This is the third installment of SIFAT Remembers. Ken Corson, cofounder of SIFAT, is writing this article to remind supporters (both old and new) about how SIFAT came to be, the beginnings of SIFAT and memories through the years. This article comes from the section he has titled the character of SIFAT.

While we were in language school in Costa Rica we discovered a mission group that conducted Caravans of Good Will (Caravanas de Buena Voluntad). They organized teams of a doctor, a dentist, a literacy worker, nurse, nutritionist, an agriculturalist and a pastor. I went with them on a number of caravans down rivers and in remote villages where they were able to impact whole villages. They did not just talk about the love of God, they manifested it with their presence, their compassion, their practical caring. They also introduced the Bible and shared God’s Word in word as well as deed.

Through my high school and college years I had been exposed to a type of religion that stressed preaching, evangelism and Bible study. Education, nutrition, medical work, literacy and the like were spoken of in condescending tones as, “the social gospel.” But I came to see that God made the body as well as the spirit. The Gospel includes ministering to every aspect of our being. We call this incarnational evangelism. There is no separation of the so-called evangelical gospel from the so-called social gospel. Many of my old friends thought that I strayed from the correct path by working with people with their physical as well as spiritual needs. In 1979 when SIFAT was created, thinking of ministry in holistic ways was not so common as it is today. It is gratifying to see that there are now many other Christian groups who work holistically. This process of incorporating all aspects of the human condition as legitimate fields for ministry led to what became the SIFAT motto of “Sharing God’s Love in Practical Ways.”