Being one in a million: hope through occupational therapy in Niger

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By: John Stuart Amir first came to Galmi Hospital after suffering a major electrocution injury – while surgeons were able to save his feet, both his hands were amputated. Amir was crushed. But Deb Knight never gave up on Amir. She knew what was possible for him. Deb is one in a million, and then some. She is the occupational therapist (OT) at SIM’s Galmi Hospital in Niger since 2011 and is the only practicing OT in a country of 17 million. In a country with so few medical personnel, Deb immediately saw the need for training in OT skills. “Once our patients finish in the hospital there’s really nothing for them for occupational therapy,” Deb says. “Niger is so big and people come from so far away and they lack some cultural understanding and exposure to occupational therapy as a norm of healthcare. So getting our patients to come … Read More

MY STORY: A spirit of freedom

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Prang and her family had a history with oppressive evil spirits. When Prang began knowing Christ, she finally felt peace and freedom from the spirits that used to plague her. “She’s experienced many struggles in her life and has been really open about it,” says SIM cross-cultural worker Genine Thomas, who has developed a strong friendship with Prang, who is her family’s  house helper in Thailand. “I see her more as a friend than my house helper. I’m thankful she can be open with us in sharing what she’s feeling, asking for advice, and reading the Bible. She’s growing more as a Christian.” I began wanting to know more about God because I was having a lot of terrible problems with evil spirits that were bothering my family. My mother was a medium and she communicated for an evil spirit. When my mother was possessed by the spirit, she would … Read More

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