Most read stories

"A radio programme changed my life"

"Waves of Hope" radio ministry makes a difference to many people in Loja, Ecuador. Read why we want to expand this radio ministry and about Klever's story.

"Can I ask you a question about Jesus Christ?"

“Can I ask you a question about Jesus Christ?” That's what Ken asked me as we sat down in our living room, where I keep a Bible in the local language on display.

Going to stay: Demystifying the lives of missionary mothers

Going to stay: Demystifying the lives of missionary mothers
Are stay-at-home missionary moms really “missionaries”? Does their sometimes exhausting work on behalf of their families negate their role in building the Kingdom of God?

By Denise Poon with Chad Loftis, International

At the heart of Christian missions is the word “go.” “Go” away from your home country. “Go” to a new place where you don’t speak the language or know a single person. Once you get there, “go” out and do your ministry.

But a good number of missionaries don’t actually go anywhere. They stay at home. These are the missionary moms who spend their time overseas, not church-planting or working in a hospital, but at home taking care of their children and domestic work. Their days are filled with finding ways to keep their families fed, clean and educated in a strange environment, with navigating the pitfalls of raising children under the social microscope of difference and of figuring out how to do it all in most cases without any of the support and resources of "home." Are such women really “missionaries”? Does their sometimes exhausting work on behalf of their families negate their role in building the Kingdom of God?

Left: Grace and her family in Kyrgyzstan in 2005. Grace struggled fitting in with the highly patriarchal expectations of the culture; Left: Grace in her counselling office at Cornerstone Counseling in Thailand - Photo courtesy of Grace Shim and by Chad Loftis. Lauren is a mother of two who previously lived and served in Thailand with her family. “Someone in pre-field training once said that the hardest role overseas is the stay-at-home-mom and wife. You’re making just as many sacrifices as your husband, if not more, and you don’t see the front lines of ministry a lot, the things that keep you in the game. Of all the people who come back burnt out and depressed the majority are the moms,’” Lauren said. “So I knew that going in, but until you’re there, it’s hard to understand.”

We might call it the feminine mystique of missionary moms*: the misconception that missionary women who are stay-at-home moms, taking care of their children and domestic work are perfectly content doing so, or that they are somehow doing “less” than their fellow missionaries who are in “full-time ministry.”

When Lauren and her husband first moved to Thailand, they didn’t have any kids and focused on learning Thai and exploring their new environment. There was the “normal wear and tear of living overseas,” she says, but nothing to cause unnecessary alarm.

“Then all of the sudden that was all taken from me, in a sense,” she says of having her first child and recalling her thinking at the time. “It’s like, ‘I’m a mom now, what’s my role? I just learned language and now I’m at home all day just feeding my kid, I didn’t come to Thailand to do that. I came with a calling and I feel like I’m wasting supporters’ money just sitting here.’ I was trying to figure out am I going to be a full-time mom or am I going to do half and half – what do I do? What gives me life?”

Genine at home with her two kids, Samuel and Daniele - Photo courtesy of Genine Thomas.Motherhood upends things, from a woman’s sense of time and priorities to emotional stability and even basic functions like eating and sleeping. It’s all uncannily similar to culture shock and, like culture shock, can produce a sense of disorientation and a loss of identity. In a missions context, it means mothers question their role, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of ministry involvement.

“Having a second child has been challenging. It’s more responsibility and more to take care of. I do feel a pull towards doing ministry...but I feel it’s selfish to Daniela [my second child] if I don’t give her my time,” says Genine, whose family is a part of a church-planting team. “I don’t know what my purpose in the team is anymore and I feel bad, like I’m not doing enough to help since I’m at home taking care of the kids. It’s a battle within me.”

Another missionary woman, Bec, who has three young boys and serves in sports ministry with her husband explained, “I work from home, so the kids are in your face, and you feel guilt for not giving them more attention. And how do you draw the boundaries with what’s work and what’s not, especially in ministry? I miss the defined-ness of going to an office and having a ‘normal’ job back in Australia. I feel like it made me a better mom, having that space.”

In Wanjai and Grace’s case, they spent most of their time at home when their families served in Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan, respectively, as per those cultures’ prescribed norms and gender roles.

“In Bangladesh, women are considered nothing. Living there, I felt like I was being gradually battered down and I began to think that way too, like I was nothing,” says Wanjai, who had shared domestic responsibilities equally with her husband up until they moved to Bangladesh.

“In the beginning years, my ministry was primarily pouring tea,” Grace says of her time in Kyrgyzstan. “Sitting at the table with women from the community and trying to converse in a language that wasn’t my own felt very meaningless to me most days.”

Left: Wanjai and her family in Bangladesh, circa 2006; Right: Wanjai and her husband, David at home. Wanjai cooks almost all the food for the family as food from local restaurants and vendors aggravates her fibromyalgia - Photo courtesy of Wanjai Park and by Chad Loftis.This is a common theme for many mothers serving cross-culturally: a desire for “meaning” and “usefulness” - so prized in Christian ministry - and the subsequent loss of a sense of purpose, even value when this desire is unmet by life at home. When one isn’t “doing ministry”, or “enough” of it, a crisis of priorities leaves many missionary mothers under intense pressure to do and be more both inside and outside of the home. Guilt can quickly become overwhelming to say nothing of sheer exhaustion.

It is no surprise, then, that, as Lauren pointed out, missionary moms are becoming weary and burnt out.

So what does it mean to “go” and do ministry? Can "going" really mean staying at home?

