Jim & Jean Cail Using Graphic Arts to Reach the Unreached
by Wilma Cashin
Im a much more valuable person as a graphic artist and missionary because of what Ive learned here at the U.S. Center for World Mission, says Jim Cail, the artist who handles almost all the graphic design for Center publications. He says it was here at the Center he first gained a finish the task perspective on world missions, and his work in the graphics department has given him valuable skills.
Jim and his wife Jean are both second-generation SIM missionaries. Theyve been seconded to the Center by SIM International.
Born in the same missionary hospital in Jos, Nigeria, Jim and Jean seemed destined for life together from birth. Both sets of parents worked with tribal peoples in West Africa. Their mothers met at the Jos hospital right after Jean was born and while Jims mother was awaiting his arrival. Jim and Jean attended the same missionary school from first grade. They both attended Columbia Bible College. Each received a degree in Bible. They planned to go into missionary work . . . though they wondered how Jims gifts in art would fit into the picture.
Married five weeks after they graduated in 1976, Jim and Jean remained in Columbia while seeking Gods direction. One day at a missions conference, they asked a missionary how Jims artistic talents could be used. The woman pointed to all the literature on display. We need graphic artists to produce these kinds of things, she said. Thats a need both here and overseas.
Two months later, Jeans father told them about a job for an artist on the field. They applied to SIM, went through candidate training, and spent the next year raising support. Then they went to Quebec to learn French and left for Ivory Coast in August 1980. They were assigned to work at the Evangelical Publishing Center in Abidjan.
After a year working in the art department where he prepared French publications for printing, Jim was asked to supervise the print shop. He ended up having to run the press on his own . . . and came to know how to take a publication from the start of the graphics process all the way through to printing, folding, and binding. He says his experience has given him a better understanding of graphic arts.
Why would missionaries like the Cails choose to serve here in the United States when they could be on the front lines overseas? For Jim and Jean, the front lines are here. Physical location isnt as important as doing something significant for the unreached peoples.
Jim and Jean both say one of the things they appreciate about the Center is its attitude toward young families. Fathers have the flexibility to be with their children when they are needed.
For Jean, the support of the community, particularly the moms group that meets every Monday evening, is a precious blessing. For the first time in my life I have actually made real friends who care about me and support me in prayer, she says. She recalls how trapped she felt in Africa trying to cope with the physically difficult conditions, the isolation of going through a miscarriage, and then trying to care for two active little girls. (Today they have four daughters.)
Soon after the Cails arrived at the Center, a fine manager came to oversee the graphics department. He has since left. Jim would like to see another person with comparable skills help him oversee the volunteers and any future staff who may come to help. I dont feel my gifts are in the area of management, he confesses.
Besides a manager, Jim says the department needs another artistsomeone who is not only able to create original artwork but who is also familiar with desktop publishing (using a Macintosh computer).
It is an exciting and challenging job to be involved in missions publishing at this active place. Would you like to join Jim in graphics at the U. S. Center? Write! Well tell you how to become involved either as a supported staff member or a volunteer:
Personnel Department, USCWM 1605 Elizabeth St., Pasadena, CA 91104. (818) 797-1111.