Serving Him Summer 2018
Come and celebrate with us on May 10 P4 Siitaâ€™s suffering brings gospel hope P10 Sign up for your SIMply Tea party pack P26 Convinced that no one should live and die without hearing Godâ€™s good news
Helping be truly
By the numbers India
Population: 1.2 billion 5.8% (71 million) Christian 2.2% Evangelical
Population: 13.7 million 94.45% (13 million) Christian 8.5% Evangelical
Population: 24.3 million 63.4% (15.4 million) Christian 24.2% Evangelical
Population: 158.2 million 51.3% (81.1 million) Christian 30.8% Evangelical
Population: 84.5 million
12.8% (10.8 million) Christian 3.9% Evangelical
Population: 50.5 million
75.2% (38 million) Christian 21.1% Evangelical
All figures from www.operationworld.org and rounded to the nearest 0.1 million
t a recent gathering of evangelical church and network leaders, I heard a clear call for help to improve their multi-cultural outreach. The needs are growing all the time, both in the UK and in communities where Christ is least-known around the world. For example, the UK already has the highest number of Hindu-background people in Europe, estimated at one million. (See the article on pages 13â€“15 for great ways to share the gospel with them.) Government statistics forecast 30 per cent of the British population will be from ethnic minorities by 2025. Thousands of people in this country are from ethnic or religious minorities which are not hearing the gospel. More people than ever are going through their lives without hearing the name of Jesus. Given the mission need on our doorstep and the evergrowing global gospel need, we believe there is great value in equipping congregations to
church outreach multi-cultural
cross barriers to proclaim the crucified and risen Christ. The demand is clearly beyond the capacity of any single organisation so the question is how can we work together across denominations and diverse church networks, to bring about a shared gospel vision for mission in, to and from the UK and Ireland? Let us join in prayer, up and down this country and across the cultural or class divides, and call out to our living God for wisdom and strength as we seek to help our church communities take action. Have a look at the new prayer resources on our website at sim.co.uk/churches. We’re also publishing a new Bible study series on Luke’s gospel which we hope will
help churches and individuals hear Christ’s call to pray and go and make disciples. We long for people to simply have a chance of hearing the good news in a way they understand. As followers of Jesus, we have the privilege of befriending them, introducing them to the risen Jesus and welcoming them into churches. I very much look forward to seeing you in 2018 as we celebrate 125 years of pioneering mission through Serving In Mission. The launch event is in London on May 10, with others to follow across the country and in Ireland. Full details are available on page four, so do come along to the one nearest you. It would be great to see you!
Steve Smith, UK Director PS: I’d love you to sign up for our weekly prayer email, SIMpray. Just go to sim.co.uk/simpray or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Come and celebrate with us on May 10 6 Refugee story: I want to be a Christian 8 Think and Do is bringing Hope in Egypt By Chris Angell 10 Siita’s suffering helps his family trust in Christ By Tim Allan 12 Answers to prayer 13 How to evangelise Hindus By Tim Allan 16 They called us insane for finding the way to heaven By Christian Waidelich 18 Real Life tackles HIV stigma in South Africa By Tim Allan 20 Bringing sin to light in Nigeria seminary By Rick Creighton 22 Can you pray with us? By Linda Hunt 23 Ezra graduates are gospel beacons in India By Tim Allan 24 Do you want to serve? 26 SIMply tea party launch 27 Welcome new SIM workers Editor: Tim Allan ©2018. Summer 2018 ISSN 2398-1296 Printed by CPO UK/Europe Headquarters Serving In Mission, Wetheringsett Manor, Wetheringsett, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 5QX t: 01449 766464 | e: email@example.com w: www.sim.co.uk Ireland 285a Woodstock Road, Belfast BT6 8PR t: 028 90 451451 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org For further Information, contact the Serving In Mission office, or your nearest regional representative. ‘Serving Him’ is an official publication of Serving In Mission, the UK branch of SIM. SIM is an interdenominational, evangelical, Protestant mission agency founded in 1893. Serving In Mission is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and Global Connections and is a charity, registered in the name of SIM International (UK). Registered Charity No. 219763. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC040432. Company Limited by Guarantee No. 611250. Permission to reprint material must be obtained from: Serving In Mission, Wetheringsett Manor, Wetheringsett, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 5QX t: 01449 766464 | e: email@example.com Data Protection Act: Serving In Mission holds names and addresses on computer for mailing and other internal purposes. Please contact us if you do not want your details held on computer.
125 Years UK
You are invited to join our 125th anniversary celebration on May 10 W
e’re hosting a series of special events to mark our 125 years of pioneering mission at St James’s Church, Clerkenwell on Thursday, May 10 — and everyone is invited. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place. There are four different events through the day:
2.30–4.30pm: Afternoon tea
strategic development director Keith Walker and migrant ministry leader Matt Paschall.
