Working at In Touch means that I am afforded the privilege of meeting many awesome servants of Christ who serve on missions both here and abroad. I’ve been both encouraged and intimidated by their testimonies because while I might like the idea of a living a life of complete reliance on Jesus, part of me still wants to curl up in the fetal position under the couch when I think about it. Dr. Dan Kim, the gentleman who spoke at chapel this Wednesday, was one of those. He is a pediatric surgeon, and he and his wife, Julie, recently served on a short term mission trip to Mali where he helped doctors treat a number of children suffering from disease and malnutrition while she worked as a literacy advocate and teacher. What he shared with us was shocking:
- Mali is the third poorest country in the world according to Oxford University and the U.N.’s Multidimensional poverty index (MPI).
- It has the fourth highest infant mortality rate in the world (one in nine babies will die in their first year).
- Two out of five children suffer from moderate to severe growth stunting due to malnutrition.
- Only one in four adults can read or write their own language (26% adult literacy rate).
They have put a great deal of information on their website. For instance,”Mali is almost twice the size of Texas with a population of 15.8 million people. Almost half the population is less than fifteen years of age because, on average, a woman will give birth to 6.5 children. Only 23% of boys and 17% of girls will attend secondary school. 90% of the population is Muslim, 9% is animist, and less than 1% is Christian”
Obviously, there are great needs–physical, emotional, and spiritual–and these folks were so moved by what they saw that they chose to take the next step and become full-time missionaries. They are currently speaking to groups like ours to raise awareness for the need and gather the funds they’ll need to live abroad. Beginning in September of 2012, they will be leaving the United States and travelling to Albertville, France to enter into an intensive French language study program. (Mali was once called French Sudan and was part of the Federation of French West Africa. It is still one of the official languages of the nation.) In July of 2013, they plan to move to Koutiala, Mali to work full time at the clinic there. Their three children will be joining them in this effort, so they need all the prayers and financial assistance we can provide!
If you are interested in giving a one-time or ongoing donation, you can do so by visiting this site. And, more importantly, you can pray for them and let them know you’re lifting them up by following them on Facebook and leaving them a note of encouragement!
Perhaps being a long-term missionary is not in my future, but I’m not willing to rule anything out just yet. However, one thing I do know is that stories like these show me that God does indeed have a purpose for each of us, ones for which He has uniquely made and prepared His children to carry out so that His name might be glorified in all the earth. I am humbled by what these people are willing to take on because they, like Isaiah, are answering the Lord’s call.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”–Isaiah 6:8