“I began to see how this ministry of presence, of being with people, is very valuable,” says Grace. “Especially when the culture [where you serve] is about welcoming people into your home and hosting them.”

Nellie and her family have lived and served in China for over a decade, with four children. The youngest, Gloria, was adopted not too long ago.

“It was like, ‘Oh, woe is me! After ten years I’m still at home!’” she laughed good-naturedly, obviously no longer distressed that she was not doing accounting as she once did or involved at the “front lines” of ministry. “But what is ministry? Being a witness to those at home – that’s where faith is lived out. Sometimes it’s almost more powerful than doing a Bible study. Especially in this culture of first generation Chinese Christian woman, they hardly have examples of an actual Christian mom or Christian family to follow.”

“I was so focused on the fruit of ‘ministry’ that it sometimes felt like my responsibilities as a mom got in the way of that,” Grace says. “But being faithful as a mother and a wife, is just as valuable as being faithful in ministry.”

And being faithful as a wife and mother in a cross-cultural context means that you have a natural niche to build relationships with those around you.

“Children are a way of breaking the ice,” Genine says. She often takes her two kids out to run errands and just get on with daily life. “When the people in our community see them, they always ask questions. And I have a way of building relationships with them and starting conversations.”

“I didn’t feel like it stood in the way, though I didn’t agree with it and it goes against my own values,” Grace says of Kyrgyzstan and the traditional and patriarchal culture. “Being a mom and having kids helped me connect with other women in the community. It was definitely a bridge.”

For Lauren, being at home meant she could spend more time with Pawn, their house helper. Lauren was able to use the Thai she learned and informally disciple Pawn. Out of that relationship, as well as their family’s ministry with missional business, they eventually helped Pawn open her own business, a burrito truck (watch a video about Pawn's business here).

“My takeaway is whether you’re doing ministry or whether you’re at home with your kids, your role is serving by keeping your family healthy,” she says “For me, thriving here has looked different during each season: thriving as a stay-at-home mom, thriving in friendships with other women, or thriving helping Pawn start her business. Whatever it is, that ultimately serves my husband and his ministry.”

Bec watches two of her three boys during one of her husband's soccer matches with Sports Friends - Photo courtesy of Bec Oakley.

Sheree and her husband have been missionaries for over fifteen years. She doesn't have kids of her own but shared about an experience she had as a single woman in her early years in Zambia. She stepped in to help one of the missionary families with cooking and taking care of their boys while the mother had to go out of town.

“It was a big undertaking. Holy cow, they ate so much food! By the end of the week I was exhausted, it was unreal,” she said. “When she came back, I told her, ‘I appreciate so much what you do, day in, day out. I don’t know how you do this.’ If this woman hadn’t been there, the whole household would’ve fallen apart and her husband wouldn’t have been able to do his ministry freely.”

But should being a missionary wife and mother boil down to doing whatever serves the man’s ministry? Are married women little more than accessories to their husband’s calling?

Bec says, “I do a lot for Sports Friends but I don’t have an official role. I do miss the respect that comes with a title. I don’t like being thought of as just a missionary’s wife. I’m a missionary and a wife – it’s not the same.”

Some families are finding ways to make the woman’s ministry role outside the home a priority.

Kiki, mother of a two-year-old and a four-month-old who lives in Southeast Asia, said she sobbed with relief when her husband, Trey proposed they leave the large city where they had been working as church planters to pursue her passion for counselling in another part of the country. “God arranged for us to be here and for me to be able to thrive in a role that I love,” she says, “but Trey also showed a lot of humility to consider ministry and calling that wasn't directed by his desires.”

Since giving birth to their second, Kiki works part time while Trey contributes to a church-planting team. They share parenting duties between them and with their full-time nanny, Liew. “Trey has always considered himself to be equally a parent to our kids,” Kiki says, “and we decide together how they are doing and what they need. I know that he loves being indispensable in caring for them.”

Left: Kiki between counselling sessions in her office at The Well International; Right: With daughter, Abigail - photo by Chad Loftis and courtesy of Nawat Photography.Of course, having an official role and being a mother demands difficult choices. Kiki says, “I've had to say ‘no’ to my kids at times...and I have gotten really good at saying 'no' to extra work responsibilities!”

But the benefits for her and the whole family outweigh the challenges. “I know that [Trey], too feels the strain of balancing work and family, know the phrase ‘happy wife, happy life’? Our marriage was the most difficult it’s ever been when we were in Bangkok and I was struggling so much on a personal, spiritual, and ministry level. Now I love that I am always looking forward to going to work and I am always looking forward to going home too.”

Even when there’s flexibility between ministry and motherhood, though, the tension is still a burden for many women.

“The question of balance of doing enough and being enough, I think that’s forever,” says Grace, whose children are now either in college or high school and who also serves these days in full-time ministry as a counselor. “I have to continually go back to ‘Who am I with You, God?’ And as I grow deeper in my understanding and experience of God’s love for me and who I am in Him, I live with more freedom and joy. My kids, my marriage, and my ministry are not to be the basis of my value and worth.”

“It all comes down to my relationship with God,” echoes Nellie. “I can dream of all the things I could be doing, but if I don’t have a healthy strong relationship with God, then both are meaningless.”

At the end of the day, then, perhaps it isn’t necessarily about being faithful as a mom or wife or faithful to a ministry, but who you are being faithful to.

“It’s taken me a really long time to get there,” says Grace. “I’ve looked to my kids and husband and marriage as somehow they define or rate me. That takes its toll on us as women. To define ourselves from what’s outside of us. I think part of my journey is about my enough-ness with God. In other words, how God sees me, just as a I am, in the place that I am - will I choose to rest in the truth that I am loved by Him?”

