Now serving as Country Director in a South Asian country, read how God placed mission on this SIM leader’s heart at a young age…
How old were you when you came to faith?
- It was when I was around five. I remember being attracted to Jesus as my Sunday School teacher taught about him and refusing to leave her class (for three- to five-year-olds) until I was eight!
Did it help growing up in a Christian family?
- Yes. The church I grew up in had mission partners with the South American Mission Society (later Crosslinks). My dad would write letters (by hand!) to them faithfully every few weeks and whenever they’d visit our church on Home Assignment, they’d always come to our house.
How did God put mission on your heart at a young age?
- I went to a state school that wasn’t Christian or church-connected, but because it was old, it had a chapel and a chaplain! The chaplain was also the Religious Studies teacher and when I was 13, he did a module on World Poverty and Development that opened my eyes to life beyond the UK.
Also, every year, he and other Christian teachers would take a group of us to Spring Harvest and I remember (again aged 13) feeling God was calling me into mission somewhere very hot and dusty!
How did God lead you into mission?
- My first mission trip overseas was at the age of 15 to Poland— again organised by the school chaplain.
It was a very significant time in my discipleship: learning to trust the Lord out of my comfort zone, and really enjoying daily Bible studies.
We were an unusual bunch — three of us aged 15 from school; a university student aged about 20; and two couples in their 70s and 80s. One of them (who was about to drive us across Europe in a minibus) revealed to my parents just before we left, that he’d been evacuated to my school 60 years earlier during the war!
How did God lead you to Serving In Mission?
- I’d been introduced to SIM by the school chaplain and my first experience was SIM running orientation for a team of young people (I was the youngest at 16) from local churches going on a short-term trip to Mozambique.
After A Levels, I joined SIM’s GAP (Global Awareness Programme) and spent six months serving in Angola. It was shortly after the civil war and so again, it was a formative time — learning to rely on the Lord in all kinds of hairy situations.
I then studied Music at Manchester University and expected/planned to spend more time as a professional musician of some sort, but God moved me into full-time ministry faster — first, in student ministry, then working as a mobiliser for SIM UK and later, overseas.
Did you ever have any doubts about serving overseas with a young family?
- I’ve wrestled with many questions and concerns about following the Lord’s calling with our kids. Of course, God knows about them when he leads us into challenging situations and places, but saying lots of goodbyes, moving from place to place, and adjusting to various cultures has its challenges.
Tell us about some of the joys of your ministry?
- Having the privilege of working with believers from the country where we serve and with others from around the world.
- Living in more remote parts of the country where, if it were not for this calling, we’d never get the chance even to visit.
- Driving into the desert with some of our students to meet people in villages, eating together and having heart-to-heart conversations.
- Seeing the Lord touch hearts and change lives.
What advice would you give someone considering mission?
- Keep prayerfully pushing doors and see what happens.
Don’t be afraid to do hard things or go to ‘hard places’ but go with a good support team (especially lots of people who love you and will pray with you).
Recognise that you are weak and will need help along the way — that’s one of the reasons why mission agencies like SIM exist; to help us flourish and thrive rather than crash and burn. We’ve needed, and deeply appreciate that wisdom and care and support along the way.
Interested in serving short-term?
By Kerry Allan
- The Lord will open the eyes of the young adults to the gospel opportunities worldwide.
- That God will guide SIM UK how best to help young people find their place in global mission and to ensure accessible mission pathways through the UK church.
- For SIM workers in South Asia to keep sharing the gospel with love and boldness.