CHARLOTTE, NC — Before Friday’s reception, SIM USA President Bruce Johnson had said he hoped the event would give the organization’s neighbors a better understanding of their work, purpose, and history; update SIM’s existing friends about how it is doing; and help people begin to consider how they might serve God through missions.
Attendees of the reception seemed to have fulfilled those goals, saying they were both pleased and impressed and mingling long after it ended to discuss the mission and its work with the many staff on hand.
Femi Ogundipe, 59, pastor of All Nations Assembly in Rock Hill, SC, came both to hear Nancy speak and because he – a fellow Nigerian – is close friends with Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko, SIM International Director.
“We have been praying for Nancy and her husband. It was wonderful to meet her,” he said, adding that testimonies like theirs are good reminders that God has said His followers will experience tribulation, just as Paul suffered his “thorn in the flesh.”
“The church needs to celebrate stories like this. God shows His glory and faithfulness through people willing to be used,” Ogundipe said. “It’s not the stuff of movies but regular, ordinary people going through the stuff of life.”
Greg Payne, 26, executive assistant to the lead pastor for City Church in Charlotte, came because his church is supporting an SIM appointee, a doctor headed to Niger to do counseling.
“I definitely wanted to support her, and it’s interesting,” Payne said. “I really love that SIM is really genuine and gave God the glory for it all.”
Payne said he found SIM to be very professional, which gave him confidence that if he went into missions, it would be a good organization to consider approaching.
Elizabeth Hudson, 24, came with her mother, Lois, because she is interested in missionary work and was glad to learn more about it. She’s unsure how God might be calling her and appreciated the hospitality of members like Bob Hay, a third-generation SIMer whose grandparents were pioneer missionaries in Nigeria and whose father served as the organization’s international director for many years.
“I’ll be interested in learning more,” Hudson said.