By Carrie Brown McWhorter
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
In life and in ministry, 2016 Outstanding Missions Volunteer of the Year Jerry Sims is guided by a simple yet powerful belief — investment in God’s kingdom is “the only thing that will last for eternity.”
Sims, a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Huntsville, in Madison Baptist Association, was recognized in the afternoon session of the Alabama Baptist State Convention on Nov. 15.
In nominating Sims for the honor, Mildred Haga, also a member of Mount Zion Baptist, called Sims’ enthusiasm for missions “contagious” and praised his dedication to local church ministry through Vacation Bible School and involvement in community outreach efforts.
“Jerry is an excellent role model for the children,” Haga wrote. “His varied personal experiences and range of interests make him a vital and engaging person who promotes missions activities even for the young children.”
‘Acts 1:8 heart’
Ron Madison, recently retired pastor of Mount Zion, also commended Sims’ missions efforts, writing that Sims “truly has an Acts 1:8 heart that is sensitive to God’s call in our church, our greater community, our state, our nation and to the ends of the earth.”
Sims’ missions work certainly has taken him to several far-flung locations. He has served on short-term projects in Romania, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nepal. Sims’ leadership has been especially significant in Mount Zion’s work in Nepal, said David Cochran, minister of mission outreach at Mount Zion.
“Jerry has taken the lead with our partnership in Nepal (where) the main focus is on working with the local pastors in increasing their knowledge of the Bible, demonstrating new teaching techniques and encouraging local believers in how to share the Word and make disciples,” Cochran said.
Growth in Nepal
Sims also noted that the work in Nepal, now in its sixth year, has been “amazing.”
“From year to year I can see God’s hand at work planting churches and growing the body of believers in that country,” Sims said. “There is no doubt that the Kingdom has grown significantly in Nepal.”
Closer to home, Sims has been involved in several construction and renovation projects, including work on the Vineyard Christian Retreat Center in Coffee County and in church planting work in Huntsville, New York and Ohio.
‘His love can reach anyone’
The eternal impact of investing in people who live in darkness drives Sims in his missions efforts. “Seeing a person move out of the darkness into God’s light is a glorious sight,” Sims said. “As we and the churches there (in Nepal) follow God’s Word and simply obey His commands, He does great things that we cannot even imagine.”
Sims said serving as a missions volunteer has taught him two important truths about God. The first is “how big God is and how His love can reach anyone anywhere.” The second is that believers are never alone.
“He is with us regardless of where we are. He said that in the Great Commission: wherever you go, even unto the ends of the world, I will be with you. The greatest comfort I have whether I’m going locally here or whether I’m going across the state or across the state line is that God is always with us. He goes before us, He goes with us, He goes behind us. We don’t have to do it on our own. We don’t have to do it in our own strength. He’s always proven Himself that He’s there and He’s with us.”