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.
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.