Why SIM?

http://carolynford.org/newsite/wp-content/uploads/sim.pngWhile still in college, I wrote to several missions inquiring about ministry opportunities. SIM (“Sudan Interior Mission” at that time, now “Serving in Mission”) responded 2 months ahead of any other mission, even though I had sent my letters of inquiry to all of them at the same time. SIM responded with a job description that was just what I wanted – teaching math and Bible in a high school for Ethiopian students. And SIM was one of the few missions with a doctrinal statement I totally agreed with.

What I appreciate most about SIM:

  1. Our motto: “By Prayer”. It’s not just a motto; it’s a commitment, a way of life. SIM has an extensive network for sharing prayer requests, and we pray daily, usually many times a day, for one another. We pray about everything – accidents, illness, political unrest, government permissions, kingdom work, personal needs. And God answers.
  2. Our interdenominationalness: We agree on the basics. Click here to see our doctrinal statement. Most of us don’t know or care what denomination the other belongs to. We share our values and insights from Scripture. We discuss issues using the Bible as our textbook. We learn from each other.
  3. Our internationalness: It can be shocking at times to learn that my colleagues think, say and do things differently; but it broadens my perspective and helps me think through what is really important, and what is just a matter of personal taste or culture. That in turn opens my mind to understand and accept the different cultural characteristics of my Ethiopian brothers and sisters.
  4. Shared support: From the beginning, SIM’s policy was that each missionary have full support pledged before leaving for the mission field, but after that whatever came in for support would be divided equally among all members. After all, we don’t want one family going hungry while another lives in abundance. Although this has been revised somewhat in recent years, the principle is still in force.
  5. A Caring Leadership: When my dad died quite suddenly and I made an unexpected trip home 10 months into my third term, when my mother suddenly needed surgery and I came home to help her, SIM leadership made every effort to facilitate my travel, allowing me to charge the tickets to my Ministry Account. When any missionary is ill, the first priority is to get the medical help they need … even if it means an expensive evacuation to another country. When I’ve been struggling in my ministry or relationships, SIM leaders have gone out of their way to counsel and encourage me. That means a lot.
  6. Unconditional love and acceptance: I don’t think I knew what that was until I joined SIM. The love and acceptance I experience from my colleagues in SIM provide an environment for strong spiritual growth, increased confidence, and the freedom to be who I am as I struggle to become who God created me to be.
  7. Commitment to God and His Word: I haven’t met a group of people anywhere more committed to walk close to God, to obey His Word, and to further His kingdom than my colleagues in SIM. When we talk about the “SIM family”, we really mean it. My colleagues are like family to me.
  8. Commitment to integrity: It isn’t easy to keep all the books straight with several thousand missionaries from many sending countries, serving in many different nations, using many different currencies. But SIM does an excellent job of it, using both internal and external audits.
  9. Broad perspective: SIM is basically a church planting mission, but we don’t believe in birthing babies and then leaving them to starve, or to raise themselves. So we are involved in most every ministry imaginable – evangelism, discipleship, leadership training, basic education, theological education, translation, all forms of media, medical ministry, agriculture, animal husbandry, veterinary training & services … I appreciate the freedom this gives each member to minister in accordance with the gifts and calling he/she has received from God.
  10. Retirement Benefits: Several years before I joined SIM, some of our leaders were moved by God to establish a “retirement village” here in Sebring. This is a very special gift for those of us without homes or land of our own, especially those like me with no expertise to help us figure out how to survive in retirement. We currently have almost 150 residents. A few are from other missions. One of those from another mission said to me, “I was in charge of maintaining the retirement facilities for the mission I was part of. I saw them all, and I chose to retire here because SIM has the best program and facilities I could find.” I feel so blessed to be able to live in a nice house among people who share my values and priorities. Volunteers and staff work hard to make sure our needs are met. Yet we still have freedom to minister in accordance with the health God gives us and the calling we have received.