Someone paid attention!

One of my greatest joys as a lecturer is supervising my students in the field. For three months of this long holiday, our finalists (seniors) have been serving in parishes, and we visit them to see how things are going. It’s so much fun to see them out of the classroom, see them minister to their congregations, and hear about their joys and struggles in ministry, and be able to encourage them in their calling.

 

Recently I visited with David, who is serving in a large and vibrant parish. He shared that when he took a reading in staff devotions, he remembered what I said in chapel about how to end a reading, and he concluded with “The Word of the Lord.” The staff was surprised at this, so explained why he did it. And then on Sunday, the reader ended the reading with “The Word of the Lord.” What we do can have a powerful rippling effect.

 

I was absolutely overjoyed. Yes, it’s a small thing, but it means that my students are listening! Here, readers often end with “Here ends the reading,” to which the congregation replies, “Thanks be to God.”

 

No, we aren’t happy that the reading is over.

Continue reading Someone paid attention! at Here I Am.

Meet SAMS-USA: Missionaries Roberto and Cameron Vivanco

Meet SAMS-USA: Missionaries Roberto and Cameron Vivanco

Robert is from Quito, Ecuador and Cameron is from Durham, NC. Their sending church is St. Matthew’s Spartanburg, SC. They are serving in Quito, Ecuador.

Our Ministry:
Cameron serves as the Director of the Short Term Ministry Department at Youth World. On average there are 300 people a year that come through this interdenominational para church organization to serve and to learn. She also teaches youth ministry and short-term mission classes with a youth ministry training and resourcing branch of Youth World.

Roberto serves as the Worship leader at an English speaking church, as well as a music ministry/ band called Gedeon. He also runs a Christian recording studio. Roberto has is degree in Pastrol theology from seminary school at SEMISUD in Ecuador.

They serve, intentionally forming relationships and discipling almost every socio-economic level in Ecuador from the poverty class (where the majority of the short-term teams and individuals minister) to middle class (training and resourcing youth ministries as well as local church bands that want to record worship music) to upper English speaking class (at the English speaking church).

They feel their ministry is to promote empowerment, discipleship, training, leadership development, opportunities to record music and song to further the gospel. They help support fellow NGO’s with video and music production so that they may further their ministries as well.

A special ministry program they have is a scholarship program called Education = Hope, which exists to provide for the education on children in desperate and difficult places.

Our Calling:
God started calling me (Cameron) to the mission field in the fall of 1998. I was working as a full-time youth minister in SC and had a very skewed perception of what a missionary was (I thought they were doctors, teachers or Bible beating freaks) and the last thing I would ever want to be was a missionary! I was at a national youth worker’s convention when God, being much bigger and wiser than I am, began to change my perception of missionaries and the reality that someone with my gifts and passion could and perhaps even should go into mission. God opened the door to work with Youth World in Ecuador which exists to address the reality that 95% of the world’s trained youth leaders live in N. America working with roughly 5% of the world’s youth population. Our mission statement reads Youth World exists to identify, train and equip leaders to impact young people and their families to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

So my call was to continue in youth ministry, but in a different context. I was elated when I felt like God was calling me to Ecuador, for about three seconds, and then I was terrified. I did not speak Spanish, or even know where Ecuador was on a map! I spoke with my rector and he help set up a discernment committee, and then began conversations with SAMS about how to work with a multidenominational organization (like Youth World) but still stay linked to my Episcopal church and background.

If you are being called to support the Vivancos, visit their giving page.

Pray for Ecuador and the vision God has given us for ministry here

Roberto and Cameron Vivanco

Meet SAMS-USA: Missionary Cathy Donahoe

Meet SAMS-USA: Missionary Cathy Donahoe

Cathy is from Grand Junction, Colorado, and has been sent by St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Grand Junction, Colorado. Cathy is serving in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.

