Colombia & COVID-19

April 16, 2020 |

Guajira
[Photo from the Guajira Desert of Northern Colombia, taken by Lauren Jones]

 

The most recent message from the Colombian government says that mandatory self-isolation will stay through April 26th. Each region or department is enforcing the “stay at home” order in different ways. For many Colombians, crisis began overnight as their daily income from labor work was suddenly inaccessible and unsustainable.

Even so, the church has not remained idle. Missionaries throughout Colombia are sharing stories of generosity and love despite their circumstances. In Bogotá, one missionary team and their house church community is continuing to provide support for young adults who were graduated from Colombian state foster care without adoption. The team had to close their community center to the public but are still using it privately to process food they purchase from a local food bank to distribute care packages within the neighborhood.

Another team in Bogotá which walks alongside communities to engage in peace and justice work has suddenly shifted into relief efforts, despite the ethos of their ministry being concerned with long-term development work. They have already sent available funds up to the Guajira peninsula to aid the Wayuu people in this time of need. As they put it, “Many of these people now live mostly dependent on the monetary system and a daily income from their labor, while often the previous generations of Wayuu did not. Amongst many factors, severe drought in the past 8 years has served to push this marginalized people-group to further dependence on the developed world, and now, as we are seeing throughout the globe, that system is at a pause.”

Pray for the people of Colombia as many face economic crisis within their communities. We know both from their history and from our long-term friendships throughout Colombia that they are a resilient people, but even so we are all in need of God’s mercy and strength in these days.

Good Friday Hope

April 10, 2020 |

Each year as we walk through Holy Week and approach Good Friday, there is an irony to it. We annually hold the tension of remembering Christ’s final days before his crucifixion and gruesome death with the foresight of his resurrection. We are inclined to consider it “good” because of what it brings, knowing that in his death and burial the story was not over and a victory had only just begun.

This year even more so we can reflect on what is “good” about this day. In remembering the work of Christ on the cross, in seeing God dwell among men and sacrifice his son for the ransom of many, we do have reason to hope. And it is not a foolish hope—we have a firm hope that God is at work to restore his creation and draw his children near, regardless of the circumstances that surround or overwhelm us. He has declared an eternal victory over sin and death and sent us out in his Spirit to bring his kingdom to Earth.

Today we pray that God’s nearness would bless us with that tangible hope, lifting our eyes above our circumstances to see his beauty. Let us pray for those who are without any measure of security or hope in these days, that they would know the Lord. Let us pray also for our missionaries who are scattered and weathering this storm, that they would be empowered by the Spirit to be ministers of light and bring refuge to those around them.

Creativity and Courage

April 8, 2020 |

The featured image in this post is of Venezuelan currency, transformed and crafted into a figurine whose decorative value as a star is worth more than the collective value of the individual paper bills. The strange reality of this valuation is, in many ways, a sign of the times. Globally, our reality has shifted so drastically in a short period of time and what was once reliable, safe and useful has become sporadic or inaccessible in an instant.

Even so, God has called each of us to a specific and unique place today. It is no accident that any of us are “sheltering in place” wherever we are. For South America Mission’s missionary team, we have been urged to not only shelter in place but also to “serve in place”.

In these moments, we have an unprecedented opportunity to tangibly bring peace and hope to others who need it. Whether it’s through virtual encouragement, praying with people who never would have turned to prayer before or being generous with what we have toward those who are in need, we have opportunities everywhere to be the hands and feet of Christ to our world today.

This is the hour for creativity, not fear. While our feelings of uncertainty are valid, we have faith that God is who He says He is and will do what He has promised and as Paul wrote to Timothy “… God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 2:7).

Let us pray in these days that God’s Spirit would guide each of us to think creatively with the resources, influence and time we have available to us. Pray for our missionaries also as many live in full lockdown and have needed to meet needs and love others in new ways. If you are able, prayerfully join us in our Crisis Response to help our missionaries move in new ways this month to love their neighbors and serve those in need.

