December 4, 1893 was the day that three young men, Walter Gowans, Thomas Kent and Rowland Bingham landed on the coast of Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa. They came not to stay on the coast but to reach into the interior of Nigeria in an area that was then called the Sudan. Their reason was, there were seventy million people in that area but no church because the gospel had not reached them. They knew that God's heart was that through the offspring of Abraham, Jesus Christ, God wanted to bless all people, including the people of the Sudan. Before one year was up two of the young men had died. The third, Rowland Bingham, even though discouraged, did not give up and was able to see others come and join him. At last the Sudan Interior Mission was established in Nigeria and 113 years later the mission called today, SIM (Serving In Mission), is in over 45 countries of the world. Over 1500 missionaries are involved in reaching the unreached and establishing and equipping the Church to fulfill its mandate to "go and make disciples of all nations".
The reason I mention this is here in Nigeria the Evangelical Church of West Africa focuses on this day and reminds its members of the sacrifices that were made by foreigners who have served in Nigeria. They also remember the Nigerians that have served the Lord faithfully and are now retired. At the end of the week churches are encouraged to take an offering which will go to help those retired Nigerian pastors. What a blessing for those who in many cases really need the help. Pray with me that the Lord will bless the giving this year and that retired pastors will be encouraged in the Lord.
I had the privilege of sharing with our local church last night about SIM and how it came into being. It was a good reminder to me that there have been tremendous sacrifices made to reach where we are today. The challenges are still there because there are still many unreached in this part of the world. Like Rowland Bingham I am even more committed to the Lord's mandate in Matthew 28:18-20 than ever before. I challenged all those at the service to be committed and willing to sacrifice in what ever way the Lord leads them to as they follow the Lord and do His will.