Her Ministry:

Cathy’s has been serving our Lord in the Dominican Republic since 2007 using her skills as a physical therapist. Her vision of this ministry has been to be working with the people of the Dominican Republic to help improve the health care offered. Health, in New Testament terms, is the capacity of individuals, families and communities to work together to transform the conditions that develop, in a sustainable way, their well-being, spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, economically and environmentally. As a physical therapist, Cathy has been facilitating this through both treating patients and training people in physical therapy skills. This has been happening at the Asociación Dominicana de Rehabilitación branch in San Pedro de Macorís as well as nationally through the ADR. Cathy has been to Haiti for brief periods as well, teaching in a program training rehabilitation techs, the first class of whom were working on the day of the quake and in its aftermath. Additionally, Cathy is doing her best to model a good Christian life.

Cathy has become involved with ministries at her local Episcopal parish in the barrio of Santa Fe. In addition to participating with the music ministry, she has been an integral part of the newly formed consolation ministry. They visit members of the community in need of assistance sharing scripture, prayer, and fellowship. This could be following the death of someone in their family, an accident or injury, or a variety of needs exacerbated by their material poverty and many times their informational void.

Her Calling:

Looking back on her life, Cathy can see God’s handiwork in preparing her for the mission field since an early age, though it took her a long time to get there. Key points along the way include serving in the US Peace Corps after college, meeting the bishop of the Dominican Republic one weekend in Colorado who has a PT clinic in his diocese with needs, hiking with friends on the Corkscrew trail in the Colorado National Monument when I heard of SAMS for the first time, and the first trip to the island of Hispaniola in 2003. That trip combined a month in Haiti and close to a month in the Dominican Republic. In Haiti her role was that of clinical PT teacher and in the DR it was as an aide to the staff at the bishop’s PT clinic. She was blessed getting to know the staff but was sure they could do much more for their patients. Ellen Snow, a missionary who coordinated short term teams and visitors, suggested Cathy return every year for a couple of weeks. Her final morning there, as she walked along the Malecon for the last time, mulling Ellen’s suggestion, her reservations about having any effect on a two-week-at-a-time basis were strong. Suddenly Cathy felt God nudging her with the question, why did it have to only be two weeks?

Being one slow to make important decisions, it took another year and a half before she tested the waters with 6 months as a Bridger with SAMS at that clinic. This confirmed God’s call to long term missions, though it was not clearly in the same location. Resuming communications with SAMS upon return they determined that partnering together in this mission journey was the right plan. After going on her placement trip to Honduras and Haiti, it became clear that San Pedro was to be her destination for now.

Pray for Cathy and the Dominican Republic:
Pray that younger members of the Dominican church will feel called to the ordained ministry, and for the leaders and resources to train and equip them.

Pray for Bishop Julio Cesar Holguin of Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana and other church and government leaders to work together to combat poverty, crime, and violence.

Pray for Cathy as she continues to teach Physical Therapy classes in the area. Pray for her students and that God will move in their lives.

If you are feeling called to support or encourage Cathy, visit her missionary page here.

Looking back on her life, Cathy can see God’s handiwork in preparing her for the mission field since an early age,

Advent Prayers from the Firestones

Advent Prayers from the Firestones

The Firestones share with you their Advent prayers: In Advent we continue to trust in the promises and purposes of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. We invite you to share with us at La Trinidad during this time of joyful preparation and service.

In Advent we continue to trust in the promises and purposes of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. We invite you to share with us at La Trinidad during this time of joyful preparation and service. We ask you to remember a specific area of ministry with us each week of Advent, as well as on the specific dates in bold.

First week of Advent – Puntiti Church Plant

We give thanks to God for the ordination of Juan Cris to the diaconate in October! On Sunday, November 27th, we will have our first confirmations in the Puntiti Church Plant. Please pray this day for Camila, Paola, Raquel, Jeremias, Ramiro, Ariel, David and Marcos as theysay ¡Sí! to Jesus.

