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 January 2023:
1. Pray for the Peru Field. As we begin 2023, pray God’s blessing over the Peru field. Pray for ministries, relationships, partnerships, and planning for the year ahead. Our team includes Mike and Kelli Anderson, David and Stephanie Boogard, Mike and Marcy Brown, Bill and Joy Carrera, Alex Chiang, Julio and Olga Chiang, Ryan and Jenny Dawson, Matthias and Rosemary Drochner, Todd and Stephanie Edgar, Sam Fiala, Craig and Heather Gahagan, Tom and Rita Hough, Ally Lee, John and Minori Lucas, Mike and Nancy Mahon, Seth and Jessica Malec, Rick and Donna Martin, Amanda McKinney, Larry and Bonnie Secrest, Dave and Marilyn Simmons, Jason and Sarah Sheets, Phillip and Brooke Sneed, David and Lisa Speyers, and Kyle and Cristina Thomas.
2. Pray for the Brazil Field. As we begin 2023, pray God’s blessing over the Brazil field. Pray for ministries, relationships, partnerships, and planning for the year ahead. Our team includes Don and Vera Bergson, Todd and Erika Carroll, Tracey Culley, and Craig and Mary DeLille.
3. Pray for the Colombia Field. As we begin 2023, pray God’s blessing over the Colombia field. Pray for ministries, relationships, partnerships, and planning for the year ahead. Our team includes Julian and Serina Arias, Joel and Angel Ballew, Jorge and Ginny Enciso, Kat Guild, Chris and Cristi Haylett, Jake and Lauren Jones, and Frank and Luz Zajicek.
4. Pray for the Bolivia Field. As we begin 2023, pray God’s blessing over the Bolivia field. Pray for ministries, relationships, partnerships, and planning for the year ahead. Our team includes Micah and Haley Bittner, Greg Dahl, Jeff HAuse, Daniel and Rebekah Miller, Daniel and Alejandra Netzlaff, Dalmiro and Laura Ortiz, Eric and Zola Ryan, Mike and Marina Shank, Dave and Katrina Smith, Natalie Suff, Jason and Jenna Weigner, and Dana Wilson-Pinto.
5. Pray for Guatemala. As we begin 2023, pray God’s blessing over SAM’s partnerships in Guatemala. Pray for ministries, relationships, and planning for the year ahead. Our team includes Nilton and Kaylee Solier and TEAM partners Justin and Jenny Burkholder.
6. Pray for Mexico. As we begin 2023, pray God’s blessing over SAM’s partnerships in Mexico. Pray for ministries, relationships, and planning for the year ahead. Our team includes Drew Warrick and TEAM partners Pete and Emily Johnson.
7. Pray for SAM’s Home Office. As we begin 2023, pray God’s blessing over the SAM home office staff. Pray for wisdom, unity, and planning for the year ahead. Our team includes Ellen Adkins, Serina Arias, Katherine Buehler, Stephanie Hardy, Brad and Jennie Hopper, Carolyn Mullen, Bill and Lennie Ogden, Kirk and Emily Ogden, Mark Powers, Craig and Sue Querfeld, Eric and Kymm Schultz, Paige Thompson, Stephanie Tinker, and Leah Wallace.
8. Pray for Ammi Training Center. The Ammi Training Center in Brazil celebrated graduation last month. Please pray for these seven graduates, who represent five different ethnic groups, as they return to minister in their villages.
9. Pray for Bible translation in Bolivia. Daniel and Alejandra Netzlaff are facilitating the translation of the New Testament into the Araona dialect in Bolivia. They are working with several Araona families. Please pray for accuracy as they work toward a table read in March.
10. Pray for Craig and Heather Gahagan. Craig and Heather Gahagan have served many years in Pucallpa, Peru in partnership with SAM and Mission to the World. They have a passion for disciple men and women to follow Christ. They are both leaders in their local church, Mil Palmeras, and Craig is the director of SAMAIR Peru. Pray for the ministry of the Gahagans.
11. Pray for Nilton and Kaylee Solier. Nilton and Kaylee Solier serve kids and teenagers through a tutoring and after-school program in Bethania, a neighborhood of Guatemala City. In the past few months, they have hosted science, art, and music workshops, as well as a trip to a local farm. Please pray for wisdom as they seek to holistically serve this community.
