By Heidi Thulin
On Field Media
On one of those flights to visit missionaries in northern Kenya, as AIM Air’s Cessna 206 dipped and lifted over the Chalbi Desert’s hot sands, she became very ill. Not long afterward, she learned it was more than motion sickness; she was pregnant with her first child, Benjamin.
Ten years after that flight, Benjamin suffered a tragic accident, and Anna and John buried their firstborn in Kijabe, the Kenyan town where he was born. “We are grateful for the community here in Kenya,” she recalls. “Here, death and loss are such a common part of life that we realized we were not alone in having gone through such a painful experience like this. We were able to bond with people through this.” Before the burial, her students from Africa International University came to her house, and as they had just previously learned from their class on Job, they sat with her in silence. They were with her and that was deeply encouraging.
Anna’s younger son, Wesley, is the typical teenager, eager to attend Rift Valley Academy for high school in September, gifted in music, and taller than his mom. Her husband is the Director of Maintenance at AIM AIR, and people always feel more comfortable with him around on long road safaris. Which is why she dreams of one day embarking on a road trip with him cross-continent to South Africa.
Unlike her husband, who has been an airplane mechanic for the entirety of their mission career, Anna has taken on several roles. Since 1995, she has helped provide vehicle insurance for missionaries. And on a continent where the roads themselves are a hazard, her services are highly appreciated. She has also served as the communications officer and administrative assistant to the principal of Carlile College, a missions training school with a campus in the Eastlands area of Nairobi and one in the heart of the Kibera slum. She also taught theology, Bible, and missions courses her first ten years in Kenya at Africa International University, where she was also a student and relished learning to understand the Bible from an African perspective.
Though Anna has experienced and accomplished much during her time on the field, she is humble about her contribution. “I don’t consider myself as having achieved anything particularly outstanding,” she says. “If I can simply be faithful in serving the Lord and persevere even when the going gets tough, I know it is His grace that will continue to enable and sustain me.”