Please also pray this week for:

Deacon Juan Cris, Jahel, and their two daughters, Lucia and Valentina.
The families participating in Bible studies, especially those of Jahel, Amalia, Valentina, Pacifico, Marta, Nardi, Julian, Irene, Charo, Reyna, Marcos, Belen, Felipe, Margarita, and Silvia, asking God for healing for Silvia´s son, Boris.

A new house for the church plant, since our lease will end in February. Please pray for a home in the same area and price range which will allow for continued ministry and growth.

Second week of Advent – La Trinidad Outreach

We give thanks for the new additions to our ministry team, missionary intern Cara Ellen from Good Samaritan (Paoli, PA) and Sue from CMS England.

Please pray that we at La Trinidad will continue to use our gifts and serve in unity.

Please also pray for the following events: Pedestrian Day outreach on Sunday, December 4th – that we can share Christ’s love with others by offering water, first-aid, bike repair and prayer on this day.
The youth and adults at La Trinidad have started playing soccer in the neighborhood park on Sunday afternoons. Please pray that we build relationships with our community.
Pray this week for the team preparing for our Christmas Club workshops in La Trinidad and in Puntiti for the following week.

Third week of Advent – Children’s and Youth Ministry

Please continue to pray for our Sunday school ministry as we minister to the children at La Trinidad and reach out to neighborhood families. Specifically we ask for prayer for the following activities:

La Trinidad´s Christmas Club from December 12-22nd – that we can reach un-churched families from our neighborhood.
Our Christmas Project with children in Puntiti on December 17th.
Continue to pray for our youth ministry. Pray for Natalí and Cara Ellen as they work with and disciple adolescents and for the fundraising for the January diocesan youth camp in Santa Cruz. Also pray that the camp and the Sunday afternoon soccer games will revive the university-age youth ministry at La Trinidad.

Fourth week of Advent – Firestone Family

We are so encouraged to know that you are praying for us and for our ministry in Cochabamba. During the holidays please ask for God`s blessing on our time together as a family, especially after a really busy month and as we look to decisions in the coming year.

Please pray for guidance as Thomas finishes up the college application process and decides where he will study.

Continue to ask for the Lord’s guidance for Tammy and her mom as they make decisions regarding her mom’s increasing life care needs.

Remember all SAMS missionaries who are far-away from their families for Christmas, especially Sue and Ellen at La Trinidad.

We also thank you and your congregations for your financial support this past year. You are providing for our ministry and are part of God’s transforming the Anglican church in Cochabamba into a missionary congregation. If you would still like to give this year or consider supporting us in 2017, please contact us or SAMS.

Rusty and Tammy Firestone have called Bolivia their home since 1998. Tammy is ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Bolivia and is pastor of La Trinidad Anglican Church in Cochabamba, working to build up leadership and plant new congregations. Rusty is a chiropractor involved in medical missions and coordinates short-term mission teams in Cochabamba. Support them here.

You are providing for our ministry and are part of God’s transforming the Anglican church in Cochabamba into a missionary congregation

The Firestones

SAMS Missionaries to Bolivia

Christmas Party at Cerro de Hula

It all started over breakfast.   Santito, who cleans our five story building, told me she does like not Christmas.  When I asked her why, she explained that she lost her mother when she was thirteen. After that her father showed little interest in her.  Her childhood was without Christmas and hard. It was a time that made her sad. Knowing that Our Lord always loves a party , I asked if she would like to throw one in celebration of Christmas for herkids and the community.   With a smile, she said, “Yes.”

This is what happened.

A typical house in Cerro de Hula.






























Get that party going!
The party begins.
Waiting for mine.
Joana, daughter of Santito, babysitting.
Angela at sweet 15!   The Cumpleañera cuts the cake.

(It was also Angela’s fifteenth birthday, la Cumpleañera, which is an important
day for young girls in Latin America.   No one celebrated Santito’s fifteenth because they were too poor.   So we especially did not want to forget Angela on her day.)

Boys practicing their piñata swings.
I’ve got this!

The serious players step up.
Get the candy!
Presents.  Wow!