Friday, April 28, 2017

Why I love SIM

There are so many reasons why I am proud to be a member of SIM. Here are some of the big ones:

  • SIM is holistic. So many missions err in the balance between preaching the gospel and serving people's needs. SIM emphasizes and integrates both. We have evangelists, medical professionals, teachers, business-as-mission entrepreneurs, seminary professors, and even soccer coaches in so many places where they are needed most.
  • SIM is sensitive to learn from the Lord when to stay and when to move on. Some missions come to a field just long enough to get professions and baptisms, and then leave the field, saying, "mission accomplished." Very often in that case, the church in a few years has died or been subsumed in cults. Other missions stay long-term, and then keep sending missionaries to the same field to meet needs there, which hurts the planted church because it keeps them dependent, and it keeps the mission's eyes away from the remaining fields still untouched with the Good News. SIM goes to fields with a long-term commitment, but also takes steps to regularly keep eyes on the frontier, finding new, often difficult fields in which to send missionaries with the love of the Lord.
  • SIM takes care of its missionaries. They keep many checks, counselors, coaches, and resources in place to help us stay physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy.
  • SIM takes accountability very seriously. They not only report to their board and follow the IRS's standards for nonprofits, but are also one of the founding members of the EFCA, and keep their audited financial statements publicly visible online.
  • SIM is passionate. I just read in a newsletter an excerpt from a letter by Walter Gowans, one of SIM's founding members, just before he left for west Africa:
  • When is the time for the opening of this field? My friends, I cannot but believe that, as in other things, so in this, God’s time is now!... Our success in this enterprise means nothing less than the opening of the country for the Gospel; our failure, at the most, nothing more than the death of two or three deluded fanatics. Still even death is not failure. His purposes are accomplished. He uses death, as well as lives, to the furtherance of His cause. After all, is it not worth a venture?
  • SIM is committed to diversity. SIM International and all the ministries that belong to it must have specific percentages of members from the different nationalities which compose SIM. We are also continually working with countries in which we have had a long presence to mobilize missionaries, so we are not just white people going to the majority world, but rather have Paraguayans going to the Middle East, Koreans going to Zambia, Ethiopians going to Sudan, etc. Dr. Bogunjoku, a Nigerian who gave a beautiful talk on diversity while I was at SIM training, is now our International Director!

And I especially love SIM because we are "By Prayer"!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Devotion in the drugery

There have been several times I've started a blog post in the last few months, but the words always ended in a jumble, as my emotions have been too strong to sort out what I even want to say. You can read my latest newsletter for a summary of what's come up lately to make me so.

I will try to add more updates soon, but in the meantime, a good thought I had in response to an email from Engaging Missions:

I've always found that "great devotions" come effortlessly on short-term mission trips--while I'm there, I'm full of anticipation and longing for what God will do, I'm watching eagerly for evidence of His presence. It's "at home" that I tend to lose that, or rather just let day-to-day problems crowd it out. It's so much easier to believe that problems have a purpose and I need to seek God wholeheartedly in the face of those problems when I'm out on mission. At home, it's easier to separate "life" from my mission, and thus bemoan the problems as if they have no purpose but to drive me crazy.

God, please forgive me for forgetting that every day of my life, You are at work accomplishing Your glorious purposes just as much as when I'm in Alaska or Nigeria or Zambia. Let me seek You just as hopefully and urgently when I'm at home dealing with a leaky pipe as when I'm in Africa dealing with a pile of problematic computers.