Creative innovation

“I didn’t know artists could do that!” said one young woman in Dunedin, “I’ve been wondering how I could combine my calling for overseas mission service and my love of art, but didn’t think any mission organisation would want me.”

Another artist, given the opportunity to join other creative people on a short-term trip to explore art as mission, arrived in Nairobi last year and couldn’t wipe the smile off her face.  It dawned on her that all her life was leading to this, and she’s now joined SIM Canada to go back to East Africa as an arts and crafts missionary.

SIM has just created a new official project — the International Arts Internship Programme — and we are excited about what it will achieve. It’s a creative tool to recruit artists from New Zealand and around the world for mission, to equip them with an understanding of where they might fit in global missions, to give them some basic biblical principles of trauma healing, to learn from local missionaries, and where appropriate, to train local mission workers with new skills.

This year SIM International Arts will host two internships, in June (with Zoë Cromwell in Kenya) and July (with Maria Custodio in the Philippines). But it’s hoped that this model will grow to be replicated in many locations around the world, partnering with existing ministries — work with refugees, with at risk children and with youth projects immediately come to mind. 

Because the project is so new for SIM, we need to find funds.  In the case of the Kenya art residency in June, the overseas interns will be asked to fund-raise for their own accommodation, travel insurance, transport and art materials costs, but most of the young local artists selected to join in the programme will be purposely selected from disadvantaged backgrounds. They will be people with talent who can’t afford Art School training. Some will be former street kids.

Please consider making a donation to the project to help us ensure that more than half our interns are local artists. Contact Michelle at, and quote project zz 99742  (It’s necessary to stipulate “Nairobi” or “Philippines” when you donate).

Please also pray for this fledgling project:

  • that the logistical challenges of bringing people from multiple countries will be handled successfully
  • that God prompts the artists to apply whom he wishes to be there
  • that we raise the necessary funds to make these programmes happen

— Zoë Cromwell, SIM International Arts specialist for the Africa region. 

To download a brochure with more information about the Nairobi event, click here