Aimed at church leaders, 6–7pm: Alumni Reception church mission group leaders, Short talks from Joshua and mission workers on home Serving In Mission UK director assignment, mission agency Steve Smith, followed by a chance leaders and similar. This will be to mingle with other SIM alumni. an opportunity to discuss the role Aimed at anyone who has served of the local church in pioneering with SIM as a mission worker or mission in the 21st century with a as a member of staff. You’ll be number of cross-cultural mission able to reconnect with old friends practitioners and theologians. and discover what’s going on in the places you once served in.
5–6pm: Keynote talks
Exploring the theme of Christlike discipleship in communities where Jesus is least-known, with contributions from SIM international director Joshua Bogunjoko, SIM international
Please pray ●●That
the May 10 event and the others around the UK would be well-attended and inspire many people with a passion for global mission.
those who are speaking, that they would have time to prepare well and communicate God’s global mission effectively.
An evening of global music, global food and drink and global speakers. It’s open to anyone who cares about global mission. You’ll learn more about SIM’s continuing heart for pioneering mission and how we aim to double the number of UK mission workers sent from 150 to 300 by 2025. You’ll have a chance to meet lots of other gospelhearted people, hear news from SIM, pick up some of our new prayer materials and details of fundraising opportunities.
Celebrating 125 years of Pioneering Mission An evening of global music, glo bal food and global speakers as we give glory to God for all he has done through Serving In Mission
Guest Speaker: Joshua Bogunjo SIM International Director
Thursday May 10, 2018 7pm St James’s Church Clerkenwell Green London EC1R 0EA
RSVP telephone: 01449 766464 email: 125Event@sim.co.uk www.sim.co.uk Please contact us for more infor mation about this or any of our other even ts
The London event is just the Lagos, Nigeria and began SIM. first of several celebrations across We now send more than 4,000 is one of seve ral be even ts arou the This country in 2018. We’ll mission nd theworkers cou ntry in 201 8 to cele brat e SIM ’s 125 year s ofdetails pion eeri ng miss ion. announcing more of those to more than Join us as75 we hon ourThere thos e who are more SIM hav e play ed a sign ifica nt part in as soon as possible. countries. our hist ory. We’l l shar e our visio n for the futu re and anniversary r you oppwill ortu nitie s to take We hopeoffe these events both We hope this el to com125th the gosp mun ities whe re Chri st is leas kno wn, to pray celebrate our history but, tmore year’sfor celebration events this wor k and to give to around it. importantly, look forward to sending will inspire a future the UK this year more workers•toCE share theRA gospel generation of mission LEB TE • PIO NE carry•onMISSION • with people who don’t know Jesus. workers toER It was 125 years ago that Walter making disciples in communities Gowans, Thomas Kent and Rowland where Jesus is least-known — so Bingham first set foot in what is now please do come! 5
Discipling MIDDLE EAST
‘I want to be a Christian’ How one refugee put his trust in Jesus and stayed faithful through a series of harsh trials
hen someone flees a wartorn country and becomes a refugee, their familiar way of life becomes a thing of the past. Shaken by conflict and grieving over a huge loss, most people long for stability and peace. When one Syrian man’s world was shaken, he began to search for what was truly important. Farouq contacted Khalil, a member of the Arab World Media team, through their evangelistic Arabic website. He told Khalil he
Please pray ●●For
Farouq as he shares his faith and testifies to the power of the Lord Jesus in his life.
Arab World Media, that their material would continue to have a mighty impact for the gospel.
all Syrians who come to faith in Christ, that they would be well-discipled.
and his family had fled Syria and had been impacted by browsing Christian material online. He longed to become a follower of Jesus. But Farouq was fearful and had many questions for Khalil and the team. When he eventually invited Jesus to be his Lord, the decision was met with great joy by all those involved in his journey. Sadly, when Farouq’s family discovered he had chosen to follow Jesus Christ, some angry relatives followed him to the same city. Farouq felt trapped and rang Khalil again. Khalil wasted no time in responding to this urgent and powerful plea for help. Through the kindness and resources of a local church, suitable accommodation, with rent already paid, was arranged for Farouq’s family in another city. Although necessary, being forced
to relocate again was a stressful experience, especially for Farouq’s heavily-pregnant wife. Shortly afterwards, Farouq’s wife gave birth to their daughter in hospital. But how could they afford the medical bill of around £350? Unexpectedly, a stranger overheard the conversation and reassured Farouq: “Meet me here tomorrow morning and I will give you the money.” Farouq was astounded and asked: “Who are you?” “Don’t ask,” replied the man. “Just meet me here in the morning and I will give you the money.” The next day, Farouq waited as instructed, but had reservations. Would the man turn up? Sure enough, the man stayed true to his word. He arrived and paid the bill in full. Naturally, Farouq wanted to know
who the man was. But the generous stranger simply replied with one simple instruction: “Just go and take care of your wife.” Farouq continued to see the Lord’s hand on his life. He and his family were taken to new accommodation and he was then paid a wage to take care of a villa out in the mountains. He has since used this venue to launch a weekly Bible study group with another believer and longs to see his ministry grow. He now testifies regularly about how the Lord Jesus met him in the midst of conflict and despair, and brought him lasting peace and eternal security.