12. Pray for Ammi Training Center. The students at Ammi in Brazil enjoy playing soccer and volleyball, but the court has been in great need of repair. After months of planning, Ammi received donations for the materials from Brazilian supporters, and a church in Cuiaba offered to come and work alongside the students and staff to rebuild the court. Praise God for the partnership with the Brazilian church and supporters. Pray that this new court would be a blessing to the fellowship at Ammi.
Praise and Thanksgiving
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:
Do most of our devotional times consist of asking and receiving? Are we mostly thinking of our wants, and rarely of the benefits we receive? Are we the recipients of His mercies, but rarely praise for what He has done for us? Do we even stop to praise God because He’s God?
Yes, we need to build the habit of saying “thank you” to God in response to all his gifts. Yes, we should also remember to praise God for everything He has done. Above all, we should praise God for who He is. He is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory.
This month, we are trying to focus more on praising God for how He is working in South America and our mission organization. Our praise for God grows out of our love for Him. In all these praises, we are not just showing gratitude and offering thanksgiving, but praising Him because He is faithful, merciful, righteous, and just in all things.
1. Pray for the Netzlaffs. New SAM appointees Daniel and Alejandra Netzlaff participated in a missions conference with Steele Creek Church in Charlotte, NC recently. Praise God for opportunities to share the vision for their ministry in Bolivia with the Araona tribe.
2. Pray for SAM Board Meetings. Praise God for the faithful women and men who serve on the SAM Board of Directors. They are gathering this week to discern God’s vision and direction for the mission. Pray for a fruitful time of celebration, reflection, and planning.
3. Pray for Amanda McKinney. Praise God for the ministry to the Deaf community in Pucallpa, Peru. SAM missionary Amanda McKinney serves alongside Pastor Carlos. Carlos, beloved by his students and church, has been serving the Deaf for many years, teaching and pastoring the community at Refugio. Pray that God would bring someone to work alongside Carlos as he nears retirement.
4. Pray for Serina and Julian Arias. Julian and Serina serve at a church in Caldas, Colombia twice a month. Julián encourages the children in the congregation by giving them a worksheet each Sunday where they can draw what they hear in the sermon. At the end of the service, the children are invited to share their drawings. What a joy to see what they learned and to give them the opportunity to encourage the adults as they all grow from the preaching of God’s Word. Praise God for the gift of children!
5. Pray for Lima Initiative. Lima Initiative, in partnership with City to City Latin America, promotes gospel movements (Ecosystems) that bring social, cultural, and spiritual transformation to the cities of Peru. In the city of Lima, local leaders identified, recruited, and formed the team that will be leading the movement. Praise God for these women and men who have a vision to see churches and local organizations partner together to build the Kingdom of God. Pray for the members of this team: Francis Castañeda, Vincent Cross, Sander Verduijin, Giselle Bellido, Julio Chiang and Olga Chiang.
6. Pray for the Van Oostens in Pucallpa, Peru. We are thankful that Erik and Cristy Van Oosten and their two boys have joined the SAM team in Pucallpa, Peru. Erik serves with SAMAIR providing for our logistics needs. Cristy teaches 1st and 2nd grade at SAM Academy. Pray for their transition and team dynamics.
7. Pray for Drew Warrick. Praise God for Drew’s work at Rancho El Camino (a ministry of TEAM) in Mexico. For the first half of 2022, the area surrounding the ranch was in a drought. Drew and the team prayed for a hurricane with lots of water but minimal wind damage, which was delivered! The dry riverbed behind Rancho El Camino was filled with rushing streams of water. Pete Johnson, the Ranch’s director, commented that he didn’t remember the water ever being that high in his decade there. Drew shared this insight and photo recently: “To me, it gives a whole new meaning to Isaiah’s imagery of God making rivers in the desert.”
8. Pray for SAM Mobilization. Praise God for the missions conference at Moody Bible Institute and Columbia International University. It was a wonderful time to interact with students who are discerning God’s call on their life. We praise God that many students are specifically considering missionary service in South America.
9. Pray for SAM Center Team in Recife, Brazil. Praise God that we have completed initial renovations on the SAM Center in Recife, Brazil. We are currently using the facility for ministry activities such as youth retreats, ministry retreats, and discipleship training. Pray for opportunities to rent the facility to local churches for their activities and to generate income to sustain the Center.
10. Pray for Viva Youth. In Bogota, Colombia many young adults aging out of state foster care institutions encounter the Kingdom of God while attending training provided by the ministry of Viva Youth. Thank God for Aula who is a newly adopted member of God’s family. Praise God for baptisms and the growing family of faith in Colombia.