A search for this kind of rest might not answer all the tough questions eternally facing missionary mothers: “should I be more at home or more outside in ‘ministry’?”; "Is what I do of any value?" and “How can I find more support?”; It might not immediately transform the norms and expectations surrounding mothers in cross-cultural work.

But maybe, if we all paid a little less attention to those norms and a little more attention to God's love it might just encourage us all - women and men alike - to do a bit less “going” and a bit more “staying.”

Pray for:

• women struggling to balance cross-cultural ministry and motherhood (like the women in this story). Ask God that they would be sustained by the Holy Spirit and their families and communities.

• a shift in thinking that would allow women's contributions both in the home and in formal ministries to be valued. 

• mission organisations, leaders and husbands to value women enough to give them an equal share in discerning God's will and leading. 

*Betty Freidan’s controversial book The Feminine Mystique refuted the myth of 1950s and 1960s America that every housewife was content in her role. SIM Stories does not recommend Freidan's book but we couldn't resist alluding to its title here given the similar "mystique" that often surrounds missionary women. 

This story first appeared on


Related Ministries

Related stories

A new wave of Latino missionaries

Nearly every Latino candidate I meet wants to work in the unreached places of the world and do some of the hardest work. God is raising up a new wave of missionaries in South America, and we are joyfully equipping them for service and sending them to these unreached areas.

Launching the project “Let's Mobilise His Church” in Spanish

Mobilisation is not just about sending missionaries, but also about encouraging all the people of God to participate in the mission of God.

Related stories

Music academy develops talent, preserves Nigerian church music

Martha Bradford had no intention of teaching music in Nigeria. But today she is running a music academy and helping to preserve Nigerian church music.

SIM returns to Northern Nigeria

As Boko Haram's influence declines, SIM is moving north again to reestablish clinics and schools with ECWA

After the earthquake, God brings healing

One year after a devastating 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Ecuador, people are still rebuilding their homes. But deep emotional wounds still remain. SIM Ecuador is focusing on trauma healing in our continuing relief efforts to the disaster-ravaged region.

Teachers: Affecting eternity, one student at a time

Teachers are urgently needed in Ecuador! The education of missionary children is one of the greatest factors affecting a missionary’s duration, location and effectiveness. Read more about how teachers make it possible for missionary parents to stay on the field, and ask God if you can fill a need for MK teachers in Ecuador.

The Pastor's role in developing a missions-minded church

Working among an unreached people group is so important in developing a passion for mission in pastors and church leaders.

Past dividing lines: Ministering to India's transgenders

Last week we visited several homes that really felt like shades and shadows. I followed Anna through the crowds of a wholesale bazaar, jostled with cows and carts, to the vicinity where dark narrow alleyways and stairwells led to the separate homes of 5 or 6 transgenders (TGs) under her care.

How can churches financially support their missionaries?

Can we give like the man who called his church to move beyond their pocket money to give their land and possessions?

God of the City: Church planting in Bangkok

Chris and Rawee are pastors at Grace Community Church (GCC) in Bangkok, and while the people gathering for Sunday service are obviously Christian, most Bangkokians are not, making church planting in the city a venture in reaching the least reached.

Oral Bible takes root in Quechua communities

Fortunata didn’t know what would happen in the remote Quechua village up the mountainside in Peru. Months before, she and her husband, a pastor in their hometown, felt a calling to this village. But then the threats started coming.

"Go and preach!"

Latinos for global missions! Read about a young Ecuadorian impacted by God, ministering to students of his home country, and preparing for missions.

In the shadow of the Virgin Mary's village, God builds new friendships

Building relationships in a religious community of Loja Province of Ecuador can be challenging, but God connects His workers with those He is seeking out!

Small town, big changes

The harvest is ripe in the rural area of Loja province. Read more about a couple in a small village finding freedom in Christ and about the challenges they face in their community.

New ELWA Hospital launches a new era for Liberian healthcare

Nearly 2.7 million people have flowed through the hospital since 1965, receiving quality care in a country with one of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in the world.

The masked shiners of La Paz

SIM workers Randy and Dani Davis are establishing a church called Kayaparu ("at His feet") amongst one of Bolivia's least-reached communities - the shoe shiners of La Paz.

Your skills: Tools in God's hands

Four short stories describe how missionaries are using their God-given skills in their ministries.

Prisoners for Christ in Ethiopia: The rest of the story

Bill determined to visit Ethiopian church leaders in prison, pray for them and seek their release. They had been beaten, tortured and incarcerated for their faith. That is all that Bill remembered or heard of the story - until 32 years later.

Walking through darkness: Panna's transformation

When Panna arrived at Redlight Greenlight, a home for trafficked girls, she refused to talk or open up to the others. How could the team reach her with God's love?

Where the sun doesn't shine - VIDEO

SIM Bolivia reaches out to the miners of Potosí and dreams of them going in the mines singing praises to the Lord.

Empowering indigenous people to worship through the arts

Filipino Christians find unique cultural avenues for expressing their faith

The need for discipleship

Discipleship is vital for new believers and their personal growth in Christ. A missionary shares her experience.

