A Bus Ride In Peru

May 24, 2022 |

Samy's Salvation

It all began with a bus ride up the mountain to a little Peruvian town. Rick and I were on our way to hike in order to get some exercise and fresh air. Plus dropping off a New Testament to a Quechua lady that Rick prayed for after her husband broke her arm in a fuss. While on the bus, the young gal seated in front of us turned and began talking to us in very simple English! English!! We were surprised, of course, and continued to talk with her, asking her simple questions. We discovered that her name is Samy. And she is in her preparatory time to enter the University.

We all got off at the bus stop in this little town and began walking in the same direction. We continued walking and talking together. As we came near a bend in the road, I saw a surprisingly lovely house and asked her if she knew who lived there. She said, “Oh that’s my house! Would you like to come over for a coffee?”  Rick and I both thought, “Sure! What an ‘open-door’ opportunity to share with someone!” So, we went.

The house we entered was NOT the lovely house that I noticed, but rather a humble, adobe structure made with poles, dirt, and a tin roof over a dirt floor. (It was interesting to me how Samy thought that HER house was the “lovely house” of my comment.) Her shaggy dog greeted us on our way down the embankment. We met her two little nieces, 5 and 8, who appeared to be home alone. She served both of us a cup of powdered coffee. We visited and talked. Rick asked her some questions about Jesus and began to share the gospel. We had the New Testament with us, plus a spare one (Thank the Lord!). Rick read some verses and left the New Testament with her. We also shared our contact information in case she wanted to talk with us again. We left and went on our way.

Over the next several months, Samy began to text us occasionally. Rick and I asked her over to our house for some coffee and cookies and she came. We saw her in the main Plaza in town at times. We invited her to our church services. She came every now and again. She especially enjoyed our Christmas service last year (2021) when we had fellowship time and a fun “photo booth” with props to take crazy photos together! Every time we were with her, we tried to share with her about the Lord.

When Rick was sick with COVID, we were in quarantine in our apartment. Samy bought bread for us fairly regularly and dropped it off. She is a real sweetheart and very willing to help others in their time of need.

Samy is lonely, seeking friendships, and opportunities for success in life. Her parents work in a village that is a three-hour drive away. She lives in Ayacucho with her sister who works long hours. Samy is often left to herself. 

During one conversation, she mentioned that her birthday was coming up in January. She didn’t know what she was going to do. Samy was turning 21. She mentioned it several times during that visit. I told Rick, “I think she’s kind of ‘fishing’ for us to have a party for her!” We decided to plan a party for her birthday and welcomed her to invite some of her friends over too. We talked and planned the menu and time together. She only invited one friend, Edith, whom we had also met in the Plaza with Samy on one of our chance encounters. In talking with Edith at that time, she seemed to be a believer. We were glad to know of Edith’s friendship in Samy’s life.

What a fun celebration with Samy, Edith, and Edith’s two little boys. We had a great time of food, fellowship, and fiesta together as those boys were most entertaining!

A few Sundays after that birthday party, Edith and her two little boys, along with Edith’s mother, Lydia, came with Samy to our worship service. What a beautiful surprise! We were so glad to see them all.

Rick began to think of ways that he could include Samy in our worship service in order to promote more regular attendance. He asked her if she would change the PowerPoint slides for our worship singing time. She agreed.

On Palm Sunday (April 10, 2022), Samy came early to help us set up equipment for worship and to practice changing the slides for the worship songs. We practiced and she did great! We got done “early” so I (Donna) left the room to go work on my children’s Sunday School craft. When I went back into the main room, Samy was sitting down reading a tract, “How to Have Peace With God.” As we began to gather for our prayer time, Rick asked her what she thought about the tract. She said that it promoted the need for reflection and that many people tend to reject God. She said that she would have to think about it more. 

Then she asked, “How does one have peace with God?” Rick began sharing verses from another tract that he had with him. This tract had pictures depicting man’s sinful separation from God and his inability to “work” his way to God with his own attempts. It showed Jesus as the “bridge” to bring us to God. Rick shared several verses from that tract explaining the pictures as he shared. At the back of the tract was a sample “sinner’s prayer.”  He read over that prayer. Then told her that if that prayer represented what was going on in her own heart, if it was something that she wanted to say HERSELF to God, that she could. He asked her if she would like to pray that to God, and she said, “Yes.” She then prayed, aloud, that prayer to God! Afterward, she commented on how emotional it was!

How thrilling! After many, many times of sharing Christ and the gospel with Samy, she went from death to life. Praise the Lord! We told her that the angels in heaven were having a big party over her too. What a joy to have a new sister in Christ! And it all started during a “holy moment” when she turned around and started talking to us on a bus ride up the mountain.