Want to serve in ? The Middle East See pages 26-27
All names have been changed and library images used for security reasons. This story was produced by our friends at AWM-Pioneers and is used with their kind permission. 7
Building a future EGYPT
Think and Do brings gospel Hope to those who do not know Christ By Chris Angell
ope knows her labour in the Lord is not in vain. The aptly-named mother of three has been part of the pioneering Think and Do ministry in Egypt since 1999, helping people out of poverty and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Hope and her husband, a schoolteacher and electrician, share a strong faith. She grew up in the south of Egypt but joined Think and Do after moving to a densely populated part of Cairo because of her husband’s work. A key part of Think and Do’s vision is to see nominal 8
Christians — those who have ‘Christian’ on their identity card but little understanding of the gospel, come to a true faith in Christ. The ministry started by offering loans or grants for micro-enterprises in some villages, where there were very few opportunities for lasting employment. Vocational training courses were added; new one-day conferences encouraged people to discover and use their skills, and to think ‘outside the box’. Over time, Think and Do began to implement a range
of community development activities in villages and to offer computer courses, secretarial training and preschool teacher training in the Cairo office and elsewhere. In addition, village workers were recruited and trained to focus on spiritual ministry in deprived areas. Initially, Hope was kept busy with various administrative tasks in the Cairo office. But she then got more and more involved in organising the vocational training courses, and now heads the vocational training department. With the help of Think and
Please pray ●●For
Think and Do to carry on making an impact for Christ in a country where Christianity is not the majority faith.
Hope, that she and her family might stay strong in the Lord and be a great witness to those new believers who come through the training courses.
Christians in Egypt to be bold but sensible in sharing their faith with their neighbours.
Hope, far left, with the women on a Think and Do sewing course Do staff serving in the field, she recruits young men and women — mainly from the villages of Upper Egypt — to come to Think and Do’s Oasis centre, 50 miles north-west of Cairo, and take a 10-day course in their chosen skill. Trainees, who typically have little or no income, learn the basics of a marketable skill. Through discussion times, group Bible study and evening meetings, along with the interaction with their leaders, trainees are encouraged to think creatively and to realise their value in the sight of God. Hope visits the centre
during the courses and keeps in touch with trainees. Over the years she has seen hundreds of young people find purpose in their lives as they learn a practical skill and new ways of thinking. Best of all, she has seen many come to a living faith in Christ at the training centre; and she knows of many relationships that have been healed as a result. From time to time, Think and Do runs vocational courses in villages, hosted by local churches. Hope liaises with the churches and trainers and sometimes
travels to help run the courses, accompanied by her seven-year-old daughter. Hope has grown in many ways: not only has her family grown but, encouraged by Think and Do’s founder, she has studied through the Open University and gained a degree; and her faith in Christ has grown through seeing him at work in people’s lives. Hope is happy that by working in the Think and Do office she is not only making a significant contribution to the household budget but also serving the Lord. 9
Long-term work Ghana
Siita’s suffering helps his family trust in Christ By Tim Allan
he painful suffering of a small boy in Ghana has been the astonishing catalyst for a Muslim-background family to trust in Christ. When Serving In Mission worker Penny Bakewell first met Siita (right) in her Sunday school class in the northern city of Tumu, he was still suffering the devastating aftereffects of a horrific experience. She said: “Three months earlier, he had walked too near a cooking fire and his shirt had caught light. With no adults around, he ran to the borehole to find water but the wind fanned the flames as he ran. “The burns covered the whole of his back and across the front of his left hip. The first miracle was simply that he was still alive. “He ended up spending three months in hospital, having daily dressing changes.” Over the next few weeks, physiotherapist Penny gave Siita and his father, Ali, regular lifts to hospital so the dressings could be changed. With no anaesthetic, the bandages had to be pulled 10
off, the wounds cleaned thoroughly and then new dressings applied. “Siita’s screams must have been heard all over the hospital,” said Penny. “It was harrowing and it was clear he needed a skin graft but he was still too poorly for that.” Penny visited the family every day, treating Siita’s injuries by lying him gently on his stomach across pillows and stretching out his hips. Gradually, he improved and began to walk. Penny asked Ali if she could tell her UK supporters about Siita so they could pray for him. Even though he was a Muslim, he readily agreed. At Easter, quite unexpectedly, Ali brought Siita to church, where the congregation prayed aloud for him, many with tears streaming down their faces. Penny said: “Ali later told me Siita had started to improve from that moment. And, he said, ‘something inside me changed too.’” Finally, Siita was strong enough to undergo the skin
graft at the Baptist Hospital, five hours’ drive away. As the church in Tumu and Penny’s UK supporters prayed, Siita had the operation and then had to spend five days lying motionless in bed while the skin taken from his thighs took to the damaged areas. When Penny returned to the hospital a fortnight later, she was thrilled to see Siita jumping up and down with excitement as she pulled up. A few weeks later, Siita had the staples removed from the graft and all was well. Penny said: “That next Sunday, a little boy streaked past me at church chasing after a football. It was Siita. He couldn’t sit still — doing cartwheels, playing football and dancing. “Later that week, Ali and Siita’s mother visited me. They wanted to express their thanks to all the people who had been praying. “Ali said to me: ‘Please be patient. I am on a journey but I have not arrived yet. It is like hearing a truck in the distance. You know it will come but it is
Please pray ●●For
Ali and the family to stay strong in Christ.