New wells bring typhoid relief to Niger villages

With an alarming typhoid rate, Galmi Hospital research is spurring new prevention measures

"The Story of Hope" brings joy to rural Ecuador

The Bible is the Word of God, but we could easily call it the "Book of hope." Through the many stories in the Bible we see God at work and his plan of salvation through Jesus Christ unfolding across its pages. As a result of SIM Ecuador's "Story of Hope" ministry in rural Loja, Christian believers participated in a special biblical training presentation that introduced important concepts in new and unforgettable ways.

SIM relief aid response heads to Mozambique flood zone

Relief supplies from SIM and its partners are on their way to help flood victims in southern Mozambique. They should arrive before the end of March.

"It touched my heart"

PbeeMai was like any other twenty-year-old: looking for validation from his peers, wanting to be well-liked and popular. But he saw something different – something perhaps even worthwhile – in the way Brian welcomed students into his home and built relationships with them.

God has taught us to pray

Koreans Sung and Jae Ok Lee run the Rhizha Prayer and Retreat Centre near Jos, Nigeria. Since 2004 they have worked with the Evangelical Missionary Society, training missionaries and offering them a beautiful place to pray.

Encouraged and empowered: Helping women help themselves

Like most girls from her village, Khushboo grew up accepting the established gender roles. She would do housework in her parents’ home until the day she moved into her husband’s home, and she wouldn't leave their husband’s house until she was carried out – when she died.

Bringing art and beauty to Kenya's trash heaps

What business does a group of artists have, visiting a huge rubbish dump in Nairobi, sitting in tiny shacks with the trash sorters, and bringing art materials to their kids?

Galmi Hospital: Going where no believer has gone before

This is an amazing profession, working at Galmi Hospital. I used to dream about becoming an astronaut. But here, rather than exploring barren planets devoid of life, we get to venture into unchartered territories where there are living beings made in the image of God.

Sorani Kurdish Bible translation finally complete

Translation for northern Iraq community finished after 28 years of work.

Longing to breathe free

Pastor Shravan has been in a terrible place of bondage to drug addiction. And now his life mission is to prevent anyone he can from staying in that dark, destructive place. Along with workers from the Urban Development Project (UDP), which helps connect and train slum churches to meet the needs of their communities, Pastor Shravan hopes to help others break free from drug and substance abuse in his city.

Danja Fistula Center brings hope

Salome is the first person in her Nigerien family to attend school.

Pop-up clinic leads Liberians to the Lord

A temporary clinic in a suburb of Liberian capital Monrovia is bringing people to Christ in the most unexpected ways.

From the overpass to the job market

Twice Lily found herself standing on the overpass, wondering what to do with her life and how to make ends meet, as busy city traffic whizzed underneath. But God was about to do something good in Lily's life through CUP (Children's Uplift Program).

The surprising ways God is at work in Bolivia - VIDEO

SIM has a commitment to the least reached people, where there is no gospel. In Bolivia this includes indigenous groups, rural residents and urban dwellers.

Loving the oppressor (and not only the oppressed)

The Bible talks about loving the oppressed – the widows and orphans, those who have suffered and have been treated unjustly. But what about loving the oppressors, the ones who have sinned against others? In Myanmar, the Bamar majority people are seen as oppressors and the perpetrators of some of the worst violations to human rights. These are the people Sandra and Tim want to share Jesus with.

Stitching dreams

Producing artisanal handicrafts and walking through life's hardships.

High-impact connections: Reaching university students for Christ

Universities are places where the faith of Christians is put to the test. Christian students need to know they are not alone and how to share the gospel with their classmates. Read more about how this ministry is impacting young students at the universities of Loja.

Sharing the light of Christ with Filipino Muslims

It’s midday on a Tuesday. The day care for young children that Jo and two others run in a neighbourhood of Manila is coming to a close. Time for a break!

Ecuador and Ghana: Cross-cultural friendship produces a great harvest

Thomas responded to his missionary call after meeting an Ecuadorian mission team whose presence in Ghana spoke to him deeply - and they challenged him to go where Christ has not been known.

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

Occupational therapy helps Nigeriens regain mobility and engage with their world in new ways.

When women come together

During Lent, our community supports us as we experience the hard gifts of fasting. The community between Prabhouti, Pavitr, and Sambha - the ease with which they trusted and laughed with one another - almost made me jealous. Hearing their story makes me long to create the same sort of community around me.

Hindu World Prayer Guide: Reaching out through prayer

As many Hindus celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, Christians will be praying that the True Light will be made known amongst them.

“The mountains have burst”: Zimbabwe under Cyclone Idai

When the floods came to Chimanimani, it was as if the mountains exploded. "The people said, ‘the mountains have burst,’” said SIM Zimbabwe Director Caiphas Ngarivhume.

Key of the kingdom

Enraged at his Christian wife for going to a church conference, the Muslim husband locked up the house as soon as she left, declaring to the neighbors that his wife would never enter his home again. To make his point, he threw the key into the river as he headed to his girlfriend's house for the week.

Evaluating risk and caring for missionaries

Risk is part of life, whether we stay home or become a missionary. And yet the parts of the world where Christ remains unknown are mostly the more dangerous ones.

Meeting the needs of migrants in Malaysia

In the case of Malaysia, the Lower House of Parliament in a 2015 session revealed a figure of 2.7 million registered migrants in the country.

Building good relationships in a tough place

New relationships surprise an anonymous central Asia SIM worker.

A man called Million

Who was this man named "Million" ⁠— and why did he have such an unusual name?

Chicken dinner ministry

Inmates take part in the Great Commission by donating from what they have.

World Refugee Day 2017

SIM Canada reaches out to diverse communities at its doorstep

Could you be the gospel worker to help refugees in northern Greece?

