I Am Christ’s Ambassador
When I read these prayer requests and see these photos each month, I stand in awe of our missionaries and team in South America. They are doing good works for Jesus and sharing the gospel in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. I think of them as ambassadors for Christ as they represent Him in a foreign land. Then I think about how I’m representing Jesus in my home country. Am I an ambassador for Christ? Are you?
When we accepted the free gift of salvation, our hearts changed for Christ. We were reconciled to God and given eternal life. We also became His representative in the world. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Paul says, “We implore you on behalf of Christ.” This is what an ambassador for Christ does. Implores people…requests in a sincere or urgent manner…on behalf of Christ. Be reconciled to God. As a follower of Christ, I am Christ’s ambassador. Scary thought!
It’s a lot of responsibility. It’s a lot to live up to. When people see me, they are supposed to see Jesus. When people hear me speak, they are supposed to hear Jesus. When I interact with people, they are supposed to know that Jesus loves them. That He died for them. That He wants to have a personal relationship with them. That’s a tall order for someone like me who prefers to hide in the corner at social gatherings.
As I process this great responsibility, I realize that many of us may need a change in perspective. Maybe God hasn’t called us to serve in South America. Or maybe He will. But He has sent us to that city where we live. He sent us to that community, that neighborhood. He sent us to that office, that job. He sent us for a reason. Wherever we find ourselves right now, we have opportunity to implore others to trust in Jesus.
His power and grace open the doors for us to share. We don’t need to feel scared of representing Christ. We don’t need to worry about what to say or how to say it. Or what others think about us. As we live, love, and help others for Him, we naturally build relationships with others. It’s in those relationships that we can share our faith and encourage others in their faith journey. That builds my confidence as Christ’s ambassador. Because it’s not about me. It’s about Him.
1. Pray for Mike and Marina Shank. Mike and Marina are settling into their first term of service in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. They are learning how God is already at work around the city as they go through orientation, meeting missionaries, pastors, leaders, and new neighbors. Pray for discernment as the Shanks find a local church family as well as for guidance as they work with the SAM Bolivia Team to see how they can serve God in Santa Cruz.
2. Pray for IBC Bustamante Church and the Malec family. Seth and Jessica live and serve with TEAM in Arequipa, Peru. Seth pastors a church plant, IBC Bustamante. God has been growing this young church and has opened doors for the church body to serve the spiritual and physical needs of two under-resourced communities. Pray for God to raise up a local pastor to lead and serve this congregation.
3. Pray for Seed Projects in Recife, Brazil. Seed Projects are small, holistic outreach projects through which churches and missions demonstrate God’s love in practical ways in their local community. South America Mission / Missão SAIM in Recife had the opportunity to collaborate with local friends and churches to build a much-needed bus stop on a neighborhood street. This bus stop is used daily by many people. The new structure will protect friends and neighbors from Recife’s blistering sun and rainy season downpours as they wait on the public buses to arrive. Praise God for all the hands who worked on this project, and pray for more opportunities to serve the community in this way.
4. Pray for children in Armenia, Colombia. It was Christmas in April! Churches in Armenia received Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes in April after a long delay due to Covid. Chris and Cristi Haylett serve with Iglesia Nueva Esperanza alongside Pastor Jorge and his wife Kristina. Their church received 80 boxes and hosted three events where they presented the gospel to children and their parents. What a joy for the children! Many children responded to the message and indicated a desire for a relationship with Jesus. They loved the gift boxes and many seemed to receive “just what they wanted.” From art supplies for a girl who loves to draw to a boy receiving a few dollars that he used to help feed his family, the kids were overwhelmed with the gifts. The church serves an impoverished community, so it was exciting to see God bless and provide spiritually and physically through the shoeboxes. The Sunday after the evangelistic events, two new families came to church. Praise God for bringing them. The church is now following up with a 12-week discipleship curriculum from Samaritan’s Purse called La Gran Aventura (The Great Adventure).
5. Pray for the indigenous peoples of Brazil. In April, the Ammi training center in Brazil celebrated Day of the Indian. This was a great time of fellowship, dances, and a cookout celebrating the rich diversity of these cultures and peoples. Pray that God will use Ammi, the staff, and the students to glorify Himself in each tribe.
6. Pray for Dalmiro and Laura Ortiz. Dalmiro and Laura live and serve in Santa Cruz, Bolivia in teaching, pastoral care, and administration. They will be in the U.S. for eight months this year on Home Ministry Assignment (HMA). HMA is a time for missionaries to connect with churches, supporters, and family. They may also use the time for training, rest, and renewal. Please pray for this time for the Ortiz family, that God would give them rest and opportunities to share their ministry. Pray that God will fill the temporary holes they leave in Bolivia while they are gone for several months.
7. Pray for Iglesia Biblica Gracia y Verdad’s mission trip. Iglesia Biblica Gracia y Verdad in Lima, Peru will be taking a mission trip to Ecuador from June 14-29. This will be a medical mission outreach to a Quichua community outside of Riobamba, Ecuador. The team of seven will be joining a team of 13 from Volunteers in Medical Missions from the U.S. Pray for these two teams as they work together to serve the Quichua people with physical and spiritual needs.
8. Pray for the Wayuu in northern Colombia. Praise God for the fruitful work of the Wayuu people and Wájaro Foundation. A picture of 6 books may not excite you, but these are all a part of the literacy program that now enables +800,000 of the Wayuu community to learn how to read and write in their own language (and very efficiently at that)! This may be the first well-done and extensive workbook created by Wayuu for literacy in their own language (Wayuunaiki).
9. Pray for new baptisms. In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, due to virtual church and then restricted in-person meetings, many new believers have been waiting for an opportunity to be baptized. Praise God that in the past few months, many have been baptized, giving testimony to their faith in Christ. Pray for these believers to grow in the knowledge of God and to be witnesses to the work of Christ.
10. Pray for Oscar Sinuiri. Oscar works as the groundskeeper for SAMAIR Peru. He and his wife are raising their grandchildren. Oscar asks for prayer for wisdom, strength, and the Lord’s provision as they take care of their grandkids.
11. Pray for Kaylee and Nilton Solier in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Kaylee and Nilton met and married in Peru while Kaylee was serving in Ayacucho with SAM. They are now serving in Guatemala City for a few years while Nilton is completing a church-planting and discipleship training program. They also work with an initiative of the local church, Iglesia Reforma, called MANOS. In the impoverished neighborhood of Bethania, MANOS runs a tutoring and after-school program for kids. They provide homework help to kids who need it, but they also give them opportunities to develop their other talents and abilities with classes in geography, gardening, English and other areas of interest.
12. Pray for City to City in Medellín, Colombia. In the city of Medellín, Julián Arias has been getting to know other pastors and ministry leaders through connections with SAM and City to City, a ministry that seeks to connect churches and local ministries to help reach the city with the gospel by working together. He coordinated logistics for City to City’s two day incubator meetings in Medellín with pastors from across the city. Please pray for wisdom as Julián and fellow leaders continue to seek how they can serve together with City to City in Medellín.