Crying out for people
In a simple rented building some women are in the courtyard painting handmade beads; others are sitting on the grass embroidering birds on table napkins. This is the More Than Sparrows co-op, where women in an African city who have signed a contract to leave prostitution are learning skills to make a decent living. They’re also learning about Jesus Christ. Sadly, any day now, they’ll lose the two mission partners with marketing and design flair who are mentoring them. A couple running a music ministry in the same country assure me they could place five new mission partners tomorrow, doing what they do.
In another African city a SIM mission partner meets street kids at a police station after they have been traumatised in slum neighbourhood incidents, and more than once has taken them home with her because there was nowhere else for them to go. She talks about her heart’s desire for trained creative therapists to come and help in the work that she coordinates with these young people, often orphans, numbering in the hundreds of thousands and living without hope.
In yet another African country a SIM couple who run a youth centre in a town with little for teenagers to do except get into trouble, say that someone coming to offer creative workshops alongside the programmes they run would give their outreach a boost.
These are just a few of the open doors. In my trip to East Africa this month as SIM International’s Creative Arts Specialist for this region, I have come across a number of ministries and potential ministries crying out for mission partners – singles, couples and teams — to come and use their God-given talents in music, drama, photography, painting, story-telling and other arts as a platform for sharing the gospel.
Why are people not coming? Because many sending countries don’t grasp that the arts, just like other professions, are a way of doing mission. We need to pray for God’s prompting for SIM offices to embrace this new direction, and for arts people around the world to catch the vision.