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Our History

SIM has a rich history of founders who journeyed to difficult places to share the Gospel. Landing in Africa, Asia, and South America, these pioneers formed missions committed to reaching people who had never known the love of Christ. A union of several organizations founded over 100 years ago, SIM works today with the same passion as its founders.  



The South African General Mission (SAGM) was founded by Martha Osborn, Spencer Walton, and Andrew Murray in 1889. Murray, a well-known author who founded a university and a seminary, always considered missions "the chief end of the church." After Martha Osborn married George Howe, they formed the South East Africa General Mission (SEAGM) in 1891. SAGM and SEAGM merged in 1894. Because their ministry had spread into other African countries, they changed their name to Africa Evangelical Fellowship (AEF) in 1965.  

Soudan Interior Mission (SIM) began in 1893. Canadians Walter Gowans, Roland Bingham, and American Thomas Kent had a vision to evangelize the 60 million unreached people of sub-Saharan Africa. Unable to interest established missions—most of which said reaching the Soudan was impossible—the three set out alone. Malaria overtook all three. Gowans and Kent died of the fever in 1894, and Bingham returned to Canada. On his second attempt, he caught malaria again and was forced to go back home. Unable to return to Africa, Bingham sent out a third team. They successfully established a base 500 miles inland at Patigi in 1902. From there, the work of SIM began in Africa.  



In 1892, the Ceylon and India General Mission (CIGM) was founded. A year later, they began work among Ceylon's Singhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus. The mission founded by Scottish businessman Benjamin Davidson expanded from Ceylon into South India. Eventually CIGM's ministry reached across the subcontinent and to the Philippines.  

Also in 1893, Charles F. Reeve and E.W. McGavin left their homes in Australia for India. They were influenced by a Eurasian Christian who went to Australia in search of missionaries for his home area and by J. Hudson Taylor. Reeve and McGavin answered the challenge and set sail under the name Poona and Indian Village Mission (PIVM).  

In 1968, these two India/Asian organizations merged to become the International Christian Fellowship (ICF).  



In 1893 British Keswick evangelists visited South America and published a report called South America: The Neglected Continent. New Zealanders George Allen and Mary Stirling read it and felt God calling them. In 1907, they founded the Bolivian Indian Mission (BIM). The newly-weds sailed to Bolivia two years later to minister to the Quechua Indians. Allan's BIM grew in the years that followed to become the Andes Evangelical Mission (AEM) in 1965.  



MECO (Middle East Christian Outreach) is a team of people who share God’s heart for the Middle East. Their service dates back to 1860. The Middle East has always played a crucial part in human history. Christianity spread from here to the world. While 90% of the population know little of Jesus as revealed in the Gospel, many are asking questions. This is a time of significant opportunity.   



In the 1980s, AEM, ICF, and SIM joined forces to become SIM, which then stood for the "Society for International Ministries." AEF joined with SIM in 1998. In 2000, SIM adopted the trade name (or slogan) "Serving In Mission," for English-speaking countries, but our official name around the world today is simply SIM. In 2015, MECO joined SIM.  


SIM East Asia was founded in 1980 in Singapore and its first missionaries were Singaporeans Dr Andrew and Belinda Ng. Originally under the governance of SIM Australia, SIM East Asia became an independent entity in 1992 and has seen marked growth since that time. From the humble beginnings with one family, SIM East Asia now has more than 180 missionaries from 8 countries, serving in over 20 countries worldwide and is a growing contributor to world mission.   

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