all who want to share the gospel with their Muslim friends, that they would trust in God’s grace.
Penny to rely on God’s wisdom as she takes on the role of SIM Ghana director.
not here yet.’ He was saying his heart was changing. The Holy Spirit had been working in his heart. He was asking me to be patient. “Some weeks later, I saw a man in church I did not immediately recognise. “As he turned, he had a huge smile on his face and his eyes were filled with joy. It was Ali, no longer wearing the traditional Muslim dress and hat. ‘I belong here now,’ he said. ‘I don’t know much but I just tell my friends, Jesus is the Way!’ Beside him stood his wife and five children.” Penny feels privileged to be part of this incredible story but it has also taught her a huge lesson about sharing the gospel with Muslim friends. She explained: “I felt God saying to me: ‘This is what it takes to help our Muslim neighbours find my kingdom.’ “Hours of caring, of visiting, of praying and of commitment to the family. Was I willing to do the same again?” That is perhaps a question for all of us as we seek to share the good news of Jesus. 11
Praise God for the completion of a study guide to accompany Christian radio broadcasts in west Africa. Pray this will be effective in helping remote believers understand God’s word. Rain has started to fall in Cape Town, South Africa! Praise God and pray for more! As water falls on dry earth, pray for opportunities for Christians to talk of the living water only Jesus Christ can offer.
A number of students from a school in south Asia attended a camp where some gave their lives to the Lord. Pray for these students to grow in their faith and receive good discipleship.
answers to prayer
Give thanks for the great unity shown by churches of several denominations in the Sissala region of Ghana as they reach out to children who have not heard the gospel message.
Rob Eldred has now taken up his post as our member care coordinator and Abi Skeates is our new mobiliser for London and the South East. Give thanks for this extra provision so we can better support our mission workers. 12
3,550 Iraqi Kurdish Bibles and 7,600 New Testaments that were being held in a southern Iraqi port have been released! Pray the books will reach people who thirst for God’s word. Give thanks for 125 years of pioneering gospel work through Serving In Mission! We’d love you to come and celebrate with us at one of our events this year. See page 4 for more details or to book your place.
Serving In Mission project Sports Friends is celebrating 15 years of unique ministry this year. Praise God for the many gospel bridges being built through the shared joy of sport in 13 countries around the world.
Pioneering mission workers sent from the UK are sharing the good news in places where there is little gospel witness and many people have never heard of Jesus. Please pray for more workers.
The team at Mukinge Hospital, Zambia can begin building their new operating theatre this year thanks to your donations! As capacity increases, more will have the chance to hear and respond to the gospel message.
Sharing Christ INDIA
How to share the gospel with Hindus â€˜Lead me from untruth to truth. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to life.â€™
ou could be forgiven for thinking that sounds just like the start of a wonderful gospel prayer. But those are the words of a Hindu prayer, uttered frequently by millions of people who do not know Jesus Christ. It is used in 13
Sharing Christ INDIA Indian schools, during religious gatherings, at social events and as part of many people’s daily devotions. But while the context of those words may be very different, the fact they mirror so well what could be a Christian prayer is a huge help to evangelism. The perfectly-named Shashi Christian leads Serving In Mission’s outreach to Hindus. An Indian now living in New Zealand, he has a huge heart for sharing the gospel and works among the expatriate community in Auckland. Shashi, whose father changed the family name to Christian when he came to faith in the 1950s, said: “It is not easy to take the gospel to Hindus because many of them see their religion as an intrinsic part of their nationality and their culture. “To be an Indian is to be a Hindu — the two are inseparable, which makes it very difficult for Hindus
to renounce their faith and accept Christ as their saviour. “Just as with many Muslim groups, people who turn to Christ risk losing everything — their family, their friends, their livelihood, even their home.” Almost all evangelism in India has been targeted at the poor, the marginalised and those in desperate need of humanitarian aid. Shashi has no desire to stop that but believes there is more gospel potential among the burgeoning middle-class in India and beyond. He said: “The middle-class people tend to come from the higher castes and are often involved in running businesses or taking charge of things. They are usually well-educated and have a lot of social and economic power. “There are very few stories of people from these sections of Hindu society coming to the Lord but the impact of any that do is huge. “This is where something