 

Rick and Donna Martin serve as SAM missionaries in Ayacucho, Peru. Their passion for evangelism and discipleship brings great energy to the church planting team in the Ayacucho region. They desire to see beautiful churches planted that help bring God’s shalom to broken cities and lives.

May 2022 Prayer Focus

May 2, 2022 |

“If the Lord wills” James 4:15 (ESV)

Religious language and biblical concepts permeate Brazilian culture, but none quite so prevalent as the words “se Deus quiser”, the Portuguese equivalent of “if the Lord wills” from the book of James. Christians and non-Christians alike refer to the will of God as a powerful force that determines what happens or doesn’t happen in a given situation. As is often the case with a constantly repeated phrase, “if the Lord wills” has drifted quite far from its original intended meaning. Whereas James was admonishing believers not to arrogantly announce their plans or intentions as if God had no say in the matter and instead to be ever cognizant of their utter dependence upon Him for their every waking moment, the Brazilian context is quite a different one indeed.

It is quite common to hear someone utter this phrase as a sort of prayer, seeking God’s approval or blessing upon a plan or personal desire that has already been decided in one’s mind. Or perhaps a particular action or outcome is not desirable. Then a person will use this phrase as if to say “I am not inclined to work towards this outcome. It will only happen if the Lord makes it happen”. Neither of these scenarios suggests a pursuit of or contentment with the will of the Lord above the will of the individual. At most, it is a recognition of the power of God to frustrate the plans of man with no comprehension of the fact that the Lord’s will for all of humanity is infinitely better than our own.

This is one of the many challenges mission agencies face in nations where the vast majority of the population has already been “evangelized” making it difficult to introduce biblical truths that are not easily incorporated into the original understanding of the gospel. Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts and minds of the Brazilian people to a deeper understanding of and trust in the will of God. We also pray for a shift in worldview which leads to a true manifestation of the kingdom of God as the only desirable outcome and not simply a choice among many.

 

1. Pray for Pastor Alcimar and Geiciana. Pastor Alcimar is a graduate of the Center of Formation of Leaders in Cruzeiro do Sul, Brazil. He is an effective pastor, shepherding well the two congregations with whom he has served. He is gifted in disciplining others and in communication. Pray for him and his wife, Geiciana, as they juggle work, school, and ministry. They would appreciate prayer for the building of a more adequate church in their new location.

2. Pray for the Ammi Training Center. The Ammi training center provides indigenous pastoral training to the many tribes scattered throughout Brazil’s Amazon region. Students come to the Ammi campus where they live, study, and serve for eight months of the year. The Ammi staff is multi-ethnic and participates in all aspects of the students’ training. Students train in scripture knowledge and practical life skills such as agriculture, health, and sanitation.

  • Pray for missionary Vera Bergson who coordinates classes and academic activities. 
  • Pray for first-year students who endure the challenge of traveling and adjusting to the training center, while also often learning Portuguese in the process. 
  • Pray for one young lady in particular who decided to repeat the first year to better understand Portuguese. 
  • Pray for second-year students as they continue studying and learning to engage with different cultures. 
  • Pray for third-year students who will be graduating this year. Pray that God will guide their next steps as they seek opportunities to apply what they learned during their time at Ammi.
  • Pray for the other missionaries and Brazilian staff serving at Ammi.

 

3. Pray for Village Visits. The students at Ammi have been practicing sharing the gospel through oral stories using visual images to accompany their descriptions, rather than reading off a script or including a literacy component since oral communication is frequently how information is shared in many indigenous communities. 

“You bring the culture of God, not of your village, or of Ammi.”  – Ammi Staff

This challenge was shared by one of the teaching missionaries during a week of training for the indigenous students at Ammi to prepare for their missions trips to other indigenous communities during the last week of April.

Praise God for this opportunity the students had to share the gospel and the kingdom culture of God. Please pray for continued wisdom and discernment as they try to adapt to sharing the good news with an indigenous community that is unlike their own culture. Pray for continued opportunities for them to grow in sharing their faith.

4. Pray for Women’s Fellowship at Ammi. Every Thursday the student and staff women meet to have a devotional and to learn a skill like cooking or crafts. This is a sweet time of fellowship for these women. Pray for deep friendships and community.

 

5. Pray for the Callahans. Tim and Mindy Callahan arrived in Brazil last fall. Pray for them as they are finishing their language learning in Cuiaba and preparing to move and begin ministry at the Ammi Center. 

6. Pray for Callahans and their church relationship. Tim and Mindy are building a home at Ammi for their future ministry. Their church, Crossriver, in Cuiaba has a ministry that serves their community on weekends and holidays with a home-repair ministry. In April, their church sent 35 people to help plaster the interior of their house. This partnership is a great example of SAM’s desire for generous collaboration as the Brazilian church supports the work of Ammi. Pray for Crossriver Church and this service ministry and continued partnership with Ammi.

