An Orangeman – originally from Co Tyrone – is on a mission to spread the Gospel and help those most in need in east Africa.
Jason Allen is currently working as a missionary in Nyeri, Kenya, running a local church as well as a rehabilitation clinic, aiding people of all ages with physical disabilities.
The father of three, who has been living in the developing country since 2010, is also involved in prison ministry locally.
Currently on a break in his native Northern Ireland with his family, Jason, 43, is looking forward to returning to the former British colony early in the new year.
Commenting on his rehabilitation work in Africa, the Augher man said: “We provide different types of assisted devices, particularly to young people, with varying disabilities. These are manufactured on-site and made predominantly out of recyclable materials, including cardboard and newspapers.”
Aids which are provided include seats, standing frames and therapy toys.
Jason said: “It is very rewarding to be able to make a big difference to people’s lives; and despite working with limited resources making really good equipment. We also distribute wheelchairs and my wife, Jolene, is currently working with a local charity in Uganda.”
In his role as a local pastor, Jason currently oversees a church of approximately 100 people. He confirmed Kenya is a Christian country, with Catholicism the main religion.
“All Protestant denominations are represented, from Presbyterian to Methodist to Anglican,” he said.
Jason’s weekly Sunday service at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Nyeri typically runs from 8.30am to 1pm.
“This will incorporate prayer, worship and preaching. We also hold separate prayer meetings and Bible studies.”
While the Orange Institution remains active to this day in the west African countries of Ghana and Togo, there is no known presence in Kenya.
However, Jason, a member of Glenageeragh LOL 908, maintains Orangeism remains an integral part of his being.
“I was brought up in the Orange Order and bands fraternity, so it has always been a part of my life. I can’t actually remember life without it.
“Also, my dad has ensured no matter where I go, I remain a part of it!
“When we are away, we actually miss the Twelfth of July more than any other holiday.”
Jason, who was one of approximately 500 attendees at a gala event at Titanic Belfast last weekend in support of the Drew Nelson legacy appeal, said it was “encouraging” to see the growing number of community initiatives involving the institution.
As for his future, Jason is focused solely on Kenya and his own outreach work.
He added: “You can never be sure, but I certainly see our immediate future in Nyeri.
“We are reliant on funding but are currently OK, and looking forward to continuing our mission.”