June 2022 Prayer Focus

I Am Christ's Ambassador

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.

April 2022 Prayer Focus

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

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

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 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.

 

December 2021 Prayer Focus

The Weary World Rejoices

The Weary World Rejoices

The contrasting language used in this phrase moves me. A world weary from its brokenness and sin, weighed down, burdened, grieving… suddenly rejoicing. And the rejoicing doesn’t take away the weariness, but it shines through in the midst of it. It is in this space that our rejoicing is deeper and more beautiful, because it is marked by pain but also defiant of its hold on us.

The realities of the past two years are heavy. The world pandemic has caused loss of life, isolation, division. Political unrest, social division, even church division. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, like the brokenness around us is bursting through the seams and reaching an all-time high. However, I reflect on the first Christmas and am reminded of the worldly realities when Jesus was born. I think we often paint a cozy picture of our Savior’s birth without understanding the full weight of the social and political climate during the time of his birth.

  • Political oppression, Cesar ordered a census taken of the entire Roman world, possibly for tax purposes
  • Herod rose to power with the support of Rome and was known for holding a military dictatorship over Judea.
  • About 10% of the population was born into nobility and lived lavishly; the remaining 90% worked in the fields. It’s safe to say that by our standards, injustice was built into this system–10% at the top controlled virtually everything.
  • After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph were forced to flee and live as foreigners in Egypt, isolated and outcast.

Yet, in the midst of this messiness, Christ willingly entered the world in a humble and lowly way… and the world rejoiced. The king who will redeem all things has arrived!

The oppression and isolation didn’t end with Jesus’s birth, but worship entered into its midst. A deeper reality began that would reach its full realization on the cross. God’s heavenly kingdom was coming down to earth.

As we enter into this Christmas season, what does it look like for us to pursue worship and rejoice?

The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the Lord,
And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.  Isaiah 29:19

 

1. Pray for Julián and Serina Arias.  Julián and Serina are working with a church plant in the town of Peñol, outside of Medellín.  Every two weeks, Julián leads worship, preaches, and provides counsel for this community of believers. Pray for those attending to be affirmed in their faith in Christ Jesus and that the Lord would bring new people to not only attend services but to come to faith.

Penol Church Plant 2021

 

2. Pray for PARAKALEO ministry. SAM missionary Olga Chiang is a catalyzer for PARAKALEO which trains, supports, and values women involved in church planting in Latin America. Five Peruvian women joined other women from across Latin America for training. Pray that the women will be equipped and encouraged for fruitful ministry.

3. Pray for the Bolivia Taskforce.  Missionaries and local partners will be meeting December 10-13 to pray together and discern how best SAM can support kingdom work in Bolivia.  Please pray that God gives them vision for the work in the midst of recent political and social upheaval in the country.

4. Pray for Tim and Mindy Callahan. Tim and Mindy are new missionaries in Brazil. After language learning in Cuiaba, they will be serving at Ammi, using their gifts in agricultural training and linguistics to serve the ministry. Pray for Tim and Mindy during their transition to the field, language acquisition, and cultural immersion.

Callahans at Ammi 2021

 

5. Pray for Kat Guild.  Kat recently finished language school in Barranquilla and is officially joining the ministry team there. Pray for the Lord’s discernment and wisdom on how and where to serve. As her Spanish improves, please pray that God would both bring about meaningful relationships and that He would also show her how to be a better friend to those He puts in her path.

6. Pray for Mike Mahon and SAMAIR Peru.  Praise God for His provision of a new plane in Peru! With its arrival, pray for Mike as he handles the details of customs, other paperwork, and end-of-year parts shipments.  

7. Pray for Jenna Weigner. Jenna is a midwife and serves the indigenous and rural groups in eastern Bolivia. Jenna also networks with maternity hospitals and breastfeeding groups across Bolivia to offer education and instruction to medical staff and new mothers. Pray that God would use Jenna to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the mothers and their children.

Jenna Weigner 2021

 

8. Pray for the Center of Formation of Leaders. Many students are struggling to make it each night to this bible institute in western Brazil, several driving one hour by motorcycle. Pray for endurance and dedication for these future church leaders. Pray for the ministry worker who is teaching Doctrine of Sin and Christian Leadership this semester.

9. Pray for Joel and Angel Ballew.  Joel and Angel are mentoring Alfredo, Natalia, and Steffin, three young adult musicians that are starting a foundation for children who would be otherwise unable to learn classical music. Pray that the foundation is a blessing to the community.  Pray as well that God would give the Ballews opportunities to disciple these young leaders and deepen their relationships.

10. Pray for missionaries over Christmas.  As we celebrate the Lord’s birth, please pray for opportunities to share the hope and joy of Jesus’ incarnation with friends and neighbors.

11. Pray for Jeff HAuse.  Jeff recently celebrated 30 years of service in Bolivia.  His church recognized his years of service, and he enjoyed a reception with friends and coworkers.  Praise God for Jeff’s life and ministry in Bolivia and pray that He gives Jeff many more fruitful years of ministry there.

12. Pray for Ammi graduates.  Seven students, representing five different indigenous groups, completed the 3-year course at Ammi.  Pray for God to give them joy and purpose as they follow Christ and return to their villages equipped with the Word and ministry training.

Ammi Graduates 2021

 

13. Pray for Tracey Culley and Drew Warrick.  Tracey will be joining the ministry team in Recife, Brazil. Drew will be joining the ministry team in Armenia, Colombia after a year of training in La Paz, Mexico. Pray for these appointees as they raise funds and prepare for ministry.

November 2021 Prayer Focus

Thankful

Thankfulness

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. 

 

September 2021 Prayer Focus

Craving Peace

Craving Peace

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.

Erika at Ammi

 

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.

Layne Family September 2021

 

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.

SAM Academy 2021 Grades 1-5

 

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. 

Ayala Family May 2021

 

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