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.