Abraham escaped the horrors of war only to face a new, more deadly enemy

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When Abraham was just a boy, he witnessed the carnage and cruelty of Liberia’s civil war. His family had to flee to Ghana where they lived as refugees for ten years. They returned to Liberia only to face a new terror—Ebola. “It was more deadly,” he says, “because Ebola was an unseen enemy.” Abraham watched his little sister become sick and die. “It was the most difficult part of our lives,” he says, “but we tried to withstand.” But his burden of grief only got heavier. Then Abraham went to one of ELWA Hospital’s Trauma Healing workshops, where they address the emotional wounds of survivors. “There was a day for ‘taking our pain to the cross,’” he recalls. “And I stood there, and tears came to my eyes.” He describes his experience as lifting a burden, “like you have something on your head—and it has been removed.” That was a … Read More

A Lifetime’s Job

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by: Sarah K Lent begins on March 1; in the weeks leading up to Easter, Christians around the world spend extra time fasting, praying, and reflecting. This year, SIM Stories invites you to journey through Lent with Chetna, a community health, and development program in North India. May their work inspire you this Lenten season. When Madhu studied community development, his university professors said it was a job that would take a lifetime or more. Perhaps back then, he didn’t feel the weight of that as he does now, twenty-five years later. Jolting along the unpaved dirt road, Madhu goes through a list of unusual things he’s seen while driving. Once there were two men with a long metal container precariously balance on their heads as they zipped down the road on their motorbike. “People here have a lot of creativity,” he laughs. Bihar isn’t a place usually lauded for … Read More

Ingessana People Discover the Truth About Jesus

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by Tim Coleman “Are you the man who talks the truth about Jesus?” ask the young Ingessana people. Getachew hesitates as he sizes up the young people. They have turned up en masse to his house from the refugee camps outside the village. Historically, Ingessana people are known to be hostile to strangers. “Yes,” he replies. The leader of the group hands over a piece of paper and asks him to read it. This is a monumental moment. Practicing African Traditional beliefs, many Ingessana people became Muslims in a time of need. Islamic missionaries came promising food and water during a drought. What was required in return for the provision was for the Ingessana to become Muslims. Many of them converted. Due to war, over the last five years, a number of Ingessana people have been forced to leave their homeland of Blue Nile state in Sudan. Many now live … Read More

Diary of a Rescue

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Intervening on behalf of those lured into slavery isn’t all about infiltrating brothels and kicking down doors in police raids. Rescue is perhaps more bureaucracy than action and for every person set free, there is a great deal of behind-the-scenes coordination, research, and preparation. Here’s an office-eye-view of one rescue. The Table The staff who will soon gather around this table work for an NGO that secures justice for vulnerable groups including the poor living in urban slums, bond slaves and sex slaves. But what makes JVI unique is its chameleon-esque adaptability. JVI teams survey the needs of a particular city and seek to help where nothing currently exists, partnering with a wide variety of other organizations. In one city, they provide legal support and representation for men who are destined for life in prison without ever going to trial. In another, they help provide freedom-producing work to victims of … Read More

Entire SIM South Sudan Team Safely Evacuated Amidst Unrest

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28 December 2016 We praise God for a safe evacuation on 27 December of our entire South Sudan team out of Doro with the assistance of AIM AIR and our SIM Crisis Management Team. Following several days of unrest between the refugee communities and the host community, our 18 adults and five children safely arrived in Kenya from South Sudan, thanks to the courageous and coordinated response of AIM AIR pilots and flight crew. “Member care services have been activated and we had people meeting the Doro team at the airport in Nairobi. We have made arrangements for trauma counseling to ensure the mental health of our team. Thank you all for your prayers, we thank God for his protection over our people. We also thank the pilots of AIM Air for their willingness to fly in and get our people. Please keep in your prayers the South Sudanese who … Read More

Crossing Barriers to Filipino Muslims

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Ibrahim, a former Filipino Muslim, and his wife Mae are crossing cultural and religious barriers in Mindanao to support Islamic communities and the people who serve them. Through local arts, storytelling and the House of Barnabas retreat center they are hoping to introduce Muslim Filipinos to the prophet Isa – Jesus. I am a Storyteller He saw the group of university students from a distance and approached. They were packed into a crowded public area on a campus that is 98 percent Muslim students. Ibrahim approached them with a simple introduction. “I am a storyteller,” he said. They looked intrigued as he told them the Bible story of Jesus healing the paralytic man. Ibrahim pointed out that like the crowded house in the story, the students were also sitting elbow to elbow in the tight space. “We came to the part of the story where Jesus forgave the sins of … Read More

$5m Elwa Hospital a New Era for Liberian Healthcare

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by John Stuart 24 October 2016 Dr. John Fankhauser looks out over the tropical, 130-acre Eternal Love Winning All (ELWA) campus in Monrovia, Liberia. On one side of the street. the ELWA Hospital Executive Director sees the past – the old ELWA Hospital that was erected by SIM in 1965 to meet the medical needs of the local people. Since the old hospital opened, nearly 2.7 million people have flowed through the facility, receiving quality care in a country with one of the worst patient-doctor ratios in the world. Through multiple civil wars and most recently the Ebola epidemic, ELWA Hospital has remained true to its vision to “…glorify God by ministering to the whole person – the spirit, the soul and the body…” But after 51 years, the hospital facilities were tired and outdated. Fortunately, on the other side of the street lies the future of ELWA healthcare – … Read More

An Audience of 150,000 and Growing

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Each day, Getachew travels by motorbike into the refugee camps around Doro, South Sudan, to share the gospel and disciple new believers. Photo credit – Tim Coleman by Tim Coleman Hailing from Ethiopia, Getachew and his wife Tibarek were sent by their home church in Ethiopia to South Sudan where they serve with SIM as evangelists in Doro, Maban County. They make a mean cup of coffee, the Ethiopian way, naturally. Doro village is home to the Mabaan people who number up to 50,000. But since 2011, the population here has skyrocketed, as many have fled the civil war taking place in the neighbouring countries of Sudan. Today, the population in Doro village and the surrounding refugee camps is more than 150,000. For gifted evangelists such as Getachew, the movement of 16 different Sudanese tribes from hard to reach areas into a single refugee area, presents a wonderful opportunity. It’s an … Read More

Going Where There Is No Gospel in Central Asia

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by John Stuart “Julie” is part of a small group hoping to bring the word of God and maybe, one day, the first church among the Central Asian minority we call “Cheuasai”. As Julie watched the dance performance in the town square, a few locals approached. They struck up a conversation in the majority language, intrigued by the foreigner in their midst. Thankfully, Julie had been studying the language for some time and it felt good to speak to them in her limited fluency. She thought it was going well when the conversation took a different turn. “Can you speak our minority language?” one of them asked. Disappointed, Julie admitted that she didn’t know the language. “If you could speak our language, you would be amazing,” he said. In an area where many of the minority people can’t speak the majority language, the simple experience led her again to a powerful … Read More