In the Red Dirt of Africa

Dan and Heather Galat are missionaries with World Gospel Mission serving at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. In this post, Dr. Dan Galat shares an amazing story of God’s calling, a reluctant but obedient answer, and God’s amazing grace and mercy as the transition happened. Read about the Galats’ move to Kijabe and how God has been bringing people and purpose around them to comfort them during a difficult time in the red African “dirt”. (All photos were taken by Dan and Heather.)


“If you would have told me a year ago that our family would be leaving Tenwek Hospital—the place we have called home since arriving in 2008, the place where we saw God work in powerful ways through the orthopaedic service in the hospital, the place where our visions and dreams for the future were so strong—and settling in a new place of ministry, I would have thought it was impossible. But through a series of family events and realizations of some deeper needs of our children, coupled with the sense that God was not finished with us in Kenya, we made what has felt like an impossible transition to a new hospital, a new home, and a new place of ministry so that we can be with our children as they attend school at Rift Valley Academy.

“The pain of packing our belongings, moving out of our house (which we recently remodeled) at Tenwek, and saying goodbye to those we served and suffered alongside of for so many years was almost more than we could bear. Starting over in a new hospital, making new friends, and struggling with questions of purpose felt overwhelming and exhausting. The more “ego-testing” challenges, such as learning to rest, asking for help, letting others take up the mantle of what we started, and feeling like I had let others down, almost proved more difficult to manage. Despite the need and “rightness” of this transition, my faith has been bent to the point where it feels it might break. “Is God really in all the transition and pain,” I have asked myself on numerous occasions.


“Moving in Africa was quite the experience…despite the potholes and last 8 km of bumpy dirt roads, only one item broke during the process…a single coffee mug!” – Galats

“However, it is at these lowest points in the dirt of transition that God’s whispers are heard most clearly. It was in the dirt that I rediscovered Hebrews 12:5-7 (NIV): “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.” It was in the dirt that I “found” a book, which had been “hidden” on my bookshelf for years. Streams in the Desert, a daily devotional compiled in the early 20th century, has, on certain days, felt like it was written just for me. It was in the dirt when I heard most loudly the sound of laughter around the dinner table as each child told the highs and lows of their day. It was in the dirt, while asking God “why” that I heard him say, “Because you’ve worked hard, and it’s time for you to rest a little.” These small, divine reminders, truths, and events in the hardest challenges of transition helped keep me on track. It is because Jesus is there in the dirt with us; His blood stained it red, securing for us hope in the future. “A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” (Isaiah 42:3 NIV).


“Sand Grouse, our new house at Kijabe. It has six bedrooms and is fully adequate for our family (and visitors!).” – Galats

“We are still in the red dirt of transition at our new place of service—Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. We still miss our life and work at Tenwek and hope God will call us back there at some point in the future. There are times when the sting, although diminishing, returns. However, God is sustaining us in the transition as this move was predicated on an investment in the lives of our children, who we pray will follow God to the hard and dirty places as they grow in faith. God never promised it would be easy. He did, however, promise He would be there with us through it all, especially in the red dirt of Africa.”

Will you pray for the Galat family during their continued time of adjustment? May this time of transition also be a time of rest and family growth as God uses the Galats in Kenya.


“The view of the Great Rift Valley from our living room.” – Galats

3 thoughts on “In the Red Dirt of Africa

  1. Bonnie Ferris says:

    I am a missionary kid from Brasil. I want to encourage you that you did the right thing. I’m now 53 but my eyes tear as I read this and I feel your struggle. My parents first ministry, following language school, was in the interior of northeast Brazil. My mom home schooled us. When I was in the 6th grade my parents decided that we needed to go to school at Fortaleza Academy 6 hours away. Many of the kids lived in dorms, far from their parents and could only go home a couple of times a year. I will forever be grateful that my parents gave up their ministry in Taua and moved to Fortaleza so our family could be together. It really does matter!

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