Becoming a Lifelong Learner:

The Key to Team Life

Photography by Joshua Thulin, Written by Heidi Thulin

Once a week, Africa Inland Mission’s outreach team in the Digoland of coastal Kenya meets together for fellowship, prayer, and worship. They study Scripture to discover how missionaries of the Bible–Paul, Barnabas, and Jesus himself–reached out to their communities, and together, they work to follow those priceless examples. In ministry contexts all across the continent, teamwork is vital. It provides support and encouragement to the missionaries and serves as a testimony to the local community of the God we serve.
Teammates pray together for the Digo unreached people group.

Being part of a team is so great, because you get to see the body of Christ needing each other. We encourage each other. We share holidays together, [and we] watch how God is working in each others’ lives.


Team member

The team gathers for worship and encouragement once a week.
The many children on the team work diligently on their homeschooling work.
Much of the daily cooking involves fresh ingredients.
In a village and town setting where electricity is sporadic, laundry is done by hand and dried by the heated breeze.
Learning a local language is a sometimes grueling, always rewarding, aspect of ministry life. Teammates immerse themselves in the community, practicing their new words, making mistakes, and laughing with their language partners.


On Fridays, I hang out at the maternity ward and make relationships with those staff members. … They’re so impressed that I’m learning Swahili, so they’re always willing to help and visit with me.


Team Member

Adam inspects the crop in his maize field
Living simply is another aspect of team life, and sometimes, learning how to farm is part of the job description. In many locations, conservation agriculture is not practiced, which offers teams the unique opportunity to model sustainable farming techniques, like crop rotation and healthy fertilization, to their neighbors.
Farming God’s Way teaches that God is a God who cares about all the ways that we live life. God is not just in church, but he is in our home, our work, and our farm. We use it as a way to make and build relationships in the community and to help people live a more holistic life that is glorifying to God in all that they do.

Team member

Adam's son assists with building a turkey coop.
That first step out of the front door is oftentimes the hardest. But it is how outreach teams build bridges between their cultures. In their new context, many missionaries feel like babies again–they don’t know how to cook with the available ingredients or where the market is located. This vulnerability allows the local people to take care of them, and over time, both parties feel loved and trusted.

I think I’m the only female rider in all of Kwale! When I first got it, a few guys spun around so quickly to see who was on the piki that they actually fell over. I think the women are the most impressed. I get cheers as I go down the road! It’s a blessing… when it works. It builds relationships, though. Every time it’s broken down, people have to help me. It’s like a ministry itself!


Team member

Laura rides her piki to school every Thursday and Friday to assist with classroom duties and practice her own language learning.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  — African proverb