God's people are at work in Greece, helping the thousands of people arriving from the Middle East.

A child of war becomes a man of peace

Joseph Kur was a boy soldier in the Sudanese Civil War, both witnessing and committing terrible acts while still a child.

New missions Centre carries SIM Philippines into new era

The time intensive plants take tending and patience, finally yielding a crop many years after planting. So it goes with ministry to minority religious groups in the Philippines.

UN World Refugee Day: Reaching modern-day Hagars

The well-known story of Hagar in the book of Genesis is being repeated over and over again today. In recent years, many of them have come to Europe after being expelled from their countries because of war or in an attempt to find a better future.

The Yao of Mozambique hear the gospel for first time

Eleven years ago, God placed a dream in our hearts to teach his Word to people in Mozambique who have never heard his message.

Building the Church by motorcycle

The somewhat imaginary path dwindled away, and we couldn't make ourselves imagine it going any farther. We stopped the motorcycle and laughed.

Bringing sports ministry to some of the world's highest mountains

We may have been shivering 12,800 feet above sea level in the little mountain town of Ayaviri, but the warm welcome we received from our Andean brothers and sisters in Christ was unlike any other.

A new wave of Latino missionaries

Nearly every Latino candidate I meet wants to work in the unreached places of the world and do some of the hardest work. God is raising up a new wave of missionaries in South America, and we are joyfully equipping them for service and sending them to these unreached areas.

Cultivating a generous spirit

Let us accept that the itinerary and ministry of Elisha described in II Kings 4:8-17 fits the profile of a 21ˢᵗ century missionary. The question then is: Whose responsibility is it to care for Elisha?

Light at the end of the tunnel

I took a deep breath and reconsidered my options. The most appealing choice for me would require us to backtrack several miles to the place we took the shot cut and then climb over a high mountain pass.

We do whatever it takes to start new churches

The son of a Methodist father and a Muslim mother, Shodankeh Johnson serves with New Harvest Global Ministries in Sierra Leone. Making use of the principles of DMM (Disciple Making Movements), he and his team have planted some 2,000 churches.

Gospel hope transforms lives of addicted couple

Our partners in Mongolia are doing some astonishing gospel work among people with addictions, helping them out of their dependencies and into a living relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a first-person account of how one woman's life has been transformed.

Trading death for life

His name is Adam, and he was a witch doctor.

An audience of 150,000 and growing

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 opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with many more people.

Kung fu Kwan

Kung fu master, Kwan, is living proof that almost any skill can be used in cross-cultural mission.

God's plan for devastated Doro

Missionaries returned to the South Sudan settlement of Doro, just three months after the compound was destroyed by fighting between rival armed groups.

What if God calls you to be an architect?

Our professional callings are pre-ordained to be spheres of service to God.

In the wake of Ebola, SIM offers ground-breaking medical treatment

In immense pain, James entered the Ebola survivor treatment unit in February 2015. Ebola had left his body months before, but he couldn't ignore the side effects any longer. His right eye was entirely clouded and the pain in his joints meant he could barely walk to the examination room.

Banda Go: Helping healthcare heroes

Banda Health, an affordable IT solution designed by SIM’s Banda Health team, is at an exciting chapter in supporting healthcare heroes in their local low-resource communities.

A spirit of freedom

When Prang came to know Christ, she finally felt freedom from the evil spirits that used to plague her.

New Uruguay mission school has vision for world missions

SIM has a commitment to see Uruguay reached for Christ. And through key partnerships with like-minded organisations, a new missionary training school called Todos Oiran (All Will Hear) is opening its doors in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Filling empty spaces

When Jyoti was first diagnosed with HIV, she was already pregnant with her daughter. The government hospital referred her to Shalom, whose workers offer the love of Christ, care, counselling, support and community. Shalom has been the one constant source of comfort to Jyoti since.

Hope on the hard streets

Mimi's father died when she was only 10 years old and her family was left without anyone to provide for their them.

Demonstrating the Father’s love to the fatherless

An AIDS and HIV orphan finds hope in Christ through an SIM ministry

Jonny speaks up for Jesus in Bolivia

Our founding fathers' goal was to share the gospel in places it had never been heard; now many missionaries want to help believers build a lifelong relationship with Jesus.

Crossing barriers to Filipinos

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 centre they are hoping to introduce Muslim Filipinos to the prophet Isa (Jesus).

Off the streets of India, into a new life

Shilpa is a survivor of sexual abuse. When she first came to the Redlight Greenlight aftercare home, she struggled to participate in school, group therapy, dance or art. She would compare herself to the other girls and say, "I can't do this right," before getting angry and just giving up altogether.

Ecuador earthquake disaster relief - One month later

God is at work, even through the aftermath of the destructive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck coastal Ecuador on April 16.

Latinos reaching Latinos: God at work in rural Ecuador

Martha was always full of questions. From the first time she attended the Bible study, her desire to know more was evident.

Opening doors through business in North Africa

Language and culture education business creates employment and ministry opportunities.

Skills for worship

Are we made simply for our own enjoyment or for something greater? Are our skills only for sale, or are they for worship?

Peruvians learn about clean water and the Living Water

Life-threatening diseases are being tackled by a unique partnership between a water engineer, a dentist, a nurse and an evangelist in remote parts of Peru.

Dickens is spared for a purpose in Kenya

As his home life turned sour, Dickens decided that the streets were a better option for him. In just eight months, his environment turned him from a soft-spoken boy to a hardened thief.

