Serving in Mission (SIM) has a rich history of men and women who journeyed to difficult places to share the gospel; many losing their lives in the attempt. Landing in Africa, Asia and South America at the end of the 19th century, these pioneers began missions committed to reaching people who had never known the love of Christ. Today we work with the same passion and commitment shown by our founders over a century ago.
Mission in Africa
The South African General Mission (SAGM) was founded in 1889 by Martha Osborn, Spencer Walton and Andrew Murray, a well-known author, who always considered missions ‘the chief end of the church.’ George & Martha (nee Osborn) Howe began the South East Africa General Mission (SEAGM) in 1891. SAGM and SEAGM merged in 1894, becoming the Africa Evangelical Fellowship (AEF) as ministries spread to other nations.
Soudan Interior Mission (SIM) began in 1893 when Walter Gowans & Roland Bingham (Canada) and Thomas Kent (USA) had a vision to reach the 60 million unreached people of the Soudan in sub-Saharan Africa. Unable to interest established missions — most of whom said reaching the Soudan was “impossible” — the three set out alone. Malaria overtook them with Gowans and Kent dying of fever, forcing Bingham back to Canada. On his second attempt, Bingham caught malaria again and had to return home, so he sent others instead. In 1902, these pioneers successfully established a base 500 miles inland at Patigi in 1902, beginning the work of SIM in Africa.
Mission in Asia
In 1893, the Ceylon and India General Mission (CIGM, founded by Scottish businessman Benjamin Davidson) began work among Buddhists and Hindus in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The mission expanded into South India, and eventually across the subcontinent to the Philippines.
A Eurasian Christian from Poona went to Australia in search of missionaries to work in his home area Charles Reeves and M.E. Gavin answered the challenge in 1893 and set sail under the name Poona and Indian Village Mission (PIVM). In 1968, CIGM and PIVM merged to become the International Christian Fellowship (ICF).
Mission in South America
Kiwis George Allen and Mary Stirling felt God calling them as they read a report by British evangelists called ‘South America: The Neglected Continent’. In 1907, as newly-weds, they landed in Bolivia to minister to the indigenous Quechua and the Bolivian Indian Mission grew to become the Andes Evangelical Mission (AEM).
Serving in Mission Together
In the 1980s, AEM, ICF and SIM merged to become SIM, which then stood for the ‘Society for International Ministries’ with AEF joining in 1998. In 2000, SIM adopted the trade name ‘Serving in Mission’ for English-speaking countries, but our official name for the international organisation around the world today is simply SIM. In the UK, SIM is known as Serving in Mission.