Creating Space: Casa Wájaro Update

March 23, 2023 |

Casa Wajaro Keys Jan2023

Bogotá, Colombia – In the previous Casa Wájaro Creating Space blog post, we mentioned that part of Wájaro’s mission is to create space for Indigenous voices at the table… any table to which we have access. From its inception, the dream for Casa Wájaro has been to do just that. To create space in the heart of Colombia’s capital for our Indigenous sisters and brothers to have a place of their own when they are away from home. Casa Wájaro is a space for those who want to see the Indigenous church grow. To see Indigenous communities flourish. And to equip Indigenous leaders who are God-breathed agents of change in their communities and throughout Colombia.

More than just a new and bigger office for our team, we dream of equipping Casa Wájaro with dorms, office space, a full kitchen, artisan shop, and plenty of space for collaborating, working, resting comfortably, and building community together. Many of the Christian Indigenous leaders that we work with fill many roles. They are pastors, artisans, advocates, missionaries, translators, legal representatives, directors, teachers, human rights activists, environmentalists, students, mothers, fathers, friends. They often travel like the radical disciples we’re called to be in Luke 9, trusting that God will provide along the way. Casa Wájaro is the “welcoming place, where people can stay until they leave the town.” 

Like many God-sized dreams, the process took far longer than we anticipated. Never in a million years did we think that it would take so uncomfortably long to find the right house after God miraculously provided the money. We were trudging through ever-changing housing regulations, red tape, a pandemic, and countless numbers of professionals telling us contradictory stories about how to do things the right way. We often felt like we were lost or the house was simply hidden from plain sight. Like feeling our way through a dark room– we held on to the promise that God could see what we could not, so we trusted that there was light even when we felt totally blind.

Diligently, we saw every possibility through to the end, sometimes going back to houses six, seven, and eight times with different professionals. Anxiously, we often felt that we were probably wasting our precious time. Though frustrating and disappointing, it was not wasted. His hand was guiding us, His Spirit was teaching… speaking to us along the way. “The road is difficult, but the gift is good.” “Walk. Don’t run.” “Wait on Me.” “I will be faithful to do what I have started.” “Keep surrendering.” 

He led us. He provided. We have the keys to the house he could see all along. We closed on January 27. When we say that Casa Wájaro will offer a seat at the table for Indigenous voices, we mean it very literally. The next day, four of the main leaders of RELIEC (Evangelical Indigenous Leaders of Colombia), who happened to be in Bogotá at the time, came to see the house and their new office! The timing was perfect. Together, we dedicated the house to the Lord and asked for God to continue providing the resources that are necessary for us to complete the vision!

Casa Wájaro

Casa Wajaro

Keys in hand, the Wájaro team quickly got to work: changing locks, installing security systems, replacing broken windows, planning a volunteer work day, and prepping the house for workers and moving in. On February 25, we hosted a volunteer work day, which brought together a beautifully diverse group of enthusiastic workers! Folks from churches, partner organizations, and different communities worked and celebrated with us. Several times I fought back tears as the doorbell rang. “This is really happening! We’re finally opening the door to Casa Wájaro! 

RELIEC purchased flights for two of our dear friends, Alba Jeny and Eeniith (from the Misak and Nasa communities respectively), to work with us that day. They spent ten hours cleaning the kitchen alone. That gives you some idea of the kind of work this house needs. While pausing for lunch, Jeny and Eeniith shared their dreams for Casa Wájaro. They prayed for the space in Namtrik and Nasa Yuwe. In moments like these, it is clear that we are in this together. It was a gift for our Bogotá community to witness the vision of Wájaro and the purpose of Casa Wájaro. We are so thankful for what God is doing and how he’s invited us to participate. We feel so honored to partake in building the kingdom with Indigenous communities. Working, praying, and praising God together in four languages that day is only the beginning… He’s got so much more in store for us. 

The Wájaro team is loving our new office space, working hard with the communities and the projects we have under-way. We’re also painting, cleaning, and improving the house as we have the time, as well as doing our best to search for funding in order to remodel and supply Casa Wájaro with the furniture, office supplies, bedding, kitchen supplies, etc. that it needs. When the dream began, we set out with a carefully calculated financial goal (cost of a property, cost to remodel/supply it, including a normal rate of inflation). We could not foresee the extreme inflation and exponential housing costs that have been felt around the world. Praise God we still had enough to make the purchase, but we’re humbled to be functioning and faithful with a bare-bones bank account. We trust that just like God provided miraculously in 2021 to get us to our matching grant goal, he will see us through to the final touch of Casa Wájaro. Pray with us that we will also have the resources to fund new projects in Indigenous communities this year!   