like the Mission Through Business initiative could have a huge gospel benefit because these people are very keen to improve their business skills. “There is an open door for this kind of evangelism and a very easy acceptance of Christian input. It could make a very significant impact.” Shashi also believes a similar model could work among Hindus living outside India, including in the UK, although with one or two key additions. He said: “When Hindus go abroad, they tend to become stronger Hindus. It’s a matter of honour that they are seen to be contributing financially to the local temple — it shows they are very religious and a proud Hindu. The women are often the
good ways to start Hindu evangelism
Begin by inviting your Hindu neighbour or friend into your home for a meal. ●●Build a good, warm relationship before sharing your testimony. ●●Use John’s gospel as the starting point for your evangelism. ●●Share the person of Jesus — show who he is and what he did for us on the cross. ●●Be patient. It will take a long time to convince most Hindu people who Jesus is. ●●
religious controllers in a Hindu family, so it’s very important for Christian evangelists to first build good and trusting relationships with families. “Why not invite a new Hindu immigrant family over for a meal? They will be honoured to be invited and will want to come to build bridges to the new culture. “It will also be a mark of honour within their own culture that they have been invited into the home of a British person — and they will want to invite you back to so that they can show you off to all their friends. “In an honour and shame culture, these things are very important to understand.” Once the relationship is formed, you can start to tell
your story and how you came to put your trust in Jesus. Shashi believes John’s gospel is the perfect introduction for Hindus. He explained: “In the Hindu creation story, the world starts with a word — ‘Ohm’. So the start of John’s gospel is the perfect tool to make that initial connection. “Jesus’s life is portrayed in a way which resonates with Hindus. They believe divine beings can do extraordinary things so when Jesus walks on water they understand that. “Research has shown 86 per cent of people who come to know Jesus do so through the uniqueness of the person of Jesus; only 14 per cent come to faith through reading tracts. “So it’s important for us to
share the person of Jesus, to show who he is and what he’s done for us. Lifting Jesus up as a person is vital. “Hindus have something like 330 million gods and they are all needs-based gods — gods who need to be satisfied or placated in some way. “When you show how different Jesus is, they are open to learning more.” Shashi is under no illusion that leading Hindus to Christ is easy. He knows it must be done slowly and carefully, embedding new believers in small fellowships at first so they have time to settle in and feel comfortable. But there are more than one billion Hindus in the world and each one of them needs to know Christ. 15
Church planting ECUADOR
‘ They called us insane’ for finding way to heaven By Christian Waidelich (pictured far right with Anibal and Josefina)
ow on earth can I find the way to heaven?” This was the crucial question that had troubled elderly grocery store owners Anibal and Josefina for years, marking their lives with a great spiritual restlessness. Their home village is deeply committed to the Roman Catholic traditions, which are mixed with lots of other, nonChristian beliefs. People go to mass several times a week to confess and participate in rituals, just hoping it’s enough to please God. That was especially true for
Josefina, who went to the local church regularly, feeling closer to God and praying: “God, just show me the way to heaven.” She never got an answer. But, step by step, God started working out his plan for Anibal and Josefina. First, he answered through their son who lives hundreds of kilometres away in the capital city, Quito. He met Jesus and told his parents. The couple started to ask themselves: “What is this Jesus all about?” This is where Alba comes into the story. She and her family live in the same village
Please pray ●●For
Anibal and Josefina’s store to be a place of gospel hope in the village.
the couple to stay strong in their new faith, despite the criticism of others.
them and Alba to be well-supported and welldiscipled by Christian mission workers.
