Xavier Magazine

African Odyssey

Patrick Nugent knew he and his family were in for eye-opening experiences when they decided to move to Kenya for three years to work for the Friends Theological College, a Quaker school that prepares students for Christian ministry. Only they didn’t expect it would be that way for the Kenyans, too.

It was, though, especially when Nugent’s 10-year-old daughter, Emma, jumped into the middle of a boys soccer game.

“The boys were amazed at first, but then they welcomed my daughter,” Nugent says. “The faces of the neighborhood girls watching the game were almost as fun to see. I saw shock, surprise and glee.”

Nugent, a 1987 graduate, left his position as director of the Center for Quaker Thought and Practice at Earlham College to move to Africa along with his wife Mary Kay Rehard, a 1989 graduate, and their daughters, Emma and Eliza.

“We asked ourselves how we could deepen our faith,” says Rehard. “We were sensing a new feeling, a new drive in our life. We felt going to be with the Quakers in Kenya was where God was taking us.”

“There is a tremendous need for educated pastors,” says Nugent. “The more we can do that, and do it well, the better off Kenyan Quakers will be. We hope to help the Quakers work toward Christian faith, peace and social justice.”

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