"My name is Sonny Simak, and I pastor Grace Church Southall in West London, UK. I was born in Punjab, India, to a Hindu family and moved to the UK in 2001 with my parents. The Lord saved me in 2007-08 while I was studying Chemistry at University in London. I married Sarita in 2012. Sarita too was born and brought up by a Hindu family in Southall.
I became involved in church planting in Southall in 2010 while I kept my secular job. I was able to leave my full-time job and took the role of an evangelist in 2013. The church plant then was constituted as the local church in late 2015. The church then called me to be their pastor in early 2016.
Southall is known as mini-India and has about twenty-eight thousand residents. It is one of the most religious towns in the UK. People come from various faiths such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other spiritual groups. There are several other denominational churches in Southall too.
Due to the ‘migrant’ nature of our town, therefore, Christians are often on the move in search of better jobs and living. The church membership is something most folks struggle to grasp.
We would, therefore, appreciate your prayers for the growth in both number and spiritual maturity in the life of the local church. We need mission-minded people who can understand the needs of this dark place and serve the Lord with much passion, love and boldness."
Update (from "Faint Yet Pursuing", Grace Baptist Partnership Month of Prayer and Giving, March 2022)
Some seasons of ministry may require us to press on despite personal weariness, but if we are exhausted and exasperated, it should not be because of any lack of provision. Through your prayers and giving, you encourage us to keep pursuing the mission of God even when faint. “Maybe it’s time for us to go away - start over somewhere else, join a bigger church, get lost in the crowd...” The thought has doubtless crossed the minds of many church planters and pastors labouring under exhausting and exasperating conditions. The temptation is to move from “faint, yet pursuing” to “faint, not pursuing”. Sonny Simak, pastor of Grace Church Southall, reached that point. Sonny has lived in Southall since 2001. He was part of the team that planted Grace Church in 2010, getting the keys to a local chapel and opening up for public gatherings in the autumn of that year. With help from Grace Baptist Partnership, they successfully purchased the building in 2012, and Sonny left employment elsewhere in 2013 to take up the work of evangelism in Southall full-time. In 2015, he was called to pastor the church. In 2018, Sonny and his wife Sarita were in the process of adopting a boy. The boy was, through an injustice that recently received attention in the national press, taken from them. This painful trial coincided with several longtime members of the church leaving, for one reason or another. Reduced ultimately to three members in 2019, starting over somewhere else and getting lost in a crowd was appealing. Instead Sonny and Sarita stayed put, and - in a manner of speaking - started over where they were. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonny began studies at London Seminary while continuing to lead the church. In the lockdown months, they multiplied from 3 to 12, and over the past year God has added a couple of godly men. They are seeking to disciple new church members to be grounded in God’s word and to pursue daily growth with renewed love and service for Christ, consistently bearing witness about him among the saved and the lost and living out their faith daily for God’s glory. In a world filled with distractions and competing affections, they desire to give themselves to the life of the local church and Christian witness to the world - both the world on their doorstep, and further afield as they support gospel workers serving in India. The Apostle Paul writes: “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9). Sonny and Sarita did not give up: knocked down, they got up, and continue to go out with good news of great joy that transcends bad news of great sorrow.
- Praise the Lord for the endurance of Grace Church Southall, especially Sonny and Sarita Simak.
- Pray that the church would continue to seek the Lord for his wisdom and guidance.
- Pray for the church’s discipleship and witness among the locals in Southall.
- Pray for the church’s chapel refurbishment plans for this year to be adequately resourced and successful in stewarding the building efficiently for gospel witness.