About SIM

When my parents were serving on the Mission field with SIM it stood for Sudan Interior Mission.  That name no longer makes any sense geographically, and they have changed their name to Serving in Mission.  SIM was founded in 1893 by two Canadians, Walter Gowans and Roland Bingham, and American Thomas Kent.  SIM MKs have attended a  bunch of schools in the past including the following list (not all of these schools were boarding schools, and not all were run specifically by SIM) :

  • The American Cooperative School in La Paz, Bolivia
  • Asuncion Christian Academy in (I think) Paraquay
  • Bingham Academy in Ethiopia
  • Carachipampa Christian School in Bolivia
  • ELWA in Liberia
  • Good Shepherd (not sure where this is)
  • Gowan’s Home in Canada
  • International Christian Academy in Cote D’Ivoire
  • Kent Academy and Hillcrest (Niger Creek Hostel) in Nigeria
  • Rift Valley Academy in Kenya
  • Sahel Academy in Niamey, Niger
  • Sakeji in Zambia

My experiences were at Kent Academy and Hillcrest (Niger Creek), built and run by SIM.

Today, SIM is an international mission organization with more than 1,600 active missionaries serving in more than 50 countries.



14 thoughts on “About SIM

  1. Though I am 84 years old I still cherish my eight years in a missionary boarding school in the Belgian Congo. I had loving dorm parents who were very attentive to my needs, both physical and emotional. My mother died when I was in the seventh grade and my two brothers and I were given very tender, loving and sympathetic care. Never was there any abuse to any student that I was ever aware of at the time nor in the many years since leaving there in 1945. Discipline was meted out, but the children were left in the care of the dorm parents and the teachers and discipline is necessary in children lest they grow to be disrespectful anarchistic adults. Yet no discipline was more than one would expect from a loving dedicated parent. I will be thankful to my dying day to the wonderful dedicated parental surrogates to whom I was entrusted in my formative years.

  2. Abuse is not limited to religious schools. MKs have attended may different kinds of schools. My guess is that almost all schools have had abuse. It is horrid and terrible that it ever happened. But if the school takes action to report the abuse to authorities, fire the abuser and take care of the victim, then it very seldom damages the school or has long term results for the school, and the victim can immediately began their journey to healing, When the school refuses to admit there is abuse when there is abuse first of all it doubles the abuse. It stops the journey to healing even before it can began. The child hides the abuse until the results show up as an adult. The school when exposed years later suffers and becomes known as an abusive school even if only one case of abuse happened. Schools and missions need to learn exposing an abuser will not hurt them in the long run, but covering up abuse could actually destroy their organization.

    Here is a link to a non religious school MKs attended


  3. Not really related to anything on this page other than a few of you have pictures with your comments and I suddenly absolutely PANICKED at the thought I hadn’t paid attention and my picture would be up with a post I just made. Still very aware that I want to remain anonymous.

    • Dear Me,
      Don’t worry, none of your personal information is going to show up in the comments unless you want it to. If you have a wordpress account, and are signed in, I believe that is when your picture appears. If you have a wordpress account and want to be anonymous, make sure you aren’t signed in when you post a comment. And if you accidentally let something slip, just write and ask me to take the comment down or change it – I am more than happy to do that. Believe me there are plenty of you out there who do not want to identify yourselves. I am all for anonymity if it makes people feel more comfortable sharing, because the sharing can help with the healing. : )

  4. That list of SIM boarding schools is not entirely accurate. Several of the schools listed were attended by MK’s of missions that were later incorporated into SIM. And some of them were not boarding schools, or even missionary schools. The SIMROOTS website lists ACS as a school in La Paz, Bolivia; but prior to SIM’s merger with AEM this was not a school attended by SIM MK’s . The American Cooperative School in Monrovia, Liberia, however, was attended by SIM MK high schoolers in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

    ELWA Academy was not a boarding school, but a local elementary school for MK’s on the ELWA campus. In the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s, there was a hostel at ELWA for SIM MK’s whose parents were stationed a considerable distance from the campus. I don’t know of any abuse reports from that hostel, but the dorm parent was kicked out of the mission for adultery.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Dan. This list of schools sure is a controversial topic. You are right that it probably wasn’t accurate to call them boarding schools. I changed the description a bit, but the point is they are all schools that were attended by SIM MKs at some point in time, even if they weren’t run by SIM or even by a mission. I am certainly not implying either that there was abuse at ALL of these schools – although I have personally heard of abuse stories in several of the schools on that list.

  5. I also attended ACS, La Paz, Bolivia (1963-1968) and agree with Ken there was no religious affiliation. We had students from all walks of life — diplomats (American, Yugoslavian, British), military, missionary, exchange students, Bolivians, private industry, etc. I also wish you well and God’s blessings.

  6. Also neglected to mention that the secular institution American Cooperative School in La Paz was never a boarding school, either – I attended from 1965 through 1967 and to the best of my knowledge nothing ever changed with administration of the school after that; I think it has always had at least a semi-formal affiliation with the US Embassy. As I mentioned in prior post, I did have missionary kids as classmates – LDS, Catholic, Assemblies of God – as well as kids from military families (like me), diplomatic/embassy families, undoubtedly some CIA, ….basically a wide cross-section. I am bewildered as to how ACS gets mentioned in the context of fundamentalist abusive institutions; I’ve no doubt one of your correspondents has had some connection with the school in the past, but am pretty sure his/her childhood memories may have been conflated with bad experiences stemming from a different school on their youth….Again, I wish you nothing but the best, but mention of ACS in this context seems to be an unfathomable though no doubt honest mistake. Thanks – Ken in Atlanta

    • Hello, Ken,

      Thanks for clarifying and putting in a good word for your school. No one is accusing ACS of being abusive, or of being fundamentalist. The reason it is mentioned in the list above is simply that it is one of the schools attended by SIM MKs. You can check the Simroots web site, at http://simroots.sim.org/school.htm. Maybe they can give you more information about how SIM and ACS are connected.

  7. Hi; I just stumbled across this Google reference to one of my former schools and just wanted to inform you that the (wonderful) American Cooperative School in La Paz Bolivia has no church or missionary affiliation; its students came from many nations and backgrounds; most Americans from families with diplomatic, military,
    or business assignments to Bolivia (and, yes,
    some missionary families from several very different denominations). I’m not privy to the
    issues you deal with in your blog, and indeed I wish you well, but please do be aware that the ACS was and is anything BUT a fundamentalist school of any persuasion and is, indeed, as secular as an institution can possibly be. God bless……Ken in Atlanta

  8. Liz praying for you to keep up this blog I know it is a lot of work. For awhile you may be overwhelmed by the responses because it is such a big issue. Praying you will have helpers to help you keep up.

  9. Liz,
    I’m talking with a group of survivors that experienced something so very similar to what you wrote about here: Guilt and Secrecy: Discouraging Victims from Coming Forward

    It was such a perfect post and I knew that many of them would feel validated just reading someone else’s words that would understand what they experienced. I actually just saw it about two or three hours ago right around the time I posted. Perhaps I clicked on the links just as you were in the process of taking them offline?

    Please consider reposting that one post or even sending the text of it to me. There are women and men that I’d love to share it with.

    God bless,


  10. Found your blog through a link at GRACE on Facebook. There are many survivors of group homes and other “Christian” fundamentalists schools that covered up child sexual abuse and/or actively participated in physically abusing children. God bless your efforts to help the survivors and prevent future abuse by speaking up. The posts on your main page don’t have comment opportunities after them, but your second entry about pushing victims to remain silent is spot on!

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