Telling stories that matter
September-2019

Years back, I felt compelled to seek a change from working in the UK photo-editorial world, in order to tell stories that I hope will make a positive difference in people’s lives. I do that with SIM, an international Christian mission active in more than 70 countries. Its heartbeat is for people to be reached with the gospel. How it goes about that looks different in every context.

SIM has life-changing ministries in key areas of society; education, healthcare, agriculture, evangelism and so on.

It is my privilege as a storyteller to serve these workers on the frontline in East Africa. I visit the people and active ministries, see lives being transformed and work out how to tell these stories through videos, photos and written word. 

SIM mission workers respond bravely to God’s call, giving up the familiarity and comfort of their home context, to become immersed in foreign cultures, all with the heart for the people where they go.

As an organisation, SIM supports and works alongside the existing local church, often in insecure places. It doesn’t enter a country and stick its own flag in the ground. I massively respect that. As such, there are challenges in my job as a communicator. Historically, SIM has operated under the radar, choosing not to bang its own drum, so to speak. Yet today, SIM is recognising the need to share its stories.

These are stories that need to be told. For example, about Joseph, a former child soldier from South Sudan who now teaches the bible in refugee camps in Kenya.  Or Appolinaire, a refugee in Kenya from Rwanda who leads trauma healing workshops for French-speaking refugees in Nairobi, having received the same help herself.  Then there’s Elizabeth, told by her own parents to kill her disabled child for the trouble (and stigma) she brings to the family, who has received the love, personal healing and support needed to have a chance of moving on in life with her child. And the people in conflict zones who keep getting livelihoods destroyed, but pick themselves back up again. And again. And again. These are some of the stories that I have already been able to share from East Africa and there are many more on the way. Read more of them here: SIM Stories.

The. Stories. Just. Keep. Coming.  Why share them?  It is my firm conviction that the stories – be it image or text – should challenge perceptions and compel people to act. It is my greatest satisfaction to know that a story I have created could call the global church into action; to pray, to advocate, to join, to give financially.  That is what motivates me.

-by Tim Coleman

What motivates you? Not all SIM workers have the skills or time to tell their own inspiring stories. We could do with more mission journalists like Tim. Contact us to discuss what this might entail — nzletstalk@sim.org