Thank you for walking with us, for praying, and for giving sacrificially to this project. We are so grateful. Please continue praying for us to steward this gift wisely and that God will provide. We invite you to follow The Wájaro Foundation on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about Casa Wájaro, the communities we work with, and how you can get involved. Wájaro means “Let’s go together” in Eduria, a small Indigenous language, and we mean it. You’re invited!

Set the table with us and get hungry for heaven.


Lauren Jones is co-founder of The Wájaro Foundation with her husband, Jake. They have served as SAM missionaries since 2017. She is also a photographer, women’s health educator, outdoors expert, social worker, and mother of four. Lauren is passionate about living in authentic community with others and caring for populations that mainstream society tends to overlook.

March 2023 Prayer Focus

March 1, 2023 |

March 2023 Prayer Focus

First of All, Pray

The phrase, “First of All, Pray!”, inspired by 1 Timothy 2:1, is the name of our prayer ministry. It reflects the prominence of prayer within our community. It’s been a mark of our Mission for more than 100 years. The mark remains. First of all, pray—deliberately, intentionally, and in faith, with praise and thanksgiving.

As we serve On Mission Together, please join us in praying for these requests in March 2023:

1. Pray for Lima Initiative. Lima Initiative and City to City Latin America hosted a “city lab” in February for church leaders from Lima, Peru. The theme was “How to Communicate the Gospel to a Post-Modern and Secular Culture” led by Victor Cruz. This was a time for leaders to exchange ideas and reflect on ways to share the hope of the gospel. Pray for the flourishing of the gospel in Lima.

2. Pray for Recife Music Ministry. Master’s Touch, a music school ministry in Recife, Brazil, is back in session. They have started a new year and new classes with lots of new students! The music school trains local worship leaders as well as offers classes to kids in the community. Please pray for the teachers and students to grow in skill and ability, the love of music, and as individuals to the praise of God’s glory.

3. Praise for SAMAIR Peru’s new airplane. We have watched in wonder as God provided SAMAIR Peru with a replacement for their floatplane, which was destroyed in a storm on November 8, 2020.  SAMAIR Peru is celebrating one year with the new plane (N9691Z). Watch this video and give praise to God for His provision. Pray for the future fruit of SAMAIR Peru and the ministries they support.

4. Pray for Millers in language school. Daniel and Rebecca are finishing up their last term at language school. In June, they will join the ministry team in Bolivia. Language school is more than learning grammar but includes public speaking classes, learning to share the gospel and testimonies, and skills to communicate with different ages. Pray that the Millers finish this term well and that God will use this preparation to bear fruit in their relationships and ministry in Bolivia.

5. Pray for Casa Wájaro. After years of work, campaigns, and a lot of searching, the Wájaro Foundation bought a house in February to serve as “Casa Wájaro.” After some remodeling, Casa Wájaro will support the indigenous churches and communities of Colombia. Aside from offices for the Foundation, the house will be a place for hospitality, an Airbnb, a cafe, and an artisan shop. Pray for the remodeling work to be done quickly so this space can support the indigenous communities’ goals of peace, justice, and collective well-being.

6. Pray for IBC Bustamante. Happy belated anniversary IBC Bustamante in Peru! In January, Iglesia Biblica Cristiana Bustamante celebrated two years of faithfulness and care of God. Even in the pandemic with severe lockdowns in Peru, this Body of Christ found a way to bloom, grow, and care for each other and the community. Seth and Jessica Malec, serving with TEAM, and Ally Lee, serving with SAM, are a part of the church family. Please pray for the flourishing of this young church and the provision of a Peruvian pastor to shepherd the congregation.

7. Pray for Tracey Culley and Recife youth. In Recife, Brazil a youth Bible study reconnected with a game night to begin the new year. Tracey is leading this group with a desire to point the youth to Jesus and see them mature in their walks with God. Pray that God would help her as she is transitioning to leading the study on her own. Pray that God would use her to disciple and raise up some of the youth to lead alongside her. Also, pray that God would bring youth from the neighborhood to be consistently involved.