7. Pray for the Sengs. Retired missionaries Wes and Trudy Seng continue to serve Semirata, an indigenous training center in Iranduba. 

“We are both teaching and loving the classes. The students are eager and have finally lost their timidity so they ask pertinent questions and seeing the light come on in their eyes is priceless.

Both of us continue to be involved in the community around us. Wes has discipleship Bible study times with different truth-seekers; I am teaching the book of John in the local church to the ladies and that has been a joy. One former prostitute confessed, “I just don’t know if I am saved!” Another one tearfully admitted to a drinking problem. I am thrilled that they have come to the place of acknowledging weakness instead of posturing pious religiosity because this is when Jesus can step in!”

Pray for Wes and Trudy to finish well, teaching the Bible with love and clarity. Pray that God will give them His strength, wisdom, and thoughts.

8. Pray for Paul serving with the Recife soccer ministry. Paul is a ministry partner from Latin Link who has served off and on in Recife for 15 years. He is currently serving with the Vale do Senhor soccer ministry in Recife. On May 21 and 22, he will be taking a group of 16-17 year old boys to our SAM Center as a time of rest away from training. Please pray as they spend time in the Word and in sharing with one another. Pray that Paul will be able to continue to walk alongside them and encourage them as they press deeper into their faith.

9. Pray for the rainy season in Recife. Rainy season is coming up. And whether you live at the top or the bottom of a hill, heavy rain stirs up some trouble.

The homes in the altos (heights):

Communities up at the top really struggle against land erosion, including damage to their homes and foundations. You’ll see slabs of concrete or thin black tarps against the widening dirt ledges. Houses even occasionally fall off the edge of hillsides, and often there are casualties when that occurs.

The families below:

Communities at the base of hills often get flooded by two things: water and waste. Trash pileup in the altos flows down with each first heavy rainfall. Streets, fields, and many houses fill up with water. I’m sure you can imagine the complications that can cause for a family. Transportation, jobs, food, safety, property and possessions, electricity, and ironically water supplies can be negatively impacted. 

There have already been some fatalities within these communities this year due to heavy rain. Please pray that rain brings its blessings while keeping these communities from more harm or loss. Pray for missionaries and ministry programs as they serve and respond to the needs around them. 

 

10. Pray for Craig and Mary DeLilleCraig and Mary will be on HMA (Home Ministry Assignment) from mid-May to mid-August. Please pray that during this short period of time, their HMA will be productive and provide time to rest and opportunities to visit with family, friends, churches, and supporters. Pray for the logistics of their travel, car, and transportation needs, and a schedule that works well for everyone, especially during the summer months. 

It’s hard to be away from hands-on mission work. They are very grateful for missionaries and leaders who serve alongside them. Please pray for their colleagues and all of the mission work that continues in their absence. 

Praise God for their new grandson, Asher Sebastian Hindes. “We are looking forward to some family time and soaking up every minute with him. He is a precious bundle of joy.“

11. Pray for Emily LayneKevin and Emily Laynes’ kids started school at a local Christian school in Recife. The school has a heart for ministry and a strong English program. Emily has had the opportunity to lead the devotion in English on Wednesday mornings. 

She usually focuses on one verse where she walks through it word by word and helps the class define each individual word. Then they talk about the application of the passage.

This has been an opportunity to share her faith with the class, challenge students that are believers, and instill valuable Bible study habits when reading scripture.

Pray for more opportunities to partner and support the ministry and families of the school.

 

12. Pray for Aguazinha. Joel Kearney has been involved in starting a new soccer ministry in an adjacent neighborhood called Aguazinha. Pray for this new ministry as they build relationships with the boys in the neighborhood and seek to use soccer as a form of building discipleship relationships.

Pray for the health of the community, located adjacent to the region’s largest landfill.

April 2022 Prayer Focus

April 1, 2022 |

Fear > Love

Love Is Greater Than Fear

A missionary passing through South America Mission’s home office recently shared this verse, one that had been an encouragement as he and his family are going through transition: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18

I have been dwelling on the phrase “perfect love casts out fear” as we head toward Easter. It is a truth my heart needs to hear. I am not going through any significant transitions, but I am tempted to fear when I face the various uncertainties in my relationships and responsibilities. When I look out at the greater world and see the brokenness that brings so much suffering, it can be hard to experience the truth of the verse.

