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The History of SIM

Since 1893, SIM missionaries have traveled the world to fulfill the Great Commission

Three dedicated young men landed at NigeriaSIM began as The Sudan Interior Mission, when three dedicated young men landed at Lagos, Nigeria. The oldest was only 25. But each man wanted to establish a Christian witness among the 60 million unreached people of what was then known as the Soudan in sub-Saharan Africa. Unable to interest established missions - most of which said reaching the Soudan was impossible and possibly outside God's will - the three set out, following God alone.

As was common in the nineteenth century, malaria overtook all three. Two of the men - Walter Gowans of Toronto, Canada, and Thomas Kent of Buffalo, New York - died of the fever. The third, English-born Rowland Bingham, returned to his home in Canada, ill, but still determined. Bingham made a second attempt to reach the Soudan, but once again came down with the fever and had to return home. Unable to return to Africa himself, Bingham sent out a third team. In 1902, the party successfully established a base 500 miles inland. From this base, the work of SIM began in Africa.


Trial to Triumph - Growing Stronger
In 1893, off the southern tip of India, the Ceylon and India General Mission (CIGM) began work among Ceylon's Singhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus. From that island the work begun by B. Davidson, D. Gardner, W. Mallis, and G. Wilson, all Englishmen, expanded into South India, later reaching across the subcontinent and eventually to the Philippines.


Also in 1893, Charles Reeves and M.E. Gavin left their homes in Australia. A Eurasian Christian from Poona, India, had come to Australia in search of missionaries to work in his home area. Reeves and Gavin answered the challenge and set sail under the name Poona and Indian Village Mission (PIVM).

In 1968, CIGM and PIVM joined to become the International Christian Fellowship (ICF). In 1907 New Zealander George Allan landed in Bolivia to minister to the Quechua Indians.


Allan's Bolivian Indian Mission grew in the years that followed to become the Andes Evangelical Mission (AEM).

In the 1980s, AEM, ICF, and SIM merged to become what was then known as SIM, the Society for International Ministries.

The most recent addition to SIM occurred in 1998 when Africa Evangelical Fellowship (AEF) merged with SIM. AEF officially began its work in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1889 as the South Africa General Mission under the leadership of Andrew Murray, Mrs. Osborne, Spencer Walton, and George Howe. Starting from urban South Africa, missionary efforts spread into many of the other countries and people groups of southern Africa.

Interdenominational Right from the Start...

Walter Gowans was a Presbyterian, as were George and Mary Allan. Thomas Kent was Congregational. Rowland Bingham was a member of the Church of England, then joined the Salvation Army, and was later ordained as a Baptist minister.

Today's SIM missionary family is drawn from more than 50 denominations. In deciding that the mission should be interdenominational, SIM founder Rowland Bingham stated: "He is blind who does not recognize that in other denominations are some of the best saints that God and grace have made."