Many years ago SIM was denied permission from government officials to begin a gospel work among a least-reached people in Africa. Prayer for this tribe continued. Years of unrest and war in their country took its toll, forcing them to flee their homes to refugee camps. It was in these camps that four young men from this tribe heard someone was teaching about Jesus the Messiah. They wrote a letter to SIM asking for someone to teach them about Jesus. SIM responded and, since that initial letter, over 100 people from this tribe have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and a church has been established. Pray with us for God to continue to use the refugee crisis and chaos to move people to places where they can hear and respond to the message of the gospel.
Some of us learn best by reading, but millions of people around the world are oral learners: those who learn easiest through stories, songs, chants, music, dances, drama, and ceremonies. Using oral means of communication like media players, mp3 Bibles and stories, storytelling, and pictures enable learners to interact with the message of the Bible whether they can read or not. Orality is becoming a more important topic as even literate cultures rely more and more on videos, online interaction and other media—which are all oral means of learning. Join us in praying for both literate and oral learners around the world to hear, understand and respond to the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
It’s been said, “The frontiers of missions have changed.” As we look around the world, and maybe even around our block, we can see this is true. Not only are people from other nations moving to the U.S., but God’s global Church is maturing and growing, sending missionaries to new frontiers. People of one culture are engaging people of another, crossing boundaries with the gospel. God is at work! In this issue of By Prayer you’ll read of churches in one culture serving those in another culture around the world, or around the block. Now more than any other time in history, ministering cross-culturally doesn’t mean you have to move around the world. How is God leading you to minister cross-culturally? Thank you for helping break down cultural barriers by prayer!
One of our SIM missionaries wrote recently, “How wonderful it is to see [people’s] hearts swell with pride as they hoist high the Word of God in their own language.” Paul writes, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17 NIV). To reach the hearts of people, God’s Word must be communicated in their heart language. SIM is involved not only in the translation (from one language to another) but also in the transliteration (from one written script to another) of God’s Word, making it understandable in the heart language of those reading it. In this By Prayer, you’ll read about and be able to partner in prayer for SIM missionaries’ work to bring God’s Word to the nations.
An SIM worker among women and children asked, “What do you need?” Some responses were, “We need education. I can’t even write my name.” “We need love. No one loves us, no one respects us.” “We need new minds. We are trapped into bad thinking.” Women and children throughout the world are often overlooked, marginalized and used for personal gain. Few people see them as Jesus does. SIM values women and children because they matter to Jesus. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16 NIV). In this edition, you’ll read about and be prompted to pray for SIM work among women and children around the world. Thank you for your ministry with us, by prayer.
What may the following groups have in common: shoe shiners, gang members, upper or professional class members, indigenous communities, the deaf, single mothers? Each is a group of people living where Jesus is least known. We don’t usually think of these when talking about an unreached people group, yet too often Jesus is unknown by them. We must not forget them! Upper class urban professionals in Chicago or Chiang Mai need the Savior as much as people living in poverty in an indigenous village tucked in the Andes Mountains. Who around you is still waiting to hear? Over the next two months pray with us for these whom God loves, and for missionaries walking beside them. God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 NIV).
The face of missions is changing! The Church established by missionaries throughout the world is maturing and now is sending its own as missionaries, from everywhere, to everywhere. This emerging mission movement in Latin America, Africa, Northeast India, China, Korea and the Philippines sends thousands of missionaries to difficult places in the rest of the world. We’re excited to see how the body of Christ is expanding its reach for the gospel, motivated by the same heavenly vision that motivates all of us: a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language worshiping Christ before his throne. Thank you for praying through the stories and requests of just a few of these new missionaries in this issue of By Prayer—especially those facing support challenges (see October 16, 20).
We are called to carry on Jesus’ legacy of care and compassion, accomplishing amazing things in His name. By operating hospitals and clinics, by addressing poverty through microfinance, by rescuing women from the sex trade and helping people effect positive change in their villages, SIM responds to need in hundreds of ways. We do this because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s how Jesus ministered to the lost and suffering. As you pray for our ministries and missionaries in July and August, you are joining Jesus’ work, using “a cup of clean water” to meet not only human need, but also spiritual needs that only He can meet. Thank you for joining us as we respond to need, by prayer. —from Charlie Thorsen, Director of Prayer & Celebration
Visas, work permits, government registrations… insurance, audits, taxes… training, member care, prayer support…listening and understanding hearts—these are needed to permit the work to happen. God calls and equips both SIM missionaries and local staff in SIM offices to serve in multiethnic, multi-skilled teams supplying the front lines of missionary service, while freeing more missionaries to serve on the front lines. Many in these offices have also been “in the trenches” and know firsthand what backup is needed to meet the challenges there. Thank you for praying as God expands His kingdom through the work of these teams serving together in SIM’s more than 60 offices around the world. —from Charlie Thorsen, Director of Prayer & Celebration