with wonder and gratitude for our years of being involved in Africa, a wonderful and beautiful continent, with many kind and faithful people. We first visited Kenya in 2010, spent a month there in 2011, and soon after became full-time members of Africa Inland Mission. We lived in Nairobi during 2014, 2015 and some of 2016, and were based back in the UK from mid-2016, though I (Mark) have made a number of trips back to Nairobi since then… Now, we have done our best to ‘end well’ and leave things in others’ hands to continue to the work… We have learned that Jesus is our Shepherd-King, as the Bible teaches. As King, he commanded us to “Go!”, and as Shepherd he said “I will go with you!” And he led us in unexpected directions, but always went with us.  Now he says, “Retire!”, but gently adds, “I will go with you!”, so we are not concerned. We are adjusting to this change, and suddenly feel very tired. And we are not rushing to fill up the time. We are taking six months to think and pray, in order to discern what comes next – although continuing to support family remains a priority. We are unsure what the future holds, but we know that it is not ‘ours’ to do with just as we want, but rather we seek what God has in mind for us – and his ways are perfect – far more satisfying than anything we could think of!  Please pray for us as we end one ‘season’ of life and start another.”

The Phippens will be retiring from serving with AIM at the end of the year. Mark writes: “I am recently back from three weeks in Nairobi and Kampala. The trip was primarily to hand over the Clinical Team Leader role to Gunilla, a colleague at Tumanin in Nairobi, but it was in many ways a ‘farewell trip’. It was a time of great blessing and joy for me, mixes with the sadness of goodbyes… Officially speaking, Barbara and I retire at the end of December, but I continue to be involves in mentoring Gunilla as she takes up the Clinical Team Leader role, and also in recruitment matters for Tumaini. So, work is a lot quieter, but I am glad to still be involved… Praise God for his faithfulness in all things, including my recent trip to Kenya and Uganda. Please pray for Gunilla as she steps into her new role as Clinical Team Leader for the Tumaini Counselling Centres, and for the ongoing work of Tumaini as the team seek to serve and support many missionaries working throughout Africa.”

Please pray for a number of retired AIM missionaries who are currently in hospital; especially for Netty Sinclair who has just received a difficult diagnosis and is very ill.

“The time is approaching when we will retire as missionaries with Africa Inland Mission.  It is a time of mixed feelings for us, as we have been associated with AIM since February 2010.  However, as this season draws to a close, we wonder what the Lord has in store for us; after all, we don’t retire as Christians!  After six years, Mark passes on the Clinical Team Leader role for the Tumaini Nairobi and Kampala Counselling Centres at the start of November, but will continue with the handover until the end of the year.  In fact, Mark has also been handling recruitment enquiries for Tumaini and will continue with this into 2020, until a colleague who has recently returned to the US can take that on.  So, we are in a period of gradually bowing out… Please pray for Mark’s upcoming trip to Nairobi and Kampala and the handover of the leadership role to Gunilla, and for the Lord’s leading in our lives in retirement.”

Mark shares, “We have several times wondered whether it would be possible to keep the centre going in Kampala, as the staffing there is so small. But each time, so far, the Lord has provided. Yet here we are again wondering about the future from 2020. Judith  [who leads the centre in Kampala] returns to Kampala in September after her home assignment in Germany, but we are all clear that we need a team there for it to be sustainable; for a single therapist working alone, it really cannot be done. So, again, we find ourselves thinking and praying…” If you know someone with counselling, psychiatry or psychology skills why not point them to our current vacancies?


Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963. Since then British tourism has been a key element of Kenya’s economy, however, unemployment, poverty and crime remain high. Whilst the majority religion is Christianity, Kenya’s ethnic diversity and vast countryside means there are still many unreached with the gospel. LEARN MORE

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Seeing unreached people reached is fruit of the body of Christ in action. That can mean pilots, qualified counsellors, administrators, photographers all helping and supporting the task of making Jesus known. LEARN MORE
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