This verse is grounded in the cross. In his perfect love, Jesus took the punishment I deserved so that I might live reconciled to God, full of hope. If he has taken care of this greatest need of mine and removed the fear of punishment, I do not need to fear that he will take care of all of my smaller needs. Moreover, the cross reminds me that God cares for this broken and suffering world by taking on the ultimate suffering for us.

In John 12:47 Jesus says that he did not come to judge the world but to save the world. I need to remember this when I look at the world around me and fear begins to rise up. He came to show us the way. As I stay centered in God’s word, I pray that I can share that hope and perfect love with others.

 

1. Pray for Miguel Laich in Pucallpa, Peru. Miguel Laich is the administrative assistant for the Peru field. He has worked for SAM Peru for 1 1/2 years. Among other tasks, Miguel helps process all of the paperwork for the accountant which includes payroll, legal processes for mission properties, and inscriptions in public records. The Peru field is grateful for his attention to detail and hard work. He is a man of deep faith, and serves in his local church in Pucallpa, Peru.

2. Pray for Torre Fuerte in eastern Bolivia. Praise God that the paperwork for the purchase of land for the Torre Fuerte Indigenous Discipleship Center is complete. An initiative of FRALIC (Indigenous Christian Leaders Fraternity), the center provides culturally relevant training to equip indigenous leaders. Now that the land is purchased, they can begin to build facilities to support this vision. Pray for Cesar and Mirtha Surubi, leaders of this ministry. Pray that God would use Torre Fuerte to reach the 30+ indigenous communities of Bolivia.

Cesar & Mirtha Torre Fuerte Cesar

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Pray for Kat Guild in Barranquilla, Colombia. God has opened doors for Kat to participate in an after-school program through  her church, First Presbyterian Church of Barranquilla, Colombia. The program “Creciendo con Jesus” (Growing with Jesus) serves kids in a lower-income neighborhood called Santa María, primarily made up of Venezuelan migrants, and many of the kids grow up in tough situations that compromise their ability to experience a healthy and secure childhood. The goal of the program is to provide a safe environment for the kids after school while also connecting them with a church family in the city. Please pray for the leaders in this community and ask that the Lord would bring more Godly adult examples and advocates into the lives of the kids in Santa María.

4. Pray for Ricardo and Emiliana in Brazil. Ricardo and Emiliana are graduates of Ami in Brazil. They have been living and ministering in their home village. Ricardo has been chosen to be the next chief of his people, a position of great respect and honor. He will be able to make a great difference in his community and impact the lives of his people by leading them by example to walk with God. Their village only has the books of Ruth and Jonah in their own language. Ricardo and Emiliana spent three years at Ami and have 74 stories memorized from the Old and New Testaments. Emiliana does a lot of ministry to young children in the village. Please pray for Ricardo and Emiliana as they serve their village. Pray for Ricardo to have wisdom to lead well and to give him peace when he is faced with difficult decisions. 

5. Pray for Mercy Ministries in Lima, Peru. Iglesia de la Ciudad in Lima, Peru has been developing partnerships with mercy ministries in the city including Brazos Abiertos and MISIUR. A member of the church, Soleil, will be taking over as coordinator, organizing projects and collaborating with these other gospel-centered ministries. Soleil has been an active member of the church with a servant’s heart. Pray for Soleil as she begins this new position and for the fruit of this ministry.

 

6. Pray for SAMAir Bolivia. SAMAIR Bolivia is planning another trip in May to the northern region of Bolivia called the Beni to help local believers bring the gospel to the remote people of the region via boat. Pray for Micah Bittner and Greg Dahl as they prepare and coordinate the details for this trip. 

7. Pray for the Hayletts in Armenia, Colombia. Chris and Cristi Haylett lead a youth discipleship group on Friday evenings with their church, Iglesia Nueva Esperanza. They are encouraged to see many youths coming each week. Pray that the youth stay engaged in Bible study and learn how to live a life dedicated to God.

 

8. Pray for the Laynes in Recife, Brazil. Education for missionary kids (MKs) looks different for every family depending on the family and where they live. Homeschooling, boarding school, English-speaking schools, and local-language schools are some of the options for missionaries. The Layne kids in Recife, Brazil are attending a local Christian Brazilian school. The realities of moving to a new country and transitioning into a new school, especially in a second language, can be challenging for both kids and parents. Pray for Kevin and Emily as they navigate the challenges of learning a new culture, serving in their ministries, and parenting throughout this transition. Please pray for wisdom as their kids navigate the good and hard of school–classwork, teachers, making friends, and bullying. Pray for their kids as school is all in Portuguese and for the Laynes to be a blessing to the school community.