A jar of oil and a handful of flour

Today in Africa there are many churches – even small ones – that are sending or taking steps towards sending missionaries. A giving church is obeying God’s commandment to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. But what if your church is not yet giving financially to mission?

Daphne takes the gospel from Kenya to the UK

Kenyan Daphne Kabeberi launches SIM UK's Engage project in a community church on an Edinburgh council estate.

Nepal earthquake recovery - The long road back to normal

It was a typical Saturday, the day of rest and of worship for all faiths in Nepal. In the village of Kichot, people gathered in Sinkilebenezer Church for their usual worship service. Butel was finishing his sermon when he realized the communion elements were missing.

Taliban widow finds hope in Christ

One fateful day, after the violence came to her own doorstep, Aadab was left alone with two young children, no husband… and an opportunity to change her life. On that day, she realised she could only find safety for her family by escaping.

SIM missionary forerunner called home

It is fitting that Andrew finished his missionary career in a similar fashion to how he began it, as a pioneer of new ministry ventures for SIM, empowering people to serve in those least-reached places of the world where people are living and dying without knowing Christ.

How our small church grew a big heart for missions

Evangelical Christian Fellowship (ECF) in Liberia takes a special interest in missions and celebrates their recent missionary send off.

Going where there is no gospel in Asia

"Julie" is part of a small team hoping to bring the word of God and maybe, one day, the first church among the Central Asian minority we call "Cheuasai."

Connecting cultures through dreams

I am usually not a dreamer, but following that discussion I had a dream where I decided to cut my hair. In my dream, as I turned my head sideways my face turned into one of the local U people.

“I hugged my daughter for the first time.”

Pastor Joelson Mwansa was not always a pastor. In fact, people knew Mwansa as the local drunk for many years in his town in Zambia, but then Mwansa had an encounter with God.

"Can I ask you a question about Jesus Christ?"

“Can I ask you a question about Jesus Christ?” That's what Ken asked me as we sat down in our living room, where I keep a Bible in the local language on display.

Nigeriens read Tamajaq New Testament for first time

After 30 years of hard work, the New Testament in Tamajaq is complete.

Mariama's cancer care comes with gospel hope in Niger

At Galmi, the aim is to heal the whole person, not just the body.

Transformed by short-term missions

For many years, I have felt that the Lord was calling me to something. I prayed for wisdom and clarity but a restless and unsettled feeling plagued me.

Two years after Ebola, survivors find new hope in trauma counseling

Nancy Writebol remembers the exact moment her husband David told her she had the Ebola Virus Disease.

Six months in China: Short-term internship, long-term perspective

The students - all studying at a local university - have come to her 12-week class to improve their English. Rachel is here for a different reason.

One sugar cube: The sweet taste of the gospel in Egypt

Evangelism in Egypt is complex, but the steady work of SIM partners is inviting.

From noodles to soccer balls

Aof had gone to church for many Sundays and had said many “Amens” to the prayers people had prayed for her – but nothing really worked until she challenged God herself.

"A radio programme changed my life"

"Waves of Hope" radio ministry makes a difference to many people in Loja, Ecuador. Read why we want to expand this radio ministry and about Klever's story.

Piano bench ministry

Playing in an orchestra can open opportunities for heartfelt discussions about Jesus. Find out about Jill's "piano bench ministry."

The seed planter

This week we were privileged to hear the testimony of a man whose life was eternally changed by a simple question. We invited Martin to sit around a table on our back porch to share with us how the Lord saved him, and how God opened his eyes to the truth of the Gospel. This is Martin’s story.

To life at ELWA Hospital

Dr. Rick Sacra, named 2018 AMH Gerson L’Chaim Prize winner, proceeds to benefit ELWA Hospital in Liberia.

Chileans to China

When Hans and Carmen Ziefle went to Chile as SIM missionaries in 1994, the Lord had put a strong desire in their hearts to mobilise Chileans to the mission field.

Crossing barriers with coffee

A cup of coffee is so much more than a person's preferences of milk or sugar. Inviting a friend to share a cup of coffee is inviting someone to share life, the highs and the lows, and everything in between.

Amid challenges, God at work in Mali ministries

From the outside looking in, ministering in Mali is a formidable task.

Ten million Hui with no church

Warren is from a Hui Muslim home. As his parents have become older, they've also become very devout muslims. But for Warren, life has been busy with running his restaurant business and family responsibilities.

Youth ministry San Francisco

Building bridges in the community through teamwork and a labor of love

A way in the desert for widows

After their husband's death, widows in Burkina Faso were often left on their own with no material or moral support. Many times their in-laws would take their children or even accuse them for the death of their husband, saying that they had a "bad spirit."

Following God’s call to the Middle East

While many young people in their 20s move to new cities for their jobs, Will* has moved to a new continent. He is preparing to serve God in the Middle East.

Fasting with our neighbors during Ramadan

Observing the traditional fast creates opportunities for meaningful conversation.

The Nepal earthquake: One year later

One year after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing massive loss of life, widespread homelessness and billions of dollars in damage, the nation continues to heal and rebuild. In Dhading, one of the districts most devastated by the quake, SIM and partner organization United Mission to Nepal (UMN) carry on with reconstruction work.

20 years later, God finds Pradip in Nepal

When Pradip* was a young boy growing up in Eastern Nepal, he found a Hindi Bible. Even though it was not in his native language, he was able to read through the whole book and see the love of Jesus.

