Missionaries may be ministering on the other side of the world, but they are never alone. Jon Banke experienced all the pieces of the SIM missionary community coming together for another believer to be added to the kingdom.
The Banke family has ministered for years among the Fulani people in Niger. There, Jon got a glimpse behind the scenes of how God works, revealing just how much it takes for one lost sheep to hear the gospel.
Jon met a Christian group in Niger on their way to minister alongside a group of Tuareg believers in a small Tuareg village. They invited Jon to join them. Although he doesn’t speak Tamajaq, Jon agreed to go. The team encountered a Fulani man there—and Jon was the only one on the team who could communicate with him.
“This man and I were having a great conversation, getting to know one another. Then suddenly, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, ‘Ask him if he wants to hear the good news.’ I was hesitant at first. In fact, I was really nervous. I sort of argued with God—this wasn’t the best setting, surely there was a better plan. The Holy Spirit persisted, ‘Now!’ So I asked . . . and the man said ‘Yes!’”
Later, Jon learned what was happening behind the scenes. The Bankes’ supporting church in Washington maintains a calendar, praying on different days of the week for different missionaries in the field. On the Saturday he was speaking with the Fulani man, Jon was the one on the prayer list back home. What’s more, he learned a group met to pray for him that Saturday at 9 a.m. “Allowing for the time difference,” Jon realized, “they were praying for me at the very moment I felt led to ask him, ‘Do you want to hear the good news?’”
Years later, after Jon, his support team, and SIM had prayed for the Fulani man, Jon met him again. He had believed and received Jesus Christ!
God had assembled a full team around the world laboring that this man might believe. “We’ve always appreciated SIM’s sense of family and community,” Jon said. “The network of missionaries and ministries on the field provides support, and also opportunity.”
God brought all of the pieces together: A missionary’s willingness to go, a financial support team that sent the Bankes to Niger, the prayers of the church, and training and support from SIM that prepared the Bankes for their work. Out of the opportunity the Holy Spirit orchestrated, the prayers of the sending church and supporters all converged, and someone who had never heard the good news of Jesus Christ before . . . now believes!
It’s no coincidence. This is how our God works.