8. Pray for Colombian pastors. Pray for these Colombian pastors, their families, and their churches: Julián, José, Ronald, Arturo, Wilson, Andres, Julio, Fredy, and Wilmer. These men meet regularly for study, prayer, mutual encouragement, and spiritual growth. They represent churches in Santa Marta, Ciénaga, Cartagena, Medellín, and Bucaramanga. Pray for their churches to reach their communities with the good news of Jesus.

9. Pray for Chris and Cristi Haylett. Chris and Cristi serve with Nueva Esperanza (New Hope) Church in Armenia, Colombia. They desire to see the local community transformed by the Gospel. In January, the church participated in Operation Christmas Child (OCC) training. They will give gift boxes to children and invite them to join a discipleship study about Jesus called “La Gran Aventura (The Great Adventure).” Pray for the children who will hear about Jesus through the OCC gift boxes.

10. Pray for IBC Ayacucho. Praise God that the IBC (Iglesia Biblica Cristina) church in Ayacucho, Peru has a new pastor, César Shupingahua and his family from Lima. Rick and Donna Martin (SAM Missionaries) are excited to partner with Pastor César to reach Ayacucho with the love of Christ. The church recently hosted a kids’ program for families in the neighborhood. Pray for unity in this young church and that God would raise up more lay leadership within the body of Christ.

11. Pray for Serina Arias. Serina and her friend, Elayne, hosted a tea for their teen girls’ book club from their church in Medellín, Colombia. It was the first time the group could get together in person since the pandemic! The teens’ moms also attended and enjoyed fellowship and mutual encouragement. Pray that the Lord would bless the group of girls. Pray that they grow in faith and love for one another, their families, and their church.

12. Pray for Todd and Erika Carroll. Todd and Erika and their kids relocated and launched a new ministry in João Pessoa on the far eastern tip of Brazil. This northeast area has the second highest concentration of Indigenous people, plus three other minority groups considered unreached and underserved in Brazil: the Quilombolas, the Sertanejos, and the Gypsies. This opportunity for witness builds on their past ministry in this geographic area as well as their more recent work at Ammi Training Center. Pray for open doors as Todd and Erika minister in João Pessoa.

13. Pray for Kat Guild. In Barranquilla, Colombia, Kat hosts friends and acquaintances weekly in her home for “English nights.” This diverse group of 20-somethings gathers Wednesday evenings to practice English by discussing different topics around cultures, values, and worldviews. Kat is grateful for the openness of her peers. Please pray that genuine relationships are established within the group. Pray for those who don’t know Jesus. That they would come to see Him a little more clearly through the conversation and the time shared with one another.


February 21, 2023 |


On our recent trip to visit a missionary couple, Craig and Mary, I admired a pyrex dish that contained the breakfast casserole we were about to eat. Mary agreed that it was the perfect size for a meal for the four of us, but there was more; the dish had a story behind it.

Craig and Mary had come to Brazil with their two little girls many years earlier, and they had brought a pyrex dish just like the one I had admired. They used it often, and it was a favorite—just the right size for a meal for the four of them.

The first thing missionaries need to do when they arrive on the field is learn the language. Craig and Mary were diligently studying Portuguese four days a week, and on Fridays helping in a local ministry where their newly learned language skills were put to the test. Their schedule was full and there was little spare time for preparing elaborate meals, so the casserole dish got a lot of use.

Mornings were often stressful as they got themselves ready for class and got the children ready for school. But they persevered, studying and serving, striving to learn this new language and understand this strange-to-them culture.

After living in Brazil for about nine months, they were getting ready on a Friday morning. They had eaten breakfast, gotten the girls ready for school, and were almost ready to leave for the ministry. Mary was finishing getting herself ready when she heard a CRASH from the kitchen. She ran from the bedroom to see her beloved pyrex dish shattered into a million pieces on the tile floor. It had fallen from the dish rack. She cried as she looked at what had been her dish, but they got it cleaned up and kept going.

But as Craig and Mary were going through the garage on their way out, Mary couldn’t hold back the tears. She started sobbing. Craig was at a loss as to how to console her. Finally, she gained enough control of herself to say, “That dish, shattered on the floor—that’s how I feel.”

