Trusting that God knows what he’s doing!

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December 2014 saw a big change in the leadership of SIM Malawi. As we reported in the last issue, Hans-Jörg Richter stood down as the Country Director of SIM Malawi and Mike Hammond was appointed in his place.

Mike, together with his wife Jacky (pictured below) and sons Joshua and Christopher, joined SIM Malawi in 2005 when they came out to establish the HOPE for AIDS work. Under their tenure, HOPE for AIDS has developed a wide range of projects aimed at ‘Impacting the HIV & AIDS Crisis’, one of the five priority areas of work for SIM Malawi.

One of his first tasks after taking over as Country Director was to attend the Global Leaders’ Summit in Malaysia. On his return Malawi Amoto asked Mike about his hopes and aspirations for his new role.

Mike and Jacky Hammond

What are your thoughts about your new role?

Firstly, I am humbled by the support that people have given me, that they even thought that I could take on this role. It has never been something that I aspired to, but with HJ moving on to his new role, the time seemed to be right, even though it may not have been of my choosing. In all of this I look to God as sovereign and trust that he knows what he is doing. I pray he will reveal to me, one step at a time, what I should be doing as my guess is that I would be completely overwhelmed if I saw the whole picture at the outset.

What are your hopes and fears for the new role?

My prayerful hope is that I will be able to care for each of the missionaries in our team and serve their ministries well, and that I would be a faithful steward of the Gospel and of all that God has entrusted to us at SIM Malawi.  I also know that I can’t be an effective leader if I am trying to do things on my own, and so I pray that I will be able to work well together with the rest of the team.

Will there be any change in the direction SIM Malawi is going in under your leadership?

I don’t think there will be any significant change of direction. We are part of SIM internationally, and so our direction is guided from that level, and it is already looking at how we can more effectively take the good news of Jesus Christ to those who have least heard of Him, and to disciple them into faith and onward into maturity of faith. This particularly builds on our current focus areas of Pursue the Unreached and Advance Mission, but also on the other areas of Build the Church, Reach Children & Youth, and Impact the HIV & AIDS Crisis.

But clearly, HJ and I are different people with different backgrounds, gifts and personalities, so I am sure my leadership style will be different. HJ is very highly productive, very focused, whereas I am a lot more laid-back kind of guy. Hopefully I will be just as productive but in a different way.

Life in Malawi is not always straightforward!

How does the family feel about your new role?

Well we are already reduced by one, as Joshua has left us here in Malawi to commence university studies in Australia. Jacky is the greatest personal assistant a leader could have, and she has fully supported me taking up the role. I think Chris has acknowledged the change with little passing comment!

When you came to Malawi was this your first time as a missionary in the field?

Jacky had been part of short-term mission trips to Albania (in Europe) while it was still a fairly closed communist state. We had visited some missionary friends on the field.

What did you find when you first came out?

We joined a team of faithful missionaries committed to sharing the Gospel. We came to a church that has had 100 years of mission involvement, with some passionate leaders, but more are needed. Many Malawians claim to be Christian but the reality is that many do not live this out day to day. We came to a country struggling with poverty, with HIV-AIDS, and other issues common to many countries around the world. Together our desire is to bring the love and hope of Jesus Christ to those who are perishing without him.

Mike working with a group of HOPE for AIDS workers

Will a new director for HOPE for AIDS Malawi be sought?

I mentioned to Dave Bremner, our regional deputy international director, that I believe I need to continue at least part time in the HOPE for AIDS role to keep my feet on the ground and involved with the church at a local congregation level. We are also looking at integrating as much of HOPE for AIDS into the mainline church ministries as we can. So in answer to the question, not in the immediate future, as I will still be involved and Jacky will pick up a bit more of the general supervision, as she has done over the last seven weeks while I have been away.

How is HOPE for AIDS Malawi different now compared with when you took over?

When we arrived, HOPE for AIDS Malawi was in its infancy. God has graciously provided personnel and funds for us significantly to expand, such that we are touching on the many aspects of life where HIV & AIDS has damaged communities, families, relationships, and individuals. We work with those who are sick and those caring for them, we come alongside orphans and their guardians, and we train youth, married couples and church leaders in how to make courageous godly choices about lifestyle. This was the vision of those who began the work before us, and we hope we have been faithful to that vision and to our God who has provided for the ministries.

 

 

 


Volume 2: Issue 5
Webpage icon Malawi Amoto Editorial
Webpage icon Spiritual Life Conference 2015
Webpage icon When disaster turns to tragedy
Webpage icon From Relief to Rebuilding
Webpage icon ‘Tiyamike’ Let us give thanks