11. Pray for Kaylee and Nilton Solier. We praise God for Kaylee and Nilton’s work in Bethania, a red zone of Guatemala City. Many children there are considered “social orphans” because of the lack of adult involvement in their lives, and they have few opportunities for the future. The Soliers serve in an after-school program where kids and teens receive tutoring and learn new skills that should create more opportunities for them.
Don and Sue Gahagen founded Jungle Air in Peru, which would eventually be grafted into SAM as SAMAIR. Seeing the need for mission aviation in Bolivia, they started SAMAIR Bolivia in 1973. Here is an article about SAMAIR Bolivia in the 1978 edition of Amazon Valley Indian:
Bill and Harriet Pencille joined SAM as missionaries in 1943. Here is one of their prayer letters about meeting the Guidaigosode, a part of the Ayore tribe.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. And most of us in America celebrate with an abundance of food, family, friends, football, parades, and more.
But what if we paused and thought about this quote:
“Thanksgiving is not a day; it’s a lifestyle.”
Some days, thankfulness comes easily and other days it does not. There are many stories in the Bible of thankfulness, and Paul encourages the church to give thanks in all circumstances. How can we truly develop that level of thankfulness in our daily lives?
We can start expanding our thankfulness by spending time with God each day. Open your Bible and read aloud one of the stories of thankfulness or a favorite passage. Turn on a praise song or hymn and sing along. Pause and look around you. Thank God for His presence in all things…even when you cannot see it.
When we can’t think of anything to be thankful for, we can be thankful for Jesus – for the forgiveness of sins, for a relationship with God, and for the promise of eternal life.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! — Psalm 107:1
1. Pray for Indigenous ministry. Torre Fuerte in eastern Bolivia will be hosting the annual conference for indigenous women. This retreat has been a great space for women from all over eastern/northern Bolivia to come and learn about the Lord and fellowship together. This years’ theme will be ‘God Makes a Difference in Me.’ Please pray for God’s provision of funding, for the women in attendance, for logistics to be worked out for travel and for good weather during the weekend.
2. Pray for Angel Ballew. Angel is playing volleyball with a local club for adult women in the city of Barranquilla. Pray that this club will bless Angel with friendships and that the Lord will use Angel in the lives of these women.
3. Pray for Latidos de Esperanza. Latidos de Esperanza is a pregnancy center in Pucallpa. Pray for wisdom and creativity to move forward with the ministry after the pandemic. Praise that two volunteers were able to host a workshop for teen girls recently, and two teenage moms are being discipled.
4. Pray for SAM Board Meetings. SAM’s Board of Directors will meet November 11-13. Pray for the Lord’s wisdom, guidance and unity as they prayerfully discern God’s vision and direction for the mission.
5. Pray for Wes and Trudy Seng. The Sengs retired from SAM after more than 50 years of ministry in Brazil. Praise God for His faithfulness to Wes and Trudy and for His fruit in their lives and ministry. They will continue to live and minister to the indigenous church in Iranduba, Brazil.
6. Pray for Dana Wilson. Praise God for the marriage of SAM missionary Dana Wilson to Víctor Hugo Pinto. Pray that their marriage will bring glory to God as they love one another and those around them.
7. Pray for Pastor Jorge and Kristina. Jorge and Kristina minister in the Los Quindos neighborhood in Armenia. Pray that God gives them wisdom as they start programs back up after quarantine restrictions. Pray that the Lord would provide funding for Manos de Esperanza, the church foundation that serves the community.
8. Pray for “pup tent outreach” in Lima. Traveling from jungle and mountain provinces and unable to enter the hospital because of Covid restrictions, families are living in tents on the sidewalks while their children are hospitalized or awaiting treatment. Iglesia Biblica Gracia y Verdad is ministering to these families. Pray for the church as they offer food, prayer, and the hope that is found in the gospel.
9. Pray for Hope Church in Gaira. The church opened up for regular services and youth group meetings in June. With a new leadership group, the church is committed to Bible study, prayer, and community outreach. Please pray for God’s wisdom and guidance for the new leaders and youth as they serve the church and reach their community.
10. Pray for missionaries far from home on Thanksgiving. Living cross-culturally can be hard during the holidays. Pray for peace and encouragement for our missionaries as they celebrate Thanksgiving far from their home culture and family.
11. Pray for appointee families to Bolivia. The Millers, the Ryans, and the Smiths are preparing to serve in Bolivia. Pray that God will provide the needed financial and prayer support through their churches, family, and friends. Pray that God gives an abundance of faith, patience, and joy during this time.
