30 July 2020 // Articles & Stories

Making strategic changes

Connected to prayer

This article was first featured alongside our Prayer Diary in August 2020. You can download the August 2020 prayer points here or sign-up to receive future editions by post or email.

God is building his church. At times, this has meant that AIM has had to change, but what has remained unchanged, and always will remain unchanged, is our desire to stay faithful, obedient and prayerful, so that God can continue to bring the increase. 

Twenty years ago we realised that while the church in some areas of Africa was rapidly expanding there were still other parts of Africa with little or no church, in fact, with little or no focussed proclamation. There were entire countries across the north of Africa where people were being born, living and dying never having the opportunity to meet someone who loves Jesus. There were people who live their entire life without the chance to experience God’s peace, grace and joy. It was obvious, some things needed to change… 

Why were these northern areas of Africa so void of focused outreach? The answer was clear. These nations have Islamic governments that don’t allow traditional missionaries. For 100 years AIM sent missionaries to model God’s love through education, medicine, preaching and teaching. We were welcomed to Sub-Saharan nations with mission visas and were provided residency by the churches that were established there. As we celebrated a tradition of 100 years of mission that served much of Africa well, we recognised that to reach these northern areas, our methodology would need to change. The fact that we could not enter these spiritually needy countries on a mission or church visa did not exempt us from the Great Commission!  

AIM leadership decided that to accomplish this new task more prayer and more awareness was needed. Around the globe dozens of new AIM prayer groups were established that prayed specifically for these peoples. Independent of AIM, there was a global prayer movement throughout the 90’s praying for the people in the ‘10/40 Window’. There were millions of Christians praying specifically for these nations. God answered. This was evidenced within AIM, as several couples, independent of each other, approached the International Office in 2001 about going to work in a specific North African country. Another experienced family asked for permission to live and work in another region. AIM discovered that although these governments do not allow missionaries, Islamic communities welcome and appreciate people who emulate Jesus in their life and values. Jesus loving people are valued and granted residency through their professions in these countries. Our methodology needed to change but our message was the same: Jesus is our Saviour and Lord of our lives.