From drug addict to disciple: Finding Jesus through football

When the ace student from Malawi ended up in prison, his whole life was over--or so he thought. In fact, through an unexpected encounter with Christian members of a ministry-based soccer team, Patrick's spiritual life was just about to begin.

Open doors: affordable education where it is scarce in South Asia

Allied Model School still a blessing to the community as it turns 40.

Blind Manglo has a vision for the future

In our finite existence and brokenness, we continue to find hope and meaning in a God of infinite hope. Manglo may not yet know Jesus as her Lord and Saviour, but the door to salvation has been opened.

No longer an orphan

Rachel is 17 years old, living in extreme poverty and raised by a single mother when her father died.

Loving our neighbours at a cost

Crossing cultural barriers to demonstrate concern for minorities in China

How one young refugee encountered Christ

My father’s urgent nudging woke me from a deep sleep: “Get up! Get up! We’ve got to go,” he said and, with that, we set off in our truck in the blackest night.

Disability in Kenya: Reaching out to the Hidden and Forgotten

Life is tough for families coping with disabilities in Kenya. Working with the local church, Sports Friends Kenya believes it can make a long-term transformation in their lives.

Modelling the Christian faith through relationships

Living out our faith with sincerity is often a powerful avenue for the Holy Spirit to minister to others.

Transforming Lives in Peru

My husband, Paris, and I lead a sports ministry through our church called “Fire Eagles,” and when some boys invited him to come to Fire Eagles games, Adam came. But he didn’t believe in God, and he told us he didn’t want to.

A ceramic community and God’s perfect providence

Cera is a small ceramic community in the rural area of Loja Province. Read more about how God brought the Barbee family there to launch a missional business with a small group of believers who are eager to make an impact in their own community.

Sharing the light of Jesus with villagers in Niger

As soon as I get out of the car, I am greeted by six kids eager to learn. Their first question is: "Did you bring the video?"

Child soldier to follower of Christ

YooTaa remembers the day God saved his life.

From the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

I awoke to the sound of the wind howling through camp. The walls of my tent shook violently as I glanced at my watch. It was just after midnight; in about an hour, our team would make the final push for Uhuru Peak, the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania — Africa’s tallest mountain.

Against All Odds

The road was blocked by a massive boulder, and there was no way around it; we would be walking the last one and a half kilometres. An hour late might still be considered “on time” in this culture, but we were now 90 minutes late.

Mustafa's miracle

Through an incredible encounter of God’s power, Mustafa became a believer — but his friend Nabi made plans to kill him.

Economic and spiritual hope for North Africa

Missional business creates avenues for work and relationships to people in need

Asha has the hope of dreams in south Asia

Asha grew up in an environment hostile to women in general, particularly to young girls, who were considered nothing more than a burden to the family. Until now.

Planting seeds of hope

The Esan region of northeast Thailand is often described as one of the hardest places to do ministry in Thailand. Christians are few and far between, Buddhism is strong, and drug addiction is widespread.

Speaking without words

Sometimes I fail to realise that God is the One who is truly at work. He doesn’t need me to say a single word in Swahili to move in the lives around us.

Prang's freedom in the Holy Spirit

The spiritual world was always real for Prang. But it was the world of dark, evil spirits.

Two years later, Liberians find healing from Ebola's emotional scars

In January 2016, the World Health Organization announced that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was over. In reality, the crisis is far from over for many who were caught up in the worst of it.

With God's help, Kumari is standing against giants in South Asia

SIM ministries are helping women caught in the sex trade stand up against crime and find hope.

Loving the children Jesus loves

When I began working with foreign, English-speaking women on parole, I had no idea it would include ministering to children. But when several women brought their children to the Bible study, we had to get creative.

Meeting migrants at our doorstep: SIM missionaries looking to Europe

In the past year, we have witnessed the worst migrant crisis in living memory, as more than 1.2 million people have fled to Europe to escape poverty and war.

Clean water, living water

Six years ago, after decades of drinking water with a dangerously high concentration of arsenic in it, Jalal's body finally began to succumb to severe symptoms of arsenicosis, or arsenic poisoning.

MANI 2016: Hearing and Obeying God in Times Like These

More than 560 delegates from more than 50 countries gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 7-11 March for the third consultation of the Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI).

Sacrifice and obedience, even when it's difficult

Hellen is a single mother of nine children. She works very hard to provide for her children. Every day she sells charcoal in Acholi Quarter in Uganda.

Cyclone Idai has brought devastation to parts of Mozambique

Cyclone Idai has brought devastation to parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. SIM’s Disaster Relief Fund is being mobilised to help survivors.

"My God will supply": A widow's faith

Naomi, a woman with a sweet, round face and warm smile, shared with the other widows that she and her children hadn't had enough money for rent or food for quite some time. There was simply nothing left.

Prabhouti’s Wedding

Traditionally, Prabhouti should have married years ago. Girls in her village are married early – sometimes as young as twelve years old – just like their mothers were before them.

Choosing school

Ashish and Sachhi received another chance at education through SIM's partner, Chetna.

Ruth: A beacon for Jesus in Beirut school

An evangelical school in Lebanon is a lamp for the gospel in a country of many different faiths.

Deep conversations flourish during Ramadan

While some leave this country during the hot months, we stay for the opportunities to talk about our faith

Modelling the Christian faith through relationships

Living out our faith with sincerity is often a powerful avenue for the Holy Spirit to minister to others

Equipped and edified

Daniel started this course for young leaders with little expectations. But, on top of the ministry focused training, it turned out to be a life-changing personal experience.

