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

Intern William – Intermission [Blog #4]

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I am currently sitting at my gate in the Seattle airport waiting on my flight to Paris before I head on to Abuja. And while I am super excited about this, let’s talk about all that is (or now was I guess) the Whole Person Care Preceptorship. 30-ish people. 7+ cities visited. 5 weeks. 2 national parks. 1 summer that’ll last a lifetime. Gosh, there’s no way I can cover all that has happened since the last update. (I know, it’d be easier if they had actually happened on time, but that’s life.) So I guess the two big things have been the PrePro week and our Arizona excursion. So we’ll fill yall in on those. “PrePro” stands for Pre-Professional, and pretty much it’s a week where undergraduate students who are pre-med, nursing, PA, PT, etc. come in to learn a little of what we’ve been getting this whole program. … Read More

Intern William: If You Give an Introvert True Community [Blog #3)

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If you give an introvert true community, he’s going to be skeptical. When he’s skeptical, he’ll be polite but look for a problem. When he doesn’t find a problem, he’ll actually begin to open up to these people. When he opens up to these people, friendships will form. When these friendships are with people who have the same passions, interests, and love of Christ, amazing things can happen. Ok, so maybe it’s a little bit of a cheesy intro (and if you don’t get the reference, revisit childhood with a quick search for the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie), but it is very true. Last time I was on here – and yes, I realize that was two weeks ago despite my lofty goals – I wrote about how great things were happening as we went and talked with patients on wards, which is still great, but not … Read More

Intern William: Would It Help If I…[Blog #2]

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Would it help if I …shared this with you? …left this on the table? …prayed with you? Last Saturday afternoon was our first patient experience with the Whole Person Care Preceptorship here in Redlands. After listening to various speakers that morning and the night before discuss spiritual care and faith in medicine, at 1:00 PM we all loaded up to head to Loma Linda University Medical Center. These thirty-some-odd healthcare students were ready, albeit slightly uncertain in a few cases, to finally put what we had learned into practice. We all found our partners, mentors, and respective floors where we would be visiting patients and away we went. Our first two patients that day were great. Both welcomed us into their lives and shared more than I know of a good deal of my friends back home. Our job this first day was just to practice taking a spiritual history, … Read More

Intern William: The End of the Beginning [Blog #1]

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And then there was one. Seven days ago I arrived here in Charlotte, NC where I met the other eight SIM short-term missionaries (STA’s) that would be going through orientation with me. They have all now departed to begin their journeys to various parts of the world and have left me here alone to reflect on the incredible things that have happened this past week. A quick recap to make sure everyone reading is up to speed: In May I finished my first year of medical school (Woohoo!), and am now enjoying what is commonly referred to as my “last summer”. After this, school becomes pretty much a year-round thing (woohoo…). So armed with the knowledge that this was my last good chunk of free time for a long time, considerable amounts of time, research, and prayer went into deciding how best to spend it. My biggest desire was to find … Read More

SIM’s Danja Fistula Center Gives New Hope: International Day to End Obstetric Fistula 2016

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23 May 2016 Salome is the first person in her Nigerien family to attend school. “I came from a very poor family and I have worked hard to say that I’m the best student in my family,” she said. Her determination had twice earned her the top student award in her school. While she excelled in a variety of subjects, it had been her aspiration to become a doctor since primary school. However, these plans got side-tracked in the first year of her secondary school studies. During a school break she went to visit her grandmother’s village. As in customary in some parts of the country, Salome and her sister were subjected to female circumcision by family members. The surgery left lasting physical ailments for Salome, and because of her incontinence and shame she was not able to return to school. “I was crying day to night,” she said. “Crying … Read More

God’s Good Work: Dr. Vandana’s Story

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by Sarah K. Sitting behind the desk in her hospital office, Dr. Vandana points to a faded picture of a mousy girl. The girl’s clothes are slightly too big; they seem to swallow her, like the timidity clinging to her features. “No one wanted to be my friend,” Vandana recalls, laughing ruefully. She regularly failed exams and often found herself on the bench in class reserved for the worst performing students, which didn’t help her shyness. When her parents announced to relatives or neighbors their plans to make her a doctor, Vandana would look for a place to hide. It’s hard to find a trace of that girl as Vandana, now actually a doctor, bustles down one of the hospital’s outdoor corridors, her arms full of papers. She’s moving so quickly that her green dupatta (long scarf) and dark shoulder-length hair flutter out behind her in the morning breeze. It … Read More

My Story: Warren

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The Hat are a Central Asian minority whose Chinese-Islamic heritage and culture distinguishes them from the Majority populations in the countries in which they live. Numbering about 10.6 million, they are descendants of Muslim merchants from Persia and Arabia, as well as Muslim mercenary armies sent to support local dynasties. Pray for workers willing to go among them with humility, vulnerability and respect, helping them to learn how to follow Jesus as Hat.  Two Hat men – Photo courtesy of Tom Thai Warren’s restaurant was across the street from our home. He would often see me cycling around town or heading out to exercise.  One day as we ate in his restaurant Warren asked if he could exercise with me. We started cycling together once a week – sometimes for several hours at a time, followed by refreshments back at his restaurant. As our friendship deepened Warren shared about his … Read More