as Anibal and Josefina but they are the only believers in that community of 2,000 people. We had been visiting Alba for several months, meeting with the family once a week, for Bible study and training in discipleship and church planting. Together, we prayed for an awakening in the village. Alba knew Anibal and Josefina were searching for truth, and when she visited their store in the centre of the village, their conversations turned more and more to the core issue — Jesus Christ. After many conversations, Alba came to realise that
Anibal and Josefina had given their lives to Christ. When we met at Alba’s home, Anibal and Josefina were full of peace and joy about their present and future hope. They were enjoying the freedom of a personal relationship with Christ, instead of being held captive by religion. They talked and talked and talked. They had heaps of questions. But there was no more worshipping statues and icons; no more working their way up to God, not knowing if it would be enough. More than ever, they wanted to
study God’s word. But their in rural areas need lots of decision had an immediate encouragement and support impact on their neighbours. to stand on firm foundations. Josefina admitted: “They Once someone becomes call us insane! Some just pass a Christian, they encounter by, telling us they are full of people and sects peddling hate because we have turned wrong doctrines. to Jesus!” Let’s continue to in e rv t to se There is religious Wan give all the glory to uth America? freedom in Ecuador, Soe pages 26-27 God with our lives Se but that is not and with the love we always apparent in rural areas. show towards our neighbour. Rejecting the Catholic We must never be ashamed of church is regarded as a the true gospel. betrayal of the family. It’s also The harvest is ripe, but seen as arrogance because the there are few workers — so, believer has dared question just like Alba did with her the authority of the church. friends, share the gospel Many lonely believers boldly with everybody! 17
Discipling SOUTH AFRICA By Tim Allan
Real Life group is tackling stigma of living with HIV 18
he stigma of living with HIV blights many young lives in South Africa. Even though the disease is now very treatable, there it is still the subject of a hugely pervasive social and cultural prejudice. For that very reason, the Real Life group of young people meets together about once a month. All of them are HIV positive. Many are orphans. Some of the boys slouch a little disinterestedly on the sidelines, wearing their baseball caps, football shirts and torn jeans with pride. The more smartly dressed girls are attentive but glance nervously at one another before breaking into silent giggles. Like almost all teenagers, they are just trying to look cool. Then one of them stands up. She is a smart, attractive young woman, perhaps slightly older than the others, wearing jeans and high heels. She announces loudly and proudly that she is HIV positive. She tells them she is not ashamed — it is simply a fact of life. She admits that, at first, she struggled to come to terms with her diagnosis and the impact it might have on her life. Now she says she has been taking medication for more than 10 years. She is well, she looks and feels good and she is happy. She is part of the Lulisandla Kumntwana (Zulu for ‘Reach Out to the Child’) team, which works in the community to reduce the stigma of both HIV and tuberculosis. The Real Life group was borne out of Lulisandla, a project run by Serving In Mission worker Rachel
Please pray ●● For
the young people who are HIV positive to realise they have hope of a future in Jesus Christ.
the work of Lulisandla and other agencies as they try to help young South Africans stand on firm foundations.
the economy of South Africa, that it might improve over time and so provide meaningful employment for all.
Fredlund, who is based in Mseleni, near the Mozambique border, with her husband Victor, a doctor at the local district hospital. Lulisandla started in 2002 as a Biblical response to the growing number of children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic. It was originally a fostering agency, seeking to strengthen families, churches and communities but now offers psycho-social and educational support, a vocational programme, life skills courses for unemployed young people and groups helping those living with HIV. The Real Life group is run by a group of gifted local Christians. The meetings alternate between fun activities and more serious sessions dealing with the issues faced by living with HIV. One young man, choosing to speak in English rather than Zulu, told the group: “Do not judge yourself, you must trust yourself and you will achieve great things. We want to learn about HIV and AIDS.” The group emphasises the importance of taking the antiviral medication regularly and of choosing who you share your HIV status with. The advice is to start with close friends, building up to five people who you can trust. There is also some sensible, and realistic, sex education. The advice given is first to abstain; second to stay faithful; and finally, if the first
two are a challenge, to use condoms. Rachel spoke in Zulu to the group, telling them of Jesus and how he didn’t discriminate against or judge anyone on earth. Indeed, he sought out the marginalised, the sick and the poor to offer them hope. She said: “Jesus is the perfect example for these young people of someone who didn’t stigmatise people. They need to know just how much he loves them and that, through his love, they can be encouraged to lead purposeful lives in his service.” Of course, many young people in South Africa face huge challenges. Youth unemployment stands officially at 39 per cent but is nearer 80 per cent around Mseleni. The temptations of alcohol and drugs are all too readily available — but Jesus offers hope. It is exactly that hope Rachel and all involved with Real Life seek to offer.
Want to serve in South Africa? See pages 26-27
Rachel talks to the Real Life group (left) which seeks to give young people the hope of Christ 19
Training pastors NIGERIA By Rick Creighton Chaplain at ECWA Theological Seminary, Kagoro, Nigeria
in loves secrecy — it grows very well in darkness, but it doesn’t like to be brought into the light. I’ve been working as chaplain at a seminary in northern Nigeria for two years, helping train pastors, churchplanters and other Christian workers for ministry. The seminary has more than 500 students, and we get about 100 new students coming in every term. Christianity has grown massively in this area since the first converts turned from traditional religions about 80-100 years ago. Since then the church has grown exponentially and the great majority of people in our area would now consider themselves Christian. The denomination our seminary serves has more than five million members but this massive evangelistic success has brought an equally massive discipleship challenge. Some of our new students come with a batch of personal issues, including the use of pornography, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual immorality, and a desire to steal. In the past, students were afraid to ask for help about these problems, even when they wanted to change. But more recently there has been a movement of honesty and openness. This 20
Bringing sin our students was sparked by great Bible teaching from some of the Nigerian church leaders, alongside some courageous examples of honesty by several students, who admitted publicly to challenges of sexual immorality and gave clear examples of confession and repentance. That trend has continued, and is now being passed on to new students. Over the past four terms I’ve had good, deep, significant conversations with more than 200 students. It’s been brilliant
to see issues being raised early. Instead of graduating trainee ministers who are badly compromised and struggling with hypocrisy, we are graduating people who are serious about repentance and faith. The main ‘problems’ I face are to do with not being able to take advantage of the wealth of discipleship opportunities available. I’ve encouraged peerto-peer discipleship and mentoring among students. This has been slow to get
Rick chats with a student (left) at the seminary in Kagoro (above)
to light is helping be good disciples going — initial keenness evangelism and outreach doesn’t always last for the (many people in Kagoro are longer haul — but when it’s only nominally Christian and worked, it’s worked superbly. are not being reached very To be properly sustainable it effectively at present). still needs more organisation There are people available and managing. who would be Want to serve We are working great, but finance is in Nigeria? towards being a familiar problem. 7 -2 26 s See page able to take on Nigeria’s economy some extra staff in three main has not been doing well and areas: discipleship (as above); the seminary is just about children/youth work (we making ends meet—but have about 500 kids/teens there’s not much left over. at the seminary church on But we put our trust in the a Sunday, and no dedicated Lord and know he will raise up kids or youth workers!); and the resources if he wants to.