Hope in a time of Crisis

March 27, 2020 |

Hope in Crisis COVID-19

Dear South America Mission friends and co-laborers,

We hold unswervingly to hope despite the chaos of the times we are living. God kindles our hope through the prophetic voices of Israel’s exile. Zechariah proclaimed that God would “come and dwell in [our] midst” (Zech 2:10). I understand if those who heard his prophecy were doubtful or weary; God’s promise to “dwell among Israel and not forsake [his] people” when the temple was first built 400 years before (1 Kings 6:13) was likely unimaginable at the time of exile.

And we yet have hope today—we see in the life of Christ a fulfillment of those promises and can know for certain that God is among us.

He dwells among us now and we wait with eager anticipation for the day we dwell in His presence. It is in this promise and His faithfulness that we anchor ourselves. This is my message to our missionary team and what I most want you to hear from me today.

I am grateful for each of you supporting the work of SAM missionaries and ministries. Even as these hectic times shift our daily routines and roles, we stand in solidarity with you. It would be our honor to hear from you, to know how you are doing and how we can pray for you specifically in these circumstances.

Our missionary team is developing a “new normal” for being on-mission in these times and in the geography where God has called us.

We’re in countries where the borders have closed and where country-wide quarantines are in effect. The health infrastructure in many places does not have the capacity to manage critical cases. The informal economies in several countries mean that a substantial portion of the population receives their income through public interaction. Please be in prayer for the millions in Latin America who will face these realities. And pray for wisdom for our team, for eyes to see redemptive possibilities that offer peace and hope to neighbors in despair.


Crisis Response Fund

I’ve established a Crisis Response fund at South America Mission to equip and care for missionaries in the coming months. Donations to this fund will be distributed to our missionary team for their use as the gospel compels. They will have freedom to respond to needs that arise, whether within missionary families or in the communities where they serve. Know that your gifts to this effort will directly benefit our missionary team and moreover, mobilize them to be agents of mercy and peace. We realize economic hardship has reached many of you, so we make this ask with great sensitivity. Please give only as you are able and as the Lord leads.

To mobilize Crisis Response funds quickly, the best way to give is online at www.southamericamission.org/crisisresponse.

I encourage you to visit and bookmark this web page even if you decide not to give, because there we will update the content regularly as news and prayer needs develop from our fields of ministry. You can also mail in a check made out to South America Mission with “Crisis Response” written in the memo line (1021 Maxwell Mill Rd, Ste B, Fort Mill, SC 29708).

The directness about the reality before us is paired with our unswerving holding to the hope we profess in the confidence that He who promised is faithful. God is at work as He shakes the nations.

By Grace,

Kirk Ogden, Executive Director, South America Mission

SAM Response to COVID-19

March 17, 2020 |

FORT MILL, SC, March 17, 2020—First, we’re responding to the spread of COVID-19 by mobilizing people to pray: pray for the health and well-being of the communities in the countries where we serve; pray for God’s intent for good through this crisis to be seen and known; and pray for protection for those whom you support but, moreover, pray they will have eyes to see and wills to seize the redemptive possibility that comes in the midst of this chaos.


South America Mission is being careful to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect our staff, members and partners.

  1. We’re monitoring daily the developing situation in countries where SAM members are serving. In Latin America, SAM members are adhering to the controls and safeguards implemented by their local and national authorities. We’re also following recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control.
  2. We have arranged for US office staff to work from home if necessary. All SAM business is being conducted virtually when possible and all outside in-person meetings are limited. Field conferences scheduled for March-April have been postponed.
  3. Donations Processing will continue, but check processing may be delayed during social distancing. If you have questions, call our Donor Relations department at 803-802-8580. Also, this is an ideal time to give via EFT through our website, instead of by check.

Contact: Ken Massey, ken.massey@southamericamission.org

We’re Hiring! Accountant for our Finance/Operations team.

March 4, 2020 |

We’re hiring! South America Mission (SAM) is a cross-cultural ministry focused on the planting and nurturing of churches for the good of the world and the glory of God.

The responsibilities of the Accountant for South America Mission include maintaining the accuracy of general ledger accounts and managing the monthly closing process. The Accountant will combine analytical skills with proficient knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial transactions and assist in generating financial reports.

Full job description HERE.

You may also send inquiries and resumes to finance@southamericamission.org.

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