12. Pray for SAM Center. Praise God that the documents for purchase of the SAM Center have been finalized. Located in Igarassu, SAM Center will focus on training intensives and special events for gospel-centered outreach in the northeastern region of Brazil, as well as soul care through retreats and counseling services.
My heart craves peace. For our world. For our country. For our churches. For our neighbors. For our missionaries. To receive the peace that I crave, I need to look to Jesus for it. I need to keep on seeking him for it.
In my moments of unrest, I turn to John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus came with God’s peace, a peace under all circumstances. His peace doesn’t make all my problems or the world’s conflicts fade away. But Jesus has met the world in battle and conquered it. In him, I can find peace…a peace that will quiet my heart. I cannot forget that.
Peace is one of the greatest gifts Christ offers his followers…
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
…a gift of the Holy Spirit…
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
This month, we pray Jesus’ peace over our missionaries, ministries, partners, and Latin America along with their prayer requests.
1. Pray for Erika Carroll in Brazil. Pray for Erika as she serves as the nurse at the Ammi Training Center. Besides being on call at all hours of the day, she teaches in the mornings and runs a clinic in the afternoon for the students. She is also overseeing Covid protocol at Ammi. Please pray for God’s protection over the students and staff.
2. Pray for Mike and Marina Shank. Pray for the Shanks’ six-month ministry internship at Iglesia Reforma in Guatemala with other future church planters before moving to Bolivia. Please pray that the Lord leads them to the people and places that He wants them to invest in while there. Pray for growth in their skills for ministry while caring for their son.
3. Pray for Brazos Abiertos in Lima, Peru. Brazos Abiertos (Open Arms) is devoted to the restoration of families and is located in one of the poorer areas of Lima. This ministry has a passion to restore God’s vision for families. Pray for the partnership of Brazos Abiertos and Iglesia de la Ciudad – La Molina, that the church teams share willing hands and compassionate hearts to love and serve in the name of Christ.
4. Pray for Pastor Jose in Colombia. Jose is a gifted leader who is leading a number of church leadership networks geared toward seeing gospel transformation of the cities in Colombia. Pray that God allows Jose’s labor to produce fruit as he works to unite churches, pastors, and leaders. Pray for him as a father as he leads his three children in the ways of God.
5. Pray for the Layne family in Recife, Brazil. Pray for new missionaries Kevin and Emily as they adjust to life and ministry. Pray for God’s favor as they learn Portuguese, join the ministry team, and care for their three children.
6. Pray for Micah Bittner in Bolivia. Pray for Micah as he restores and upgrades aircraft equipment that has not been used during COVID lockdown. SAMAIR Bolivia is waiting on parts for the aircrafts. Pray that the parts arrive quickly so this ministry can support the advance of the gospel in the unreached areas of Bolivia.
7. Pray for Evangelism in the City, Ayacucho, Peru. Pray for a week-long evangelistic push September 18-25. Two pastors from the U.S. will be coming to participate with Rick and Donna Martin. Pray for seeds to be planted and the gospel to change hearts.
8. Pray for Marcos Achimo in Bolivia. Marcos and Jeff HAuse (SAM) meet together for prayer and mutual encouragement. Pray for Marcos who is on staff with CRU. Pray for his ministry and his current project, “The Four,” which provides materials and training to churches and leaders who desire to share their faith in creative ways.
9. Pray for Fundacion Comunidad Viva and the house church movement in Bogota, Colombia. Pray for leadership reproduction and transition for these two ministries led by Jorge and Ginny Enciso. Pray that God strengthens and matures the areas of weakness and vulnerability to raise up new leaders for a thriving future.
10. Pray for SAM Academy in Pucallpa, Peru. Pray that the teachers and staff serve the missionaries and their children with excellence. This year there are 37 children from six different mission agencies as well as national ministries. Pray that their focus as a school community will always be to love the Lord and to share the love of the Lord.
11. Pray for Natalie in Bolivia. Pray for Natalie as she transitions back into life in Bolivia after an extended home leave due to COVID travel restrictions. Pray that she adapts well, that her Spanish language skills come back quickly, and that this new season of kingdom work is fruitful in a country still struggling with the pandemic.
12. Pray for David and Leidi Ayala in Peru. Pray for the Ayalas as they lead Manos Que Suman, a non-profit organization in Lima that loves, serves, and seeks the welfare of those in vulnerable situations. Pray as they practice relational evangelism and invest in the development of biblical discipleship of future generations.