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.