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
We’ve been made by a creative God—His handiwork, His masterpiece. He designed us for good works, and He prepared work for us (and only us!) to do. These works are as creative as the God who made us. Such creative works include using pictures (drawings, paintings, photographs), computers, music, and even our livelihood to respond to need, proclaim the gospel and equip the Church. In this By Prayer you’ll read how God is using various forms of the arts, plus “Business as Mission” (BAM), for His work. God uses your prayer work as well, in symphony with His own work in the world. Thank you for praying! —from Charlie Thorsen, Director of Prayer & Celebration
In the last edition we saw the joys and challenges of preparing God’s Word for the nations (translation and literacy). Once translated, it must be shared. God uses radio, TV and videos to communicate the message of the gospel to the nations. From small village groups huddled around a solar-powered radio hearing gospel broadcasts in the Andes Mountains, to crowds watching a gospel story on a makeshift screen in Africa’s deserts and jungles, to a lone teen walking city streets with ear bud in place, God uses media to bring hope and healing through Jesus to individuals. In the continuing Ebola crisis in West Africa, Liberia’s Radio ELWA and other stations educate the public about the nature of the disease, bringing hope in Jesus. God continues to use media, together with your prayers, to change lives. Thank you for your vital part of this ministry!
God uses His Word to reveal His character, teach about Jesus Christ, bring hope, and ultimately transform lives. But approximately 1,900 groups still wait for the Bible in their language. Translation work is laborious and something the enemy will do anything to stop. Recently we’ve become more aware of orality—using speech to communicate.
As children in the USA begin a new school year, SIM MKs (missionary kids) abroad also begin school. Many attend international Christian or local secular schools near their homes, while homeschooling is the best option for some. For others, the best option may be a boarding school hours from home. College-age MKs usually attend university in the USA while parents return to or remain in their country of service. Especially diffi cult is the fact MKs abroad must say goodbye to special friends at the end of nearly every school year. These multiple transitions bring both blessings and challenges to missionary families. Your prayers help them immensely.