9. Pray for the Senior Citizen Ministry in Pucallpa, Peru. Covid restrictions were particularly hard on the elderly in Pucallpa, Peru. Ministerio Impacto (a ministry of Iglesia Divino Redentor) has been reaching out to this isolated community in the city. Partnering with SAM Academy students in December, they hosted a special Christmas program for the “abuelitos” with games, songs, and a traditional chocolatada. In February, Ministerio Impacto, including two SAM Academy high school students, hosted a VBS for the same senior citizen group. Vacation Bible School isn’t just for kids! Pray for the senior citizen ministry of Ministerio Impacto.

 

10. Pray for the Wayuu People in Colombia. The Wayuu live in La Guajira, a desert region in the northeast of Colombia. Pray for the flourishing of the Wayuu and that God will use the Wayuu church to bring glory to His name. To learn more about the Wayuu and how SAM missionaries are serving them, check out the Wajaro Foundation on social media.

March 2022 Prayer Focus

March 2, 2022 |

Lent

Stay With Jesus

In the chaos of today, in the midst of the pandemic, in the sufferings of war, the season of Lent begins – the 40 day period leading up to Easter. I want to prepare for the coming, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I want to take the journey to hope; but some days, I am struggling. This Ash Wednesday Devotional by Alicia Britt Chole captured my heart and challenged me to stay with Jesus. I hope it does the same for you. 

WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE ALL BEGINNING? A SOJOURN.
Yes, I too like the word. And its meaning is, well, meaningful. A sojourn is a temporary stay. 

HERE, BETWEEN THE FULL MANGER AND THE EMPTY TOMB, WE WILL STAY WITH JESUS AS HE JOURNEYS CROSS-WARD…

and hear Him weep over stubborn hearts and turn over temple tables. (Luke 19:41, Luke 19:45-46)
and see the crowds shout “Hosanna!” and “Crucify him!” (Luke 19:37-38, Luke 23:21)
and witness the disciples pledge sincere faithfulness and deliver fear-filled abandonment. (Matthew 26:35, Matthew 26:56)

DURING LENT, WE WILL STAY WITH JESUS AND REMEMBER…

that we are the stubborn hearts
and the temple tables.
We are the fickle crowds
and the fearful disciples.
And He is our Savior.

SO WE WILL STAY WITH JESUS

and feel His grief when He calls Judas, “friend.” (Matthew 26:50)
and believe His voice when He tells Peter, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32)
and love His mercy when He cries, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

WE WILL STAY WITH JESUS THESE FORTY DAYS OF LENT

to hear,
to see,
to witness,
to feel,
to believe,
to love.
TO REMEMBER.

And on that morning, when the silent tomb gives way to an earth-shaking shout, and together we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, our hope is that these forty days prepare us to continue to stay with Jesus…until we see Him face to face.

“WHAT A DAY, GLORIOUS DAY, THAT WILL BE”


1. Pray for Ciudad Corazón in Bogotá, Colombia.
The house church movement, Ciudad Corazón, in Bogotá launched its High Season for 2022 (a nine-month season of intense rhythms of studying and gathering) with the first five Sundays all together for groundwork on the Gospel of John.  This groundwork provides a toolbox for the house churches to meet the rest of the year and study this amazing gospel narrative in deep ways. Please pray for the words of Jesus to take a foothold in the lives of the church community and transform them in unimagined ways.

2. Pray for Marshall and Becca Kitron in Pucallpa Peru. Marshall teaches high school students at SAM academy. He teaches Bible, history, and PE. This year’s Bible class is Doctrines, and the history class is US History. Marshall also has a heart for discipleship. Often missionary kids are faced with the world in a different way when they return to their home countries for college. Please pray for him as he serves these students as a teacher and also a mentor. Please pray for the students that as they grow, they grow most in their faith in the Lord.

 

3. Pray for Dana Wilson and Proclama in Bolivia. Proclama exists to mobilize local Bolivian churches for world missions. This ministry informs, equips, and accompanies local churches in order that they may become actively and strategically involved in evangelizing the least reached peoples around the world. Proclama also orients, trains, and accompanies Bolivian missionary candidates in their journey to serve the Lord cross-culturally. 

Pray for Dana and local leaders as they continue to expand this ministry. They desire to have a viable business model that could serve as a training ground and/or as a model for missionary candidates going to creative access countries. They are seeking ways to make Proclama self-sustainable and less dependent on foreign donations. They are also trying to think outside the box about how to register Proclama in Bolivia.  Pray for wisdom and guidance from the Lord.  

4. Pray for the Therefore Alliance LatAm Leaders Gathering. Ministry leaders from SAM, TEAM, and Crossworld will gather March 13-17 in Medellin, Colombia to discuss needs and opportunities for Latin America as the world emerges from the pandemic. Pray for their time together as they pursue new harvest fields and look to be and work better together for the Kingdom.  

