Margot & Jim

The journey to Danja

Bouncing along the road from Niamey to Maradi, squashed, hot, and not even sure that our luggage had got onto the right bus, we had 10 hours ahead of us. With limited French and lots of sign language somehow we made it through, one moment feeling like we were driving from Nhulunbuy to Katherine in the dry season, and the next moment seeing mud huts and granaries, herds of goats, sheep and donkeys and the occasional camel dotting the landscape. Sand everywhere – but no beach over the next dune! That was a long time in a bus on a bumpy road… and the overriding thought was –“How did we get here!!??”

Jim and I married in 1981. We’d both been to Bible College and headed to Derby for a year as Jim was a pilot gaining hours to go to PNG. We then spent 8 years in PNG and 2 years in Nhulunbuy, NT with Missionary Aviation Fellowship.

Having grown up in Darwin, Jim has a heart for Indigenous Australia, and on leaving MAF, moved into a business management role in an Aboriginal-owned company in Nhulunbuy. Jim had a number of other roles over the years including working with TEAR Australia in disaster management work to Sudan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In 2005 we moved to Queensland. Jim, having gained a Forestry qualification, had moved into land regeneration work with Community groups, using primarily Australian native species.

I am a physiotherapist, who has worked mostly with children who live with disability. My call to mission began as a child. My conversion at 18 was linked intrinsically to mission and life commitment to God’s purposes in and through me, and after the Lord called me I had a dream to change my university course to Physiotherapy which I did.

On graduating I went to work in “post – Tracey Darwin”. During that time in Darwin I was introduced to the Leprosy work in the N.T. through Melville Furness, an Indian Physiotherapist from TLM Karigiri/ India, working at the Leprosarium at East Point.

A New Ministry

Jim and I are now working with SIM in Niger. I am filling the role of physiotherapist at Danja Leprosy Rehabilitation Hospital. It was founded by SIM 56 years ago and is still the only leprosy referral centre in the country. I work mostly with people who have non-leprosy disability -all ages- from strokes to burns to chronic severe deformities such as polio, arthritis, post injection paralyses, cerebral palsy and clubfoot. Family members often carry their loved one to the centre. The leprosy work has largely been handed over to national staff management. There is great joy at this centre! 1 Corinthians 13:13 explains why!

Jim first heard about the Australian acacia tree planting work here with SIMaid in 2001. After he was sure that this was what God was laying on his heart, we sought the Lord about my role and it opened up amazingly as a confirmation to us both that this was a “work God had prepared for us both to walk in.”

Whatever your age and life experience, God can open doors for you in ministry around the SIM world. If you are retired or near retirement age, think about using your gifts, skills and all that life has taught you in sharing the love of Christ with a world in need.

Original story from SIM Australia