It’s hard to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. It is perhaps the most difficult thing a missionary has to do. And it does shatter you. Letting go of all those things that made life “normal,” and having to learn a whole new set of rules about what normal means is exhausting—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Brazil 2023 Visit


Mary’s heart was shattered, just like that casserole dish, and Craig and their two little girls wanted to help her feel better. That afternoon, while Mary was with some others from their ministry team, Craig took the girls and went shopping for a replacement for the dish. He found it—but the replacement was only available in a set of three. So instead of one perfect casserole dish, Mary now has three of them.

Mary was disappointed at losing her favorite casserole dish, and at that moment she probably needed a hug more than a lesson. But later she was able to see the lesson in the shattered dish. God shatters us to then remold us into the people he wants us to be, better than before, perfectly formed for the life and ministry he has prepared for us.

Craig and Mary got through language school and have adapted well to their country of service. They have had a thriving ministry there for nearly 20 years. Will you pray for them as they continue to lead and minister? And will you pray for those who are just starting out in their ministries and who are perhaps at the point of feeling shattered?

Craig and Sue Querfeld
Craig and Sue Querfeld empower missionaries in Latin America through their work with South America Mission and TEAM. Craig serves as the International Ministries Director for SAM. Sue serves as the Regional Member Care Coordinator.

SAMAIR Peru: Video Update

February 16, 2023 |

SAMAIR Peru One Year Update

Warm greetings from SAMAIR Peru!

We trust that 2023 is off to a good start for you and your family. We are happy to announce that the new airplane, N9691Z, has just completed one year of mission service here in the jungles of Peru. She has been the main work-horse of our fleet this year and has performed flawlessly.

We are so thankful to all who were a part of this project, either through prayer or financial support. We hope that you will be encouraged by God’s faithfulness when you watch this video update.

Thank you,

Craig Gahagen
Program Manager, SAMAIR Peru



If you want to support SAMAIR Peru’s ministry, please click HERE to give online.

You may also make a check payable to South America Mission and write our account number “74422-SAMAIR Peru” in the memo line and mail it to SAM’s US office: 1021 Maxwell Mill Rd, Suite B, Fort Mill, SC 29708.



February 2023 Prayer Focus

February 1, 2023 |

First of All, Pray

The phrase, “First of All, Pray!”, inspired by 1 Timothy 2:1, is the name of our prayer ministry. It reflects the prominence of prayer within our community. It’s been a mark of our Mission for more than 100 years. The mark remains. First of all, pray—deliberately, intentionally, and in faith, with praise and thanksgiving.

As we serve On Mission Together, please join us in praying for these requests in February 2023:

1. Pray for the Shawi Church. Last month, the Shawi church in Peru hosted its annual training conference for church leaders from the various villages of their tribe. SAMAIR Peru supports this endeavor by flying in some of the participants and trainers, saving some of them several days of travel by land. Over three days two pilots flew 189 passengers making 66 landings! Pray for the ministry of SAMAIR Peru and the vision and growth of the Shawi church.

2. Pray for SAMAIR Bolivia. In order to minister effectively in Bolivia, SAMAIR Bolivia planes are under continual maintenance. Carrying out safe and legal maintenance in Bolivia can often be a challenge due to political unrest in the country. Our Cessna 206 has been going through heavy maintenance for the past year, but praise God we are almost done. Please pray for the successful completion of the overhaul and SAMAIR Bolivia’s ministry.

3. Pray for CCB. Centro de Capacitación Biblica (CCB) is a Bible training institute located in Pucallpa, Peru. It serves 21 different indigenous groups in the Amazon basin with students coming as far as the border with Ecuador and Puerto Maldonado in the south. Its purpose is to train indigenous church leaders in doctrine, Bible, and ministry while allowing the students to be connected to their families, churches, and land. CCB started a new school year in January with a little over 50 students representing 6 different ethnic groups. Pray for director William Hidalgo, staff, and students.

4. Pray for IBC churches in Peru. Pastors and spouses of the IBC (Iglesia Biblica Cristiana) denomination in Peru gathered for a retreat in Lima last month. Unfortunately, due to political unrest, pastors from Arequipa were unable to attend. They enjoyed fellowship and studying Ephesians together. SAM missionaries Rick and Donna Martin who are working with an IBC church in Ayacucho participated and deepened the partnership with their new pastor. Please pray for the churches and pastors of the IBC. 

