Pack Your Coffins….Let’s Go!

Posted: April 10, 2013 by Lenny in SIM
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By: Lenny Miles

Sudan 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.

SIM Founders

SIM Founders

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.
Many people in their day dubbed the Soudan (specifically, Nigeria), “The White Mans Graveyard” because of the high mortality rate of Western missionaries trying to Evangelize this remote part of the world. Diseases like Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Typhoid claimed so many victims, that most missionaries headed to this part of the world would typically pack their possessions in their own coffin. They would say good byes to loved ones to board a ship with the realization that they most likely would come home horizontally and not vertically. Still they pressed on with a God given sense of urgency.

 
Here is an excerpt from Walter Gowan’s Diary attesting to the desire to reach a lost people. He writes this during his final days on Earth and is dying of Malaria. Please take the time to read this, it’s quite amazing…
August 9, 1894
Written in view of my approaching end, which has often lately seemed so near but just now seems so imminent & I want to write while I have the power to do it.
Well Glory to God! He has enabled me to make a hard fight for the Soudan and although it may seem like a total failure and defeat it is not! We shall have the victory & that right speedily. I have no regret for undertaking this venture and in this manner my life has not been thrown away. My only regrets are for my poor dear mother. For her sake I would have chosen to live.
Mother Dear: And what a mother you have been. It seems I appreciate you now more than ever I did. Oh how often I have thought while lying here of your love and how I have longed to see you again in the flesh. Don’t mourn for me darling dearest mother. If the suffering was great, remember it is all over now and I think of the glory I am enjoying and rejoice that your boy “was permitted to have a hand in the redemption of the Soudan.”
Oh! How I did wish to live for your sake…..
……Goodbye dearest, till we meet at Jesus feet,
-Walter
Lord, give me the same heart this man had.

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Comments
  1. Gary Polsgrove says:

    Love this book

  2. Sheryl O'Brien says:

    Lenny, I’m just reading this post today, and it’s especially moving and interesting because just this morning I read a paper that Tim Geysbeek is presenting at Yale tomorrow on Gowans, Bingham, and Kent. The founders had an awesome faith in God’s power, protection and presence. And so do you. God bless the Miles family!

  3. Ruth says:

    The courage of these men is what gives me the assurance that going to the unreached and dying for the sake of the gospel of our Lord is worth it

  4. Salvador Ramirez says:

    I coud never read any stories of such people without being touched, missionaries will alwasy have a special place in my heart, I was one, the sacrfices that they make many times are not recognized by others, yet in the eyes of our Lord their sacrifice will never be in vain.

  5. Silas Bala says:

    heart touching.

  6. […] Lenny Miles writes about the missionaries who at the end of the 1800’s set out to reach the Sudan … […]

  7. JIM HISKEY says:

    WALTER’S TESTIMONY IS SUCH A BLESSING. I WORK WITH SUDANESE YOUNG MEN. WE HEAR STORIES OF 1000S WHO HAVE BEEN SWEPT INTO THE KINGDOM IN THE LAST 30 YEARS IN SOUTH SUDAN. IT WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES TO BRING THE GOSPEL THERE IN THOSE EARLY DAYS. LIKE WALTER GOWEN

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