Thursday, 30 March 2017
Jenny Fallon is a friendly and well-known face in SIM circles. She currently serves as NSW/ACT Member Care Coordinator –a natural fit for someone with Jenny’s warmth and empathy. Jenny is able to support and care for our missionaries with the understanding of what it’s like to serve on the field. Jenny has many difference experiences of mission work and this year is celebrating thirty years since first arriving as a nurse in Burkina Faso!
Jenny’s first experience of SIM was through a short-term three month placement at Galmi Hospital in Niger. She was twenty three years old and a brand new midwife. Jenny believes that this taste of mission was what God used to hook her:
“I was very impressed by the fact this little Christian hospital in the middle of the desert was able to be there and, as a result, people were hearing about Jesus and seeing his love in action every day. It just seemed to me that if I was willing, God could use me.”
While Jenny was convicted that God could use her for His mission, she also became very aware of her lack of experience as a nurse and midwife. She returned to Australia for five years to build up her nursing experience and go to Bible College. She gained further experience by going to Canada to study an international health course geared towards nurses wanting to work in isolated areas. Jenny also spent some time studying the French language in Switzerland.
Burkina Faso is a country that holds a very special place in Jenny’s heart. Jenny served for twelve years in a health centre with no doctors in the bush village of Mahadaga. She visited forty other villages in the area training village health workers and birth attendants, and filled in as relief midwife at the Mahadage Health Centre. Eventually, Jenny felt led to step out of that role as she saw local people trained up and qualified to do her job. She came back to Australia and spent a year in the SIM NSW office assisting the State Director of the time, as well as working in mobilisation.
During this time, Jenny attended a conference in South Africa. Her work group was looking at how SIM was engaging in the challenge of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
“I got fired up to offer to do something about HIV and AIDS… I offered to go back [to Burkina Faso] and start something. The SIM-affiliated church had caught the same vision at that time and so we collaborated.”
This was the beginning of Jenny’s eight years of working on developing the ‘HOPE for AIDS’ program in Burkina Faso. During this time, Jenny was also able to teach some classes for women at a local Bible school and act as Deputy Director and Interim Director.
It was a difficult decision for Jenny to leave Burkina Faso. The HOPE for AIDS project was heading in a good direction and it seemed that there were still many things to do. However, Jenny did return home to Australia in 2009. She felt that it was the right decision to work with the home staff at the SIM Sydney office.
Jenny’s current role as NSW/ACT Member Care Coordinator sees her take on numerous responsibilities including being ‘member carer’ to specific missionaries, training and orientation, overseeing the health of our candidates and missionaries and helping to resolve issues of wellbeing facing field missionaries.
“We want missionaries there for the long haul if that’s what God is calling them to. It’s a huge investment for them as well as all their partners... We think people are our most important resource, so we want them to be able to thrive not just survive.”
Jenny is passionate about the wellbeing of SIM Australia’s missionaries. Her role has seen her take several trips to visit SIM Australia missionaries. The most recent trip was to Southern Africa for six and half months with her husband, Dale. One family that Jenny visited was the Hay family in South Africa.
Janenne Hay said, “It was great to have Jenny, a friend and fellow Aussie, come and visit us here at iKhethelo Children’s Village. We felt very encouraged and valued as a fellow SIM member…”
Jenny is part of SIM Australia’s Home Ministry staff. This Home Ministry staff work behind the scenes to support our field missionaries. If you would like to give a gift to bless an under supported worker, click here.