Together we’re reaching the nations
We take a look at the work of Elim Missions with Paul Hudson, Director of Elim International Missions.
How is life as Director of Elim Missions?
Life is great! The role has developed rapidly over the five years I have been in post. It can be split into three sections:
engaging pastors and UK churches with Elim globally
pastoring the missionaries and raising new ones
facilitating the growing work of Elim across the world
I believe the Holy Spirit has evolved my role into something that is exciting and influential, and one that every day leaves me with a profound sense of privilege that I get the opportunity to serve in this way.
How many countries do you visit each year? Are you ever at home?
One of the first things I did when I took on the role was to place myself into an accountability group who ask me these kinds of questions! I have agreed with them that this year I will only make 12 overseas trips.
What’s the most moving story you’ve encountered since you started the role?
Elim churches have been sending money and teams into the east side of the Democratic Republic of Congo to work with a partner organisation called Comfort Congo, which is helping former child soldiers and ladies caught up in war crime. The most moving story I’ve encountered comes from there.
A few years ago, I met a lady who had been abducted from her home by the rebels and taken to be a wife for one of the rebel leaders. She was systematically raped over 56 days and had lost count how many times she was violated. She eventually escaped and returned to her home only for her husband to reject her because of the shame.
I was talking to her in the community where we work and she told me her story. I asked her what she now felt about God. She was confused by my question, but then said, “God was with me in every rape. He never left my side. I have lost everything: my dreams, hopes, my husband and home, my work, everything. They have even taken my identity. I no longer feel like a woman. But there is one thing the enemy will never take from me and that is my eternity.”
I was moved to tears, not only of compassion but of repentance, as I realised how little I lived in light of my eternity compared to this lady.
What is the greatest challenge in your role?
The greatest challenge has to be raising money. The budget for Elim Missions ranges from the salaries and office costs, to helping missionaries survive and thrive, coping with emergency crises, of which there are many, training costs from here in the UK to the continents of the world, expansion of Elim Global, and the conferences each year… it all has to be raised.
We don’t receive any grants from Elim UK’s central funds – this is not a complaint, but a fact that I continually have to explain to pastors, even those who have been in the ministry for decades.
However, the work of Elim is growing fast around the world and the UK is still currently the country that other nations rely on for help and support. So the challenge is money. In saying all of this, God has proved himself to be the mighty one and he turns our mourning into dancing and provides for his vision.
What exciting projects are coming up for Elim Missions?
This is a sombre but inspirational year. We will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Vumba tragedy in 1978, where 13 of our Elim missionaries including their children were murdered. To do so we have a number of events planned.
Throughout the year we have ‘A Call to Mission’ events taking place where Elim Sound is leading worship, a play written by Richard Hasnip will be performed and then I will be challenging people to surrender their lives to the work of God.
We are hoping for an increase in our Missionary Academy applications this year. We are certainly praying for the Spirit to impact many.
Secondly, for the first time, the remaining family members of the Vumba missionaries will gather for special services over two days. And thirdly, we will open a special memorial garden in the grounds of the International Centre.
Other upcoming projects will include Elim pressing into new nations, especially in Europe.
Are there any unreached areas or nations that Elim is targeting?
We are targeting Europe and across the world, we are focusing on areas where there are no churches, a number of these areas are Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu strongholds – but Christ is more powerful!
North Korea remains shut off to Christians. Do you think this will ever change?
Of course, the Holy Spirit is already at work in North Korea. There are definitely works of God taking place because he is working in every place of the world whether we know it or not. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have an Elim church in North Korea?
However, what is going to be amazing is when North Korea opens we are going to hear miraculous stories of God working in remarkable ways for many years there. North Korea may remain shut to Christians from the outside – but it is not shut off to God.
Could the UK be considered a mission field and should the Church turn its attention closer to home? The UK is definitely a mission field. I am firmly committed to my home nation. We need churches in every city, town and village. We should never take our eyes off the UK. People need Jesus here and we need to make disciples who plant churches.
The primary reason for mission is to be where God is and join him doing what he is doing, for the sole reason of knowing him and his ways. He is moving in the UK and we need to join him AND he is moving all over the world and we need to join him there too.
We can do both. It is amazing, it’s fun and it’s changing lives – none more so than our very own!