Multiplying help for the brokenhearted

God wants to heal the brokenhearted. Read more about the local facilitators who were trained to support wounded people and to teach others with the "Healing the Wounds of Trauma" programme.

Launching the project “Let's Mobilise His Church” in Spanish

Mobilisation is not just about sending missionaries, but also about encouraging all the people of God to participate in the mission of God.

The Leaders of Sudan

With a deep desire to care for its children, the Sudan Interior Church has partnered with SIM to start a primary school, that educates and disciples those whom we pray will be the future leaders of South Sudan.

Changing the world starts with one camper

God can use a single camper to transform an entire village for His fame — we've witnessed it.

Restore hope to the vulnerable

The Children’s Uplift Program (CUP) and the Girls off the Streets Fund extend hope to vulnerable women.

Called back home

Servio and his family obeyed when God sent them home to plant a church in the remote Loja province.

The broadcast that dries Anibal's tears

Finding himself downcast after a failed marriage, Anibal was touched by Radio Hope's messages.

Making cancer treatment a reality

In a place where treatment is out of reach for most, donations have made a way for Galmi Hospital to give hope to some Nigeriens

My story: Cries of the heart

Experience at an aftercare home for victims of human trafficking has taught one carer how facing the deep brokenness in our own hearts can be transformed into a deeper understanding of God.

The Hassaniya people of the Kayes region of Mali

Imagine you were one of the only believers among your people. Your friends, neighbors and loved ones knew nothing of the forgiveness, salvation and beautiful promises of Jesus. How would you feel? This is the reality for Oumar*, a Hassaniya brother in Christ from Mali whose prayers have gone before the Lord for his people for many years.


务要传道,无论得时不得时,总要专心;并用百般的忍耐,各样的教训,责备人、警戒人、劝勉人。” ~ 提摩太后书 4:2

From nations to the nations

The SIM South Sudan Harvest Worker project is helping mobilise those who are ready to go to serve in South Sudan

Food impact as mission

New Zealand's Good Neighbour rescues food as they point to the Saviour.

Regie’s remarkable journey: From bleak childhood to global mission

In the midst of a harsh childhood, Regie Wang encountered God's love – now she inspires the Church to do missions.

Check out the new website

SIM’s Hope for Life ministry just launched a new website – Check it out to see how they're ministering to HIV-affected communities.

Nozomi Project trains Cambodian women in reclamation

The Nozomi Project shares its passion for redemption with women in Cambodia. Find out how this Japanese, faith-based enterprise is awakening hope.

Misheel’s university students present Christmas

Lecturer and SIM worker, Misheel, had the chance to answer questions about the gospel, all because her students chose an astonishing subject for their group projects: Christmas.

Evangelism: The Foundation of Missions

2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.”

Yasir becomes a motorcycle mechanic and child of God

Yasir was orphaned, forced to end his studies and left without work. But God saw him and soon led him to SIM's youth vocational training centre.

Restore Hope to the Vulnerable

After a long journey of mistrust and abuse, these were the healing words that Koli* heard at the Children’s Uplift Program (CUP): “It’s not your fault. We love you no matter what happened in your past. God loves you.”

A rare gospel opportunity: Teaching at Murree

Nick recounts what a priceless opportunity it was to teach at a high-quality Christian school in Pakistan.

“By Prayer to the Nations”: A must-read for missions enthusiasts

If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about SIM’s roots and fascinating history across generations, now you can.

Enock's bravery after an attack before sports camp

Enock faithfully served God despite being ambushed and injured.

Galmi patients colour Christmas

Colouring pages gave Galmi patients a new perspective on Jesus' birth. Read on to share in SIM worker Hannah Peterson's hopeful anticipation.

The Quechua connection

A simple Quechua conversation in a hospital led to a couple committing their lives to Jesus. It also led to a resilient friendship at the perfect time.

#HowWillTheyHear’s 10:14 campaign: Pray for refugees

The prayer campaign, 10:14, lifts displaced people up to God. Will you mark the 14th of October in your calendar and pray with us?

Five Christmas gift ideas that benefit missions

Are you looking for gifts that support missions? Check out our five ideas for missional-minded Christmas shopping.

A holiday trim

Jesus’ gracious gift of salvation inspires many people to charitable acts, especially during the holidays. But would you let someone you don’t know cut your hair? Or be prepared to give a haircut to a trusting soul?

Senegal’s Kaffrine Scholarship: Investing in the future

Find out how this scholarship is equipping the next generation of Christians through education and discipleship.

The road to Kayes

A young family is heading to Mali for the Faithful Witness initiative. Read on to find out about their preparation for the journey.

God listens: Reed & the Ecuadorian Deaf community

Reed encountered the Deaf in Ecuador. What he found was astonishing — and calls for Jesus followers to serve this isolated group.

By word (and care) of mouth

How often do Brendan and Erin Connally's ministries overlap? Dentistry and oral Bible storying complement each other more than you'd think.

Choosing divine love, for better or for worse

The Fawcetts were eager to enter ministry. But God called the Fawcetts to wait before they could embark to Ayutthaya.

Delivered from overdose by Jesus

Edgar considered Jesus and spent time with Christians, but he also experimented with drugs. Soon, he feared for his life.

Can Good News transform Madagascar?

The Good News Project has grown in, engaged with and served Mandritsara in Madagascar. Find out how their gospel-centred service has impacted the town and drawn workers from across the world.

SIM relief aid response heads to Mozambique flood zone

Relief supplies from SIM and its partners are on their way to help flood victims in southern Mozambique. They should arrive before the end of March.