Following his graduation with a bachelor of social work degree from Thompson Rivers University in 2017, Geordie Milne worked to save up enough money to undertake a short-term missionary stint in Kenya. He spent one year — from February 2018 to February 2019 — based at Kisumu, Kenya’s third-largest city on the shore of Lake Victoria and the capital of Nyanza Province.
Prior to his 12-month assignment, Milne had previously twice made shorter trips to the country. The East African nation has gone through a lot in recent years, not the least of which being the threat of a civil war. President Uhuru Kenyatta has been at the helm for six years and is trying again to stabilize the country amid political, social and economic discontent. Kenya’s High Court has refused to strike down laws that criminalize homosexual acts in a country that remains conservative.
Working with the Indigenous Sea of Life Ministries, Milne accumulated a storehouse of friends and experiences.
“My personality and background were good fits, my ability to adapt there and my love for God helped me to stick around,” he said. “The work focus was on youth, but I ministered to seniors and children as well. The youth centre was open all week. We played board games, with young people joining us from homes. They could feel they belonged here. And through the friendship made at centre, we would invite them to Bible studies.”
Milne said they would discuss topics such as what their stresses and needs were for the past week.
He said he and others helped meet the needs of locals, sometimes even meeting financial ones, paying for their schooling at times.
“Their visiting the centre paved the way to visit them in their homes, as well, and meeting their families,” Milne said. “Some local church leaders used to go with me, speak to them in their languages, although some of the kids knew some English.”
Milne noted his hosts had different ways of doing things.
“Even entering their homes required observing some etiquettes, like never refusing what hospitality they offered, such as drinking hot tea at 40 degrees Celsius,” he said.
Milne was meticulous about praying for them before leaving their homes. He tried to remember that he was there to adapt to them and their ways, not vice versa. That included eating supper at 10 p.m.
Even though he was a seven-hour drive from the capital of Nairobi, Milne observed quite a bit of Western influence. In practical terms, it meant reaching a different culture within a culture with the gospel.
Kisumu has two hospitals and a Christian hospital. Once, when he fell sick, Milne went to a private hospital, where he received quality care.
“I observed a lot of churches preaching the gospel of prosperity, which, with its emphasis on wealth and health uplift as rewards of following the Lord Jesus, often obscures the true value of the Christian gospel, which salvation in him alone,” Milne said.
Milne now can speak a bit of Swahili. With his sights set on returning to Kenya, he is learning the language online.
Meanwhile, he is content to earn and save money with a job in social work field, determined to be a self-supporting missionary again in the East African nation.
Milne can be contacted
by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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