This is the second installment of SIFAT Remembers by Ken Corson, cofounder of SIFAT.

After Cuba, Sarah and I went to the missionary language school in San Jose, Costa Rica. The school was a mosaic of missionaries in the last half of the 20th Century: Catholic, Protestant, Southern Baptist, Pentecostal, high church and things in between.

Varied Christian traditions that often found it hard to cooperate in other things were neighbors, friends and classmates in learning Spanish. We all learned more about God by hearing the testimonies of how He had worked in the lives of people different from us and different from each other. None of us have a monopoly on God; none of us understand perfect doctrine. As I Corinthians tells us, now in this world, we “see through a glass darkly.” We can learn from each other.

Years later when we were working in a fairly remote area in Haiti where we were some of the few Caucasians in the area, we met a Christian couple serving as missionaries up in the mountains. We enjoyed fellowship with them for a few minutes in the market. Before leaving we invited them to come visit us. We were shocked at their reply. Their denomination forbade them from associating with “The World”. In other words they did not acknowledge anyone as Christian that was not a member of their denomination. How sad, I thought. How narrow. How limiting. How do we let our light shine if it is set under a bushel?

From its earliest days, beginning in 1979, SIFAT declared that we build bridges not walls, bridges that bring people together, not walls that separate. SIFAT character is inclusive, not exclusive.