Please pray ●●That
God will give us the grace and wisdom to make the most of all these opportunities for discipleship.
God to raise up the right people to come to Kagoro and take this work further.
God to provide the resources for this work and so produce betterequipped pastors. 21
Prayer groups UK
Will you join us in prayer? By Linda Hunt
e know prayer lies at the heart of all we do as Christians. Serving In Mission’s motto is ‘By Prayer’ and everyone who serves with us lives that out. Whether in the UK, or around the world, we join together each day to pray for the communities where Christ is least-known, and for the 2.91 billion people who have never heard of Jesus. We have 12 dedicated prayer groups across the country and would love to see more! We have seen God do incredible things through prayer and in this, our 125th anniversary year, we would love to see people in every major UK city gathering monthly to pray for the world’s least-reached communities. Can you help us realise our dream? Perhaps you know of a prayer group which already meets but could use some of our resources? We produce prayer PowerPoint presentations, emails, guides, booklets and bookmarks and will
happily send them free of charge to anyone who wants to use them. If you aren’t able to set up a group, but feel God has laid an area of the world on your heart to pray for, we’d love to know about that too. We’ll do our best to provide you with relevant prayer information direct from the field, subject to any security considerations. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18 By prayer, let’s make a difference this year to the communities where people are living and dying without the gospel, by praying to the Lord of the harvest to raise up more workers. For more information on setting up a prayer group or to get prayer materials, email email@example.com or visit sim.co.uk/prayer-resources.
Theological Training INDIA By Fish
new generation of welltrained rural pastors is emerging in north India, thanks to the work of Serving In Mission’s Ezra Project. The first graduates from the project completed their studies at the end of last year (pictured) and are now in their churches, putting what they have learned into practice. Project director Pastor Devender explained the need, saying: “Small, local house churches are springing up in many parts of northern India but most pastors have no formal seminary training.” That’s why Ezra began in 2015, aiming to provide both solid Biblical training and good life skills for pastors. The programme covers aspects of systematic theology, preaching, doctrine, church history and counselling as well as things like managing money, parenting and worklife balance. The nine modules are taught in three one-week blocks each year. Each block ends with an exam...”just to make sure they learn it right,” says Devender with a smile. Graduate Ranjeet said: “I
Ezra graduates are beacons of gospel hope
love taking the courses and doing the exams, It tells me how much I have learned, and I feel motivated all the time.” One of the trainers, Anand, said: “You see these people develop, prosper, understand harder theological concepts and you are excited about their growth. “When you compare people
Please pray ●●For
leaders at Ezra to have wisdom and grace as they guide students to a fuller understanding of Scripture.
students to have willing, learning hearts and the capacity to absorb the material they’re presented with.
the graduate pastors to put what they have learned into practice in their churches.
who preached in their first year to their third year, you see improvement.” Another graduate, Robinson, said: “It changed my life. Many questions were answered at these courses. “I learned a lot about managing my time. Because our ministries will always have an effect on our families or marriages, it’s important to leave time for family and not just for our work.” The Ezra Project is fulfilling a profound need in India. If Christ-centred churches are to grow there, they must have pastors who understand the gospel and how to live in that light. 23
Migrant/ Refugee ministry
Greece, two years plus
Ministry Assistant Canada, two years plus
The Canada Christian Mosaic Alliance reaches out to the diaspora communities in Toronto. Could you work alongside the church, equipping them to reach out to their nearby communities so that, one day, those immigrant communities could start their own churches?
Could you show the love of Christ in a practical, hands-on way to people who have never heard the gospel? Some of them come from countries closed to gospel workers and most of them are traumatised by their experiences. They all need to know the love of Christ.
Do you want to Muslim ministry South Africa, two years plus SIM South Africa are asking the Lord to send workers to Durban, where the door is wide open for sharing the gospel; for equipping local Christians to reach their relatives, neighbours and colleagues; and for discipling a growing number of new Christians from a Muslim background. 24
Middle East, two years plus Do you have skills in business development, graphic or web design? Through a locally-registered NGO, there are opportunities to support the community by establishing further ministries or producing resources. You would work alongside local people sharing your skills and knowledge.