5. Pray for Henrique Terena in Brazil. Henrique is the director of CONPLEI, the Council of Indigenous Evangelical Pastors and Leaders in Brazil.  He and his wife Corina are looking forward to a full year of traveling for conferences, teaching, and fellowship. Please pray for good health for their family while they travel. 

They will be participating in the CONPLEI Youth conference on March 17-20 in Boa Vista, Roraima State.  Pray for the youth of the indigenous church to experience deep fellowship with God and each other. 

Henrique Terena

 

6. Pray for Comunidad Viva Youth in Bogotá, Colombia. Over the next 22 weeks, the Comunidad Viva team (including SAM missionaries Jorge and Ginny Enciso) will be investing in the lives of young people who have grown up as orphans in institutions and are about to exit.  Viva Youth’s mission is to “jumpstart young people’s life projects by plugging them into faith-based communities where sonship with God is restored and kingdom connections are strengthened.” Please pray for the Comunidad Viva team and youth.

7. Pray for Pablo Scetti and La Casa Azul in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Pastor Pablo Scetti leads a children’s ministry called La Casa Azul (The Blue House) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Using puppets, La Casa Azul engages children and teaches them gospel truths. The AIEO, a local church association, has also asked Pastor Pablo to form a children’s ministry committee. Pray that this committee and this ministry will reach children with God’s Word. Pray for Pablo, SAM missionary Jeff HAuse, and other local church members who serve with La Casa Azul and in children’s ministry that they would be rooted in God’s love and truth.

 

8. Pray for the Peru Field Conference. The Peru field missionaries will gather together March 21-25 for worship, teaching, and fellowship.  Pray that God would deepen their collective identity as an abiding, loving, redemptive, suffering, and growing community to the praise of His glory.

9. Pray for the Ami Training Center in Brazil. Classes for the new year begin this March.  Pray for the multicultural staff (pictured) as they teach, disciple, and serve the students. The students are multicultural as well, coming from different indigenous tribes.  Pray for grace, unity, and love to cover this school year to the praise and glory of God. 

10. Pray for the outreach of Iglesia Biblica y Verdad in Lima, Peru. The church has begun an outreach to children and their families in Luces de Villa Maria, a district on the outskirts of the city. The children have been learning about the Attributes of God, and the mothers have been studying the Gospel of Mark.  Pray that this ministry would bear much fruit in the lives of these children and their families as well as in the lives of the church members as they serve together. SAM missionaries Larry and Bonnie Secrest serve and minister with this church.

25IBGVOutreach

 

11. Pray for the river ministry in the Beni, Bolivia. SAMAIR and a Bolivian pastor, Enoel, recently helped to repair and restock a boat in the small community of La Soga.  This boat will be used by a local pastor-missionary to evangelize and establish churches along the river in the Beni, a logistically hard area to reach in Bolivia. 

February 2022 Prayer Focus

February 2, 2022 |

Love One Another

Commanded to Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35 (NIV)

Command. The word caught my attention immediately. Command seems to be such a strong and maybe controversial word these days. Let’s be honest, most of us do not like being told what to do. And a command to love is not easy to obey. 

Is that why Jesus commanded his disciples and us to love? Because he knew that it wouldn’t always be easy for us to love one another or convenient or comfortable or even the desire of our heart? And some days, we just wouldn’t feel like loving someone? I love how Jesus doesn’t command us and then leave us to figure out how and why.

By offering a command here, Jesus moves the focus from the feeling of love to the decision to love. Jesus knew that we would not always feel like it, so he commanded it. Helping us to understand that love is truly a decision, not an emotion.

Jesus tells us how to love others…“as I have loved you.” His love is sacrificial, unselfish. It has no limitations, no boundaries. In his love for us, Jesus was willing to die for us. It is only by knowing him and following him that we discover the power to love sacrificially too.

Jesus says that when we love as he has loved, we become a powerful attraction for people who do not know Jesus. By this everyone will know that we are his disciples, “if [we] love one another.” They will know we are truly children of God.

Lord Jesus, may our love for others attract them to you. May our SAM missionaries, ministries, partner organizations, and churches be a loving community to those who seek you. May we all be faithful models of your love. Amen

 

1. Pray for Ally Lee in Arequipa, Peru. What started as an experiment this past fall when a stranger asked Ally if she would teach her children English turned into “English en el Parque,” an outdoor classroom with 12 neighborhood children. Ally’s assistant was a TEAM missionary kid, and they held class from August through November. They will start English classes again this month. Pray for their relationships with the kids and their families. Pray that God would give them opportunities to share His love with them.