5. Pray for Julián and Serina Arias. Julián and Serina serve in church training and development in Medellín, Colombia. They recently returned to Verdad y Vida church in the town of Sabaneta to teach another round of Ser Biblica conferences, this time on church membership. They have been serving at this church for a year and have been so blessed to hear church leaders’ testimonies of their continued discipleship and growth in Christ and the Scriptures. 

6. Pray for the African-American Church. Pray for our brothers and sisters in the African-American church as they send missionaries around the world. Pray for their support raising efforts and gospel outreach.

7. Pray for SAM Academy. In December 2022, SAM Academy in Pucallpa, Peru joined with Iglesia Esmirna in the community of Manantay to share Christmas with the youth of their church. The high school students presented the Life of Christ through a musical drama while the middle schoolers shared His Birth through a fun song and dance. The elementary students sang Jesus es Navidad, a song that shows Jesus is the reason for Christmas. After sharing hot chocolate and panetón, the students presented each child with a special gift purchased especially for them. Thanks to a donation from Renovation Church in Rome, GA, every one of the 50 children also received their own Bible. Please pray for the children of Iglesia Esmirna and the students of SAM Academy. 

8. Pray for Retiring Missionaries. David and Rachel Powell and Frank and Luz Zajicek will retire after many years of service with SAM. The Powells served in Colombia and Peru, and the Zajiceks served in Bolivia and Colombia. Praise God for the many years of faithful and fruitful service, and pray for both families as they enter retirement. 

9. Pray for Matthias and Rosemary Drochner. Matthias and Rosemary serve in Lima, Peru. Matthias has a passion for theological education and teaches students at a seminary in Lima and an institute in Pucallpa. Rosemary is a nurse at an international school. They both serve with Iglesia de la Ciudad and host the youth group at their home. 

10. Pray for Dan and Julie Snyder. Dan and Julie served in Brazil for many years but have recently moved stateside. They will assist with international ministries and staff development in SAM’s Home Office (Fort Mill, SC). Their years of experience will be a great asset to these areas. Please pray for the Snyders during this transition.

11. Pray for the Peru Personnel Team. Cristina Thomas, Stephanie Edgar, Sarah Sheets, Amanda McKinney, and Minori Lucas serve on the Peru Personnel team. Pray for wisdom as they desire to better serve our Peru team. Also, pray for the planning and preparation for the Peru Missionary Team Conference for spiritual renewal in March. 

Growing Together in Recife, Brazil

January 30, 2023 |

Recife Redemptive Ministries: Growing Together

20 years of growing together in Recife…and seeing lives transformed!

Partnering with local churches, Recife Redemptive ministries responds to encountered needs in Brazil, demonstrating God’s heart for the impoverished in their communities. We minister in peoples’ lives in ways that let them know that God and His people value them. One of those ways is to alleviate suffering through providing adequate housing, food, and clothing. Additionally, we invest personal time, teach, encourage, and counsel, as a means of aligning lives with God’s priorities and will.  The hope of Recife Redemptive ministries is to see Gospel transformation in the lives of our neighbors.

Read about John who first connected to Recife Redemptive ministries through short-term mission trips. Recently, he played a significant role in helping our ministry provide care and training to local pastors. Leaders from Downline Ministries, based out of Tennessee, traveled to SAM Center in Recife to facilitate a weekend of training and development for local pastors. The weekend focused on the topic of discipleship and challenged these pastors to engage leaders within their church plus seek true growth and transformation in the gospel.

Read about Josenildo (Jose) who we connected with in our first years serving this community. Jose is an example of someone that has grown with the Recife ministry, and a humbling reminder of the intricate ways God weaves together stories and experiences. He was impacted by discipleship and intentional relationships through our ministries and is now giving back through his work at the SAM Center.



with a gift to Recife Redemptive Ministries
Matching campaign ends on Tuesday, January 31

In December 2022, a donor called and surprised us with a matching grant through the end of January 2023. Any new or additional (*) donations given to Recife Redemptive Ministry by January 31 are being matched up to $20,000. We cannot stop praising God!

Would you join us on this mission to raise $20,000 by January 31? The $20,000 raised will then become $40,000…and that means every one of your dollars has double the impact on our ministry.

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