The Legacy of the Gospel, SIM and Urbana | USA

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Dick Ackley was only 11 years old when he first felt “called” into missions. A young missionary kid, unsure of what his own life was supposed to look like, Dick sat at the spiritual life conference held at his boarding school in Ethiopia in 1964 and listened to the story of a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. Corrie Ten Boom, imprisoned in Ravensbrück concentration camp for her faith, looked out into the crowd that day and said, “God has a plan and a purpose for your life.” And for the first time, Dick really believed it. Fast forward in Dick’s life eight years, and we find him sleeping in his car in the dead of winter in Urbana, IL or, if he got lucky, he’d slip into the lobby of the dorms without being noticed. Dick couldn’t afford the full registration cost of the Urbana Conference but he knew … Read More

A Love Story | SOUTH AFRICA

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Marcus didn’t know what he was in for when he attended the Urbana conference of 2000, still in Urbana, IL, but as a senior in college he already knew he was supposed to go into missions and so off to the missions conference he went. Finding his soul-mate was the last thing he expected and yet… While at the conference Marcus went to a seminar called “French Speaking Africa” held by Angela Brantley who was and is with SIM. Marcus was deeply moved by Angela’s words and even changed some of his courses during his last semester of college to help serve in French speaking areas of Africa. At the end of the session, as Marcus went up to ask the speaker her name for the evaluations form, a girl named Jenn did the same. Jenn, feeling the same confirmation Marcus felt from Angela’s session, struck up a conversation with … Read More

An Interview with a Woman in Leadership | JAPAN

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Faith: “The first time I went to Urbana was in 1973 as a freshman in college. I don’t remember a lot of the details of how I got there, but it was just this thing that you did. And I remember Urbana being incredibly cold! That definitely stands out in my mind. But it was an amazing experience to be in this huge building with more than 10,000 people. They had speakers from all around the world. I grew up in a missionary focused family and had a long history and expectation to go into missions. But what really stands out to me was the talk Elizabeth Elliott gave. It was so formative to how I viewed myself as a Christian woman interested in missions. At that point I was thinking I would go into medical ministry, hoping to be a doctor and I expected it to be a single’s … Read More

Know God and Fuel Your Journey | USA

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Linda Crouch attended Urbana for the first time in 1970, and then again in 1973. She was unsure of what to expect at her first Urbana, because she knew that it would be years before she would go anywhere or do anything in missions. Linda had grown up as an SIM MK in Nigeria. She was just getting started at Moody Bible Institute and despite knowing it would be a while before she was practically engaged in missions she knew the conference would be a wise investment to attend. As an SIM MK, Linda expected to spend most of her time talking to the SIM people at Urbana, but she noted how enriching it was to see the variety of ministries that other agencies had. One of the best things she sites was the “power of exposure.” Linda had an attitude of, “God I’m going to start moving toward missions, … Read More

Abundant Life | PERU

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By Mende Kitzman and Andrea Obregon | PERU MARIA is a young girl who lives on the outskirts of Lima. As is common in Perú, Maria’s parents are separated, and she lives with her mother and brothers. Ever since Maria’s father left the home when she was 11, she has resented him and struggled with depression. When he came to visit for her twelfth birthday, she got angry and told him she didn’t want to see him again. Almost two years passed without a visit, and Maria’s walls of self-defense continued to grow. Earlier this year, a neighborhood Sports Friends coach spotted Maria curiously watching as other girls her age arrived for a summer Bible program. Since the coach lives in the neighborhood, she started to notice that Maria could often be found hanging around on the street. A few weeks later, the same coach resumed practices for her neighborhood volleyball … Read More

Imams Ask to Be Taught about Jesus | SOUTH SUDAN

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A group of men approached our medical team at Grieve Memorial Clinic in South Sudan.  They were Ingassna, known for their hostility towards the gospel.  In a small community, this rural health clinic is reaching thousands of patients – hundreds each day. War torn due to civil war, many people have been displaced in South Sudan, forcing them to flee to safer locations.  More than 150,000 refugees from Sudan have ended up near the community of Doro and other displaced peoples have come too.  Near our clinic is a camp for 50,000 refugees.  Among this influx of people is an answered prayer.  You see, our team had been praying about how to reach 5 specific people groups that we did not have resources or people to reach at that time.  Yet the Lord has now brought them to our door!  Back to our story… As these Ingassna men approached, it … Read More

May You Be Our Coach Forever, Ben | SOUTHEAST ASIA

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By Cat Edwards | SOUTHEAST ASIA When Coach Ben attended an early Sports Friends Basic Training in Thailand, he hoped the experience would prepare him to run his own sports ministry model someday. However, the last place Ben probably envisioned himself serving was the very place his training proved to be most valuable: in prison. Coach Ben was running a thriving youth soccer academy when some past ‘disagreements’ with the police disrupted his life. One morning, drugs were planted in Ben’s vegetables before he went to market to sell them. The police were tipped off, and, to the devastation of his family and community, the local coach was sentenced to six years imprisonment. Stuck in a dilapidated cell alongside 200 other inmates, Ben could think of nothing to do but pray. After some time, the coach had an idea. Ben approached the prison management about starting up a soccer team for … Read More

Beauty for Ashes, Pooja | INDIA

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by Suzanne Green, India Effervescent, 18-year-old Pooja loves to dance and lights up the room with her smile. But, her laughter hides a heartrending story of abuse by those who should have protected her. Pooja was a happy, carefree little girl until the day her father started to see her differently, and subjected her to treatment she did not at first understand. She had no knowledge of what was happening to her, rape and sexual abuse. Pooja told her mother, who turned a blind eye to the situation. And no relatives came to her aid. As time went on, things got worse: her father and mother began acting as her pimps. Soon other men, not just her father, regularly used her for sex. She was taken to live with her father in Delhi on the pretext of being sent to school. There besides sexual abuse, she endured her alcoholic father’s … Read More