Ally Lee

 

2. Pray for Brad Hopper. Brad has joined the SAM Home Office team as Director of Development. His focus is to cultivate and develop resources for SAM so that our Kingdom-building ministries continue to grow year after year. But this is not Brad’s first time serving with us. His first cross-cultural mission experience, at age 20, was with SAM on a summer team. We are in awe at the providence of God in bringing Brad and his wife, Jennie, back into our community.

3. Pray for SAMAIR Bolivia. SAMAIR had the privilege to fly two Bolivian pastors and two American pastors with Catalyst Ministries to the small northern town of San Joaquin for theological training with the local pastors there. Pray that the training bears much fruit in the hearts and lives of the pastors and their churches. Also, pray that the community will hear and receive the gospel!

4. Pray for Joel Kearney in Brazil. Joel has a heart for discipleship and recently experienced the joy of baptizing Del, a young man whom he had discipled. Praise God for Del’s life! Joel has been supporting the ministry of JOCUM Eugênio. Located in the interior of Brazil, this ministry exists to share the hope of Christ, disciple and care for youth and their families, and foster disciples who make God known in surrounding villages. Pray for Del and the other youth who are seeking to follow Christ.

 

5. Pray for Bill and Joy Carrera in Pucallpa, Peru.  Joy serves with SAMAIR Peru as flight coordinator, pilot, and mechanic. Bill serves at SAM Academy as the principal and high school math teacher. Vaccine mandates by the Peruvian government pose challenges to their usual ministry and work environments. Pray for Godly wisdom for Joy and Bill in their leadership roles as they adjust to reduced aviation and teaching staff. 

6. Pray for Jake and Lauren Jones in Bogota, Colombia. Jake and Lauren lead the Wajaro Foundation. Wajaro’s vision is to accompany communities most affected by Colombia’s historic armed conflict in their pursuit of peace, justice, reconciliation, and collective well-being. Please pray for Jake and Lauren as they seek to abide in Christ and participate in His work of reconciliation.

7. Pray for the Indigenous Women’s conference in eastern Bolivia. The AMEI Women’s Conference has been postponed twice in the past four months due to Covid protocols and sickness. Pray for the conference organizers, led by Mirtha Surubi, that God will give wisdom on how and when to get this amazing group of indigenous leaders, women, and sisterhood of believers together for encouragement and sustenance through the Word and fellowship with each other. 

8. Pray for Mike and Kelli Anderson in Brazil. Mike and Kelli serve at the Ammi Training Center, teaching and discipling students. Please pray for them as parents as they homeschool their kids. While homeschooling is going well, Mike and Kelli are increasingly aware of the need for friendships with kids their age. Please pray for wisdom as they look for ways to meet their educational and social needs.

Anderson Homeschooling

 

9. Pray for the SAM Academy in Pucallpa, Peru. Please pray for the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of the staff at SAM Academy as they educate and care for missionary kids. Classes are back to in-person with a variety of educational and ministry opportunities for the students. Pray that the teachers and staff would find hope in and deep connection with Christ and His Word.  

10. Pray for Frank and Luz Zajicek in Gaira, Colombia. Frank and Luz live and serve in Gaira, a community outside the city of Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast. They have a deep love and passion for the people of Colombia. They hope to see families transformed by the gospel. Pray for their ministry with youth and families through Bible studies and the local church.

11. Pray for Mike and Marina Shank in Guatemala. Mike and Marina recently helped with a Vacation Bible School at a small church plant in the town of San Pablo La Laguna. The culture is very different in San Pablo and most people’s (including the kids’) first language is an indigenous Mayan language called Tz’utujil, rather than Spanish. Ministry in this town has been challenging, and the church is mostly comprised of women. Pray for this small church in San Pablo – that God would encourage the leaders and raise up both men and women in the church.

Shanks VBS

 

 

January 2022 Prayer Focus

January 3, 2022 |

January 2022 Prayer Focus

Redeemed Lives | Beautiful Churches | Transformed Communities

Since joining the SAM family, I have seen God using our vision to open my eyes and invite me into a richer understanding of the gospel.  

For the past two years, I served as a missionary overseas with a different organization. This organization was structured more as individuals sending individuals, without a huge emphasis on the church. When I returned to the states and was commissioned as a SAM missionary, I became heavily involved in my church and began studying the book of Acts to gain a deeper understanding of the original church and how God called us to be in community.

Acts 1- the vision and mission of the early church

     v. 3b He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

     v. 6 “So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

     v. 7-8 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or the dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

——————–

God has significantly shaped my understanding of what it means to live redeemed. Before, my perspective was more salvation-focused; however, after reflecting on these verses and through my involvement with SAM and my church, God has shown me that to live redeemed is to embody the kingdom of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. In order to be united as the church and further the kingdom of God, we must first allow the kingdom of God to rule in our own hearts.

