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Sam Thomas is a mobiliser for the AIM USA office. We asked him what he found most encouraging about his role mobilising missionaries from the US to reach the unreached peoples of Africa.
Helping those explore
Christ has given us a command to go and make disciples. He has also told us to pray for labourers for the harvest. These two themes run deep in our mobilising mindset, and are summed up in the familiar AIM vision statement: to establish ‘Christ-centred churches among all African peoples’. This has been at the core of AIM’s work since the beginning.
Sent to Serve
Shawn & Angie Mayles have been sent by the USA mobilising office to the island of Nosy Mitsio, just off Madagascar.
The Antakarana TIMO team is the first group of missionaries actually to go and live among the unreached Antakarana people of Nosy Mitsio. They are living life with them, and learning language and culture to find the most culturally appropriate way to share the gospel.
The team is now past the one year mark and their focus is moving from training to ministry. Shawn & Angie’s vision is to use their experience and knowledge as nurses to start a community involving medical outreach on Nosy Mitsio. The aim is for it to be sustainable as well as Christ-centred, so they are starting by training two individuals in simple medical knowledge. This will stretch Shawn & Angie’s knowledge of the Malagasy language! The reaction from the community has been very positive, and they are excited and keen to learn. The community have formed a committee to help organise this health initiative, voted in officers for the committee, and, from their own initiative, begun talking about how they will gather money to pay for needs as they arise. The efforts to see this health outreach come to fruitition is going well so far!
Mobilising missionaries gives us great opportunities to see God at work and it is amazing to participate in what God is doing through prayer. Christ-centred churches are being established among many African peoples previously untouched by the good news of Jesus. I am overjoyed to look back and remember the people whom God has used in Africa. Some of these are missionaries, others are African friends and leaders. We participate in their work by sharing it with others; those exploring service with AIM, those who have served in the past and still champion AIM’s vision, and churches and ministries looking for partnerships in Africa.
Exploring AIM & Africa
Shawn & Angie are both highly skilled nurses who were inspired by the TIMO (Training in Ministry Outreach) approach of going deep into language and culture to make disciples. When they first contacted us through our website, we began a relationship by exploring AIM and Africa together. We made the eight hour journey to meet them, to share the realities of a TIMO team experience. After prayer and consultation with their core church body, they made the decision to serve on a TIMO team. Our coaching role continued as we walked with them through the application process, their appointment to the Antakarana team in Madagascar, and God’s provision of financial and prayer partners.
We asked the Lord for more team members to join this team. When Steve & Beka came along six months later, we began the same walk with them. Today, as we continue to serve, we do so with deep joy. We know we are participating in the initial stages of planting a future church on the little island of Nosy Mitsio off Madagascar’s northern coast. Watching God work gives us great joy and fulfilment!