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.