I think a beautiful church is one that embraces its brokenness and humanity while recognizing that it is only through Jesus that we can experience unity and oneness of the Spirit.

I have been so blessed to come alongside the ministries of my home church and experience their investment in me as I prepare to serve overseas. However, it has not been without trials. 

My church has been through a lot this year. We have lost almost half of our members over the COVID season, resulting in my mission’s director being let go due to underfunding. This had a heavy effect on me since our director was personally mentoring me in my preparation to serve in Brazil. I wrestled with questioning why so many people were walking away from the church, and even experienced people walking away from my community group. However, through these trials, I experienced a deepening commitment to the church. God continues to remind me that the church is his bride, and worth fighting for. There is beauty in people uniting despite imperfections, reminding each other of our perfect God.

How does the church transform communities?

Last August, I moved into a house that is a partnership between my church and a nonprofit they began called Cultivate. Cultivate’s mission is to engage in community development in my neighborhood through fostering local leadership. Through being a part of this work in my neighborhood, I have seen God deepen and enrich my understanding of the church’s role in community transformation. I see my community group praying with neighbors, planting community gardens, serving in programs for youth, helping the elderly and disabled repair their homes, and embodying the Kingdom of God in the pursuit to bring redemption and restoration to the area. 

As we step into 2022, my prayer is to continue to press into the church and allow the gospel to move us toward transforming and redeeming communities- the kingdom of God here and now.

 

1. Pray for Women’s Ministry.  Pray for the women at a church in western Brazil: that they would be drawn to Christ, growing in faith and discipleship.  Pray for the strengthening of their marriages and for several women whose husbands are not believers, that they will be strengthened to live with a gentle and quiet spirit.

 

2. Pray for the Misak community and the Wájaro Foundation.  The Kansuy Women’s Cooperative from the Misak community is able to bring their artisan goods to market thanks to the sustainable projects for wool production that Wájaro supports.  These women have the resources to create and sell woven bags to support their families which brings dignity and recognition to their people group.

3. Pray for Sam Fiala. Sam starts language school this month in Costa Rica.  He will study for a year as a step towards joining the SAMAIR team in Peru.  Please pray that Sam becomes fluent in Spanish over the next year as he immerses himself in the Latin culture. 

4. Pray for the Araona tribe. SAMAIR had the privilege of flying missionaries and radio transmitter equipment to the remote Araona tribe. Pray that many in this tribe would hear the Good News and believe. 

   

 

5. Pray for Taboni Surui. Taboni teaches the Word of God in the Surui churches. Praise God that he and his wife were able to buy a new motorcycle thanks to donors, enabling them to continue teaching and evangelizing throughout the Surui.

6. Pray for Jorge and Ginny Enciso and the staff at Comunidad Viva. Working with at-risk youth in Bogota is a rewarding ministry but also emotionally taxing.  Please pray for spiritual, emotional, and physical refreshment for the staff, that they will be filled with the love of Christ so they can care and advocate for these young adults.

7. Pray for Misión TEC and Kyle and Cristina Thomas. The mission statement of Misión TEC is “forming lives for eternity through Biblical teaching and life training.” Pray for the Thomases as they partner with local pastors and leaders to accomplish God’s work in Pucallpa and the surrounding areas by hosting churches, retreats, teaching, and training at the TEC property.

8. Pray for Dalmiro Ortiz. Dalmiro continues to train, mentor, and equip pastors in Bolivia.  Please pray for Dalmiro to persevere in this ministry, that he would abide in Christ and lead others to do the same. 

9. Pray for the Brazil Field Conference.  From January 31-February 4, the SAM missionaries will gather for teaching and fellowship.  Pray for God to encourage and grow this team in faith and unity.  Ellen Adkins, the new onboarding manager at the home office, will be attending the conference.  In her role of supporting the mobilization of new missionaries, pray that she gains a richer understanding of God’s work in Brazil.

10. Pray for Mobilization.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38. Pray that in 2022 God brings new missionaries to serve with us in South America.

11. Pray for Church Outreach in Arequipa.  The new church plant IBC Bustamante in Arequipa has started outreaches to two different communities on the outskirts of the city.  Please pray that many will respond to the Gospel through teaching, friendship, and kids’ programs. Pray for missionaries Seth and Jessica Malec and Ally Lee as they partner with the church.

 

12. Pray for the Bolivian Evangelical University. The university in Santa Cruz is over 40 years old and recently remodeled the chapel center among other renovations and improvements. Students can study a wide variety of majors including medicine, agriculture, theology, and communication. Pray that this school would bring God glory with its focus on Biblical truth and values.  SAM missionary Jeff HAuse is on the board of this institution.

 

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