Amos is serving short term in Dukana, Kenya, a Gabbra town 20km from Ethiopia. He teaches Christian Religious Education in the school, and helps long term missionary Eddie Andersen with various projects. This has included installing a water tower in a nearby village, and doing practical jobs around the garage and radio station that are run from the compound.
What made you serve short term?
I had exposure to mission when I was younger as my parents were missionaries in Kenya, east of Mount Kenya in a place called Tharaka. I grew up in Kenya, but moved back to the UK when I was 10. Once home, I became a Christian at a camp, and as I grew in my faith, my desire to come out on mission also grew, as did my curiosity to come back to remind myself what it was like. We’ve made several trips back as a family, and I spent a couple of extra weeks with some family friends who live in Tuum, among the Samburu. I spent that time learning about mission and helping out practically where I could and really enjoyed it. The perception at home is that Kenya is ‘done’, it’s evangelised, the most Christian country in the world. But that’s in the south. In the north, an area that is 70% of the land mass, there are hardly any Christians. Among the 89,000 Gabbra people there are only about 200 Christians. And there are still many people groups who don’t have the Bible in their language.
What have you enjoyed most?
I really enjoy relating to nomadic people, learning Swahili and just being able to make friends with people on a deeper level. Often in mission you have this idea that you just need to go in and tell them about Jesus and that’s it, job done. But I’ve enjoyed making lasting friendships, and being able to carry on those friendships each time I come back. It’s been great to learn from the missionaries I’ve stayed with, to see that to function in society, and to come alongside people and disciple them, it’s got to be a long term commitment – both in seeing them hear the gospel in the first place, like what is happening here among the Gabbra, but then to disciple them and see them grow in their faith too.
What has God been teaching you and how is he using you?
That mission is a long term commitment. I knew this year would be a big learning curve, because in the past I’ve only been involved for a couple of weeks. Even though a year is still just a snapshot, I’m getting a chance to see what is happening here, and it’s giving me an idea of what it’s like to commit to something long term. I’m seeing the process of how the gospel reaches people’s hearts; how we can get them to hear it in the first place, and then making sure they can keep hearing it in ways that they understand and that they grasp. I’m learning how practical things like putting in a water tower gives us chances to go and share the gospel, and how that makes it easier for locals to accept us. And that you have to take your time and go in slowly. The biggest frustration is not knowing enough Swahili to be able to relate to people as deeply as I’d like. I’m not a mechanic or very practically minded, but I’m seeing how God can use me in other ways, even if I’m not an expert.