Church plant team member Bolivia, one to two years
The shoe-shiners of La Paz, Bolivia are so ashamed of their work that they wear ski masks to cover their faces. The vision is to plant a church that humbly invites the shoe-shiners to meet Jesus, disciples them and sends them back out into the world with Jesus at their side.
Student centre and café manager Mali, two years plus
Could you start and manage a student centre with a café close to the university campus, leading a team to run it? As well as building relationships with students you would need to think creatively about how best to engage this millennial generation with the gospel.
serve? Medical professional
Central Asia, two years plus Could you display Christ’s love through healthcare? By offering quality healthcare and education, doors will be opened to build relationships in communities where the gospel may otherwise by inaccessible. There could also be the opportunity to train and mentor local believers.
We have hundreds of opportunities and these are just a few. Go to sim.co.uk/ opportunities to find more, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk things through
Leadership trainer South Asia, two years plus
Could you work as part of a multicultural team, discipling national church leaders to strengthen these first generation churches? You would need to have some experience in preaching, teaching and motivating other people for gospel ministry. 25
By Amelia Catling
SIMply Sign up for your free party pack
e’ve come up with a new, fun way to share your love for Jesus and help raise funds for his global mission. Our stewardship department is producing a SIMply Tea pack to help you organise your own tea party. It’s packed with helpful resources, including bunting, a sponsorship form and invitations, to help you plan and organise your event. The idea is that you hold a SIMply Tea Party in your home and invite as many friends as you can. The pack will also include plenty of information about Serving In Mission’s global ministries, which you’ll be able to hand out to everyone who comes. We’ll give you key prayer points, so you can open your party by thanking God for all he is doing to make disciples across the globe. Our passionate desire is to see more gospel workers sent from — and brought into — the UK. We have just launched our Engage programme, which brings overseas gospel workers into UK churches. We have more than 150 UK mission workers serving all across the globe but we long to see that number double to 300 by 2025. To do that, we will need to increase our UK-based mobilising staff — the people who work alongside prospective mission workers and their churches, helping them raise prayer and financial support as well as preparing them to be effective and resilient workers.
For more information, or to see how you could get involved, contact email@example.com 26
Meet our new workers... Fiona McDonagh Church: Antioch Community Church, Sheffield. Where will you be serving? Mukinge Mission Hospital, Zambia What will you be doing? Serving in the hospital alongside the doctors as part of my medical elective. Pray: For God’s strength to serve him wholeheartedly in an unfamiliar culture. That his spirit will work through the doctors there, to see healing and salvation.
Adam & Laura Gordon, Beth and Sophie
Emily Cross Church: West Suffolk Vineyard, Bury St Edmunds. Where will you be serving? Bingham Academy, Ethiopia. What will you be doing? Teaching science predominantly to 14-18year-olds. Coming alongside the students, sharing Jesus with them and supporting them in their walk with him. Pray: For God to grow and prepare me spiritually, emotionally and physically to go and serve him overseas.
Church: Newark Evangelical Church, Newark-on-Trent. Where will you be serving? We’ll be with Engineering Ministries International in Uganda. What will you be doing? Adam will be working as a structural engineer and serving the ministries EMI partners with in East Africa. Laura will initially be looking after Beth and Sophie. Pray: That our whole family will settle into our new life so we can be effective in our ministry.
Irene Westendorp Church: Reformed Church in Nijkerk, The Netherlands. Where will you be serving? Lubango, Angola. What will you be doing? Working with VVF/ fistula patients in both prevention and rehabilitation. Pray: That I will rely on God as I prepare and that he will bring people into my life willing to pray for and support me.
Alex Townsend* Church: Christ Church Endcliffe, Sheffield. Where will you be serving? South Asia. What will you be doing? As a third-year medical student, I’ll be volunteering at a hospital as part of my medical elective. Pray: That I will serve God joyfully as I prepare for this trip. Pray too that I would trust God is in control.
Tom Angell Church: Providence Baptist Church, Bristol. Where will you be serving? Ethiopia. What will you be doing? Serving at a youth centre doing sports coaching as well as teaching the gospel to children and families. Pray: I’d grow as a Christian and step out of my comfort zone for Jesus’ sake. That I’d always keep Jesus at the centre of my life. *Name changed for security reasons
Join our 125th celebrations W
e’re hosting a series of special events to mark SIM’s 125th anniversary, starting on May 10 at St James’s Church, Clerkenwell. For details see page 4, or to book your place visit:
www.sim.co.uk/125 Other regional events will be held later in the year. Check the website for updates.
Learn to share the gospel cross-culturally through • Overseas placement • Continuous mentoring • In-depth training • Suitable for those aged 18–30
The Magazine of Serving In Mission (SIM-UK).