Monday, 21 February 2022
In the early ‘90s, Neil Sim left Western Victoria for short term service in Ethiopia. After returning to Australia and marrying his late wife, Lisa, the pair felt called to serve with SIM as long-term mission workers in Benin. In Benin (where they served from 2002-2011), Neil used his experience as a mechanic on the mission field by discipling and training young men in his trade. When SIM Benin needed a Project Coordinator, Neil left his comfort zone to fill the role. Throughout his time on the field, Neil experienced the benefits of receiving support from both his local church and the team at SIM.
“My family was very blessed by a very proactive sending church, who took their role seriously in supporting us both financially and in prayer,” Neil shared. “Both SIM Australia and our sending church knew our family well, as we had been known by both for over 10 years prior to serving in Benin. This meant that we also benefited from the fact that we were partnering with long-term friends who we trusted and could rely on.”
Now, Neil helps others discern how they can serve in God’s global mission in his role as Regional Ministry Director for Victoria and Tasmania. He mobilises and mentors future cross-cultural workers, journeys with current workers, develops local church partnerships and encourages volunteers and alumni in the promotion of God’s heart for the nations.
In his role, Neil has the opportunity to connect with local Australian churches. When people apply to serve with SIM, they are ‘sent’ by their church. SIM seeks to serve the sending church by freeing the congregation of logistical, administrative and medical responsibilities, as well as managing any security risks. In addition to the pastoral care the mission workers receive from their church, SIM offers essential member care, training and makes available a global network of people and ministries.
Neil explained, “SIM Australia seeks to come alongside Aussie churches to encourage and grow their global vision, as well as partner with them in preparing and sending their people out well. This may be through taking opportunities to speak or preach on cross-cultural mission; partnering together in mission-focused events or simply meeting church leadership over a coffee.”
A joy for Neil is seeing the body of Christ unified in the mission to see the least reached come to know Jesus. He said, “A highlight in my role is when I witness firsthand the sense of purpose and joy that a church community exhibits as some of their own prepares and leaves for cross-cultural service. Naturally, this can be a bitter-sweet experience for the church, for often gifted and much loved members of their community are leaving them, but when a church knows that they are partnering in God’s global purposes it is a beautiful thing.”
Do you want to find out how you or your church can partner in God’s global mission? Start a conversation with one of our Mission Mobilisers by visiting sim.org.au/talktous
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