Prayerful Dependence While Serving

Tuesday, 20 September 2022 Prayerful Dependence While Serving   SIM has over 4000 mission workers in more than 70 countries. As our workers serve to make the Gospel known in least reached communities, they are dependent on God and rely on His enabling through the Holy Spirit. One of our mission workers, Sil, shares how prayer has been foundational to her while serving cross-culturally.  

Serving in Benin 

Sil serves as the SIM Benin Togo Projects Coordinator and is also on the SIM Benin leadership team. This involves working alongside local partners and colleagues to help plan, implement and evaluate a variety of project funded ministries including Bible translation and radio evangelism. In her role, Sil works in the SIM Benin office in Parakou where prayer is foundational to their daily activities.  

Sil shared, “Monday to Friday, our Benin Togo office staff begin the day by gathering together for 30 minutes of Bible reading and prayer. Each day has an allocated region or topic as a prayer focus, ensuring that we are regularly praying for our church partners as well as our own ministries.” The team also typically open or close meetings in prayer and will turn to prayer as complex issues arise.  

While balancing different responsibilities in her role, Sil finds prayer crucial. “For the size of our field, SIM Benin Togo is involved in a significant number of projects including Bible translation, radio and medical ministries,” she said. “From a human standpoint, the task of coordinating these projects often feels daunting. Prayer invites God into the work and keeps things in perspective.”  

“I’m reminded that we serve a great and powerful God, who sees and knows what is going on, and that we can do nothing outside what He wills or allows. It’s comforting to know that we can bring everything to the Lord in prayer – joys, difficulties, frustrations, unknowns, lack of resources – and trust that He is at work both in our own lives, and through the activities of our projects to draw people to Himself.”  

One of the projects Sil works alongside is a local Bible Translation project. She has helped run the project since she arrived in Benin in 2012.  Sil shared, “The Borgu New Testament was published in 2010, and the team has now almost completed the Old Testament. For a couple of years, it was suggested that we send one of our translators, Adam*, to Israel for more Hebrew training. However, the idea felt beyond our means and never really gained traction.” 

In September 2018, Sil was encouraged to take a closer look at the course. She discovered that the course only runs every two years and is designed specifically for French-speaking mother-tongue translators from Africa. As the team still had some large Old Testament books to translate, Sil knew the course would be invaluable for Adam. She sent an email through to their funding partner to find out whether the funding for the course would be possible. Sil shared, “We loosely agreed to at least start the application process. After numerous phone calls, emails, half day trips into Parakou and an entrance exam, Adam was accepted into the course.” 

The team waited patiently for a response from their funding partner. However, due to a challenging situation where they were extremely understaffed, they eventually sent an apologetic response to say they did not have time to review the request. Sil recalled, “I sent an email through to the school in Jerusalem and reluctantly withdrew Adam’s application. However, at the eleventh hour, God still had other ideas. Within half a day, the school wrote back offering a bursary to cover Adam’s tuition and living expenses. The next morning, we had another email from someone offering to cover the cost of his flight. The impossible was becoming a reality!” In January 2019, Adam left his small rural town in the north of Benin and travelled to Jerusalem. Praise God that He answered the prayers of many for Adam to be able to attend the course. Sil said, “Knowing people are praying encourages me to persevere in ministry, reminds me that we serve a powerful yet relational God, encourages our local partners and spurs me on to be daily doing the same.”  
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