Getting to San Ignacio – The good, the bad, and the ugly.


Dear Friends and Family,

Annabelle was such a great traveller!

This is Missy writing. What a time we’ve had! And I mean that in every way.

We are thrilled to be here in San Ignacio with David and Mary Beth and many lovely Belizeans. Annabelle wrote in her journal that her “first day in Belize was fun, fun, fun!”

Annabelle Journaling








And before we left we cannot measure or count how many cards, gifts, emails, hugs, and prayers were given to us. We felt, and continue to feel, truly loved by so many. There are many stories to be told of generosity, unexpected goodness and kindness in those final days. And honestly, the months prior to leaving are a series of miracles small and large – like getting renters for our house without having to advertise and who were understanding of what we were facing with leaving the country for a year.

At the same time, the two weeks prior to leaving, and our trip down here, were fraught (and I do not use that word lightly) with challenges. They have and are costing us a lot of money, countless hours, and immense amounts of energy. I thought about listing them all out for you but I’ve decided to shorten this by combining them into categories:

The House Fiascos: Numbering 7 of significance and including everything from possibly losing homeowners insurance on the cottage, to dead HVAC, and bacteria in the well at the cottage.

Bye bye BMW!

The Motorcycle Fiascos: I won’t go into much detail on this as I don’t fully understand all that was wrong with it (except that it was a number of things and all quite stressful). In this case the end result is that it was sold to a good home, though for $2000 less than we hoped. We are extremely grateful that it sold!



We get by with a little help from our friends.

The Weather Fiasco: A foot of snow was unexpectedly dumped on Charlottesville the day before we were to leave. The prediction was 3-5 inches. This affected our leaving in a variety of ways – but we left!

The Travel Fiascos: Numbering 3+ of significance and including having our train to Baltimore be canceled, our rental car pick up office being closed due to snow, and almost not being allowed on the plane to Atlanta.

I kept saying all along that whatever happened it was going to be alright because we were getting on the plane on December 11th. However, that was truly challenged when we almost weren’t allowed on the plane and ended up being let on at the very last minute. Once we were on the plane in our seats, my eyes just kept overflowing. I have shed more tears in the last couple of weeks (for the good, beautiful, and true things and for the heart breaking, stressful, and difficult) than many other years of my life. I think it is fair to say our bodies are still weary but our souls are full. And we are so grateful to be here. 

We're here!

Prayer Requests:

– Please pray for our work permits, Annabelle’s dependent/student permit, my ministry of health application, and our immigration status. There are a lot of particular requirements, some of which are unexpected, and we need divine intervention to move things along.

– Unfortunately, we left Annabelle’s “chewie” (blanket) on the last plane. Please, please pray that Delta is able to track it down and return it to us. There have been many tears over the loss of chewie. 🙁

– Please pray for us earnestly. It truly feels as though there are forces at work that do not want us here and need all the divine help we can get, as we believe God does want us here.

We absolutely could not be here without you all. We are sending hugs and blowing kisses.

Thank you for reading. We love you!

Note from the editor (Evan) – I’m working on another post to give you an idea of what we’ve been doing since we landed.

Meet SAMS Missionaries at Urbana18

Meet SAMS Missionaries at Urbana18

SAMS and a few SAMS Missionaries will be at Urbana18 and they look forward to meeting you there! Urbana is an eye-opening global missions conference, a sacred space for college and graduate students, faculty, and church leaders to hear God’s call. Are you thinking about your calling to mission, but are not sure where to start? Come talk to these missionaries who have experience in the mission field! They will be there to answer questions as well as pray for you and your own calling to serve in the field by sharing the transforming love of Jesus Christ around the world.

Lucy Chaves, SAMS Missionary to Kenya

Lucy is originally from Kenya and at a young age, she felt drawn to the love of Christ. In the same way that she experienced His kindness and mercy, she wanted to share it with others. Lucy mentors young women and encourages those in difficult circumstances. She and her husband David concentrate their efforts in Nairobi, Kenya, on helping youth to develop a Biblical worldview as well as business skills. IHope Photography is one of the business they helped youth develop. They currently live in Virginia where they are raising their three children, but they make frequent trips to Kenya to encourage those in the ongoing programs. They hope to develop further ministries in Western Kenya.

Jessica Tetirick, SAMS Missionary Bridger to Uganda

A Texas A&M grad, and a CPA, Jessica didn’t have missionary service on her mind. However, after going on a short two-week mission with her church to Malawi, she asked God about her role in mission. God led her to SAMS where she served as a Bridger at Uganda Christian University alongside another SAMS Missionary. While there she was able to use her accounting and work background to teach business classes.

Madeleine Ruch, SAMS Missionary Bridger to Brazil

Madeleine is currently a college student at Wheaton College. She spent last summer serving in Recife, Brazil, as a SAMS Missionary Bridger. While there she served at a daycare center in Recife. While there she helped with any needs included caring for children, educational lessons, and helping with administration. She even helped the office translate some paperwork into English. She also led worship at a local Anglican church and got involved in a young adult small group.

Will these SAMS Missionaries see you at Urbana18? For more information about Urbana and how to register, click here! Find other SAMS Missionaries on the Meet our Missionaries page where you can sort by ministry and country.

He’s got this.

He’s got this.

God’s business is putting things right.  – Psalm 11:7 (The Message)

I shared this verse with a member of our congregation and two other directors from the social services ministry of Cochabamba. Right before we went into a hospital room to pray last rites with a teenage girl. 

God is at work to put things right.

These three women who work selflessly for the well-being of the most neglected in society need to know that this is precisely God´s business so they do not lose heart in the face of so much need and injustice. Our world needs to know this as we read news that appears to indicate the contrary, with local  catastrophes and global crises. Families need to know this as we worry about what will happen tomorrow. I need to know this, as I struggle with aging and kids leaving home and congregation members struggling to grasp this very truth.

God is in the business of putting things right.  This is what it means to say God is righteousness.  This is what it means to preach that we have been justified by the death and resurrection of Jesus.  This is what we mean when we proclaim Jesus is Lord and will come again. 

This is what we prepare for in Advent – God’s putting all things right in Jesus.  

May we be confident in God’s work, even while we wait. 

May we have courage to share, serve, and love.

And may we not lose heart, nor become weary or indifferent, being assured that our labor in God’s business is not in vain.

He will do it.  He is able. He’s got this – and her and you and me. 

¡Qué Dios les bendiga!

Tammy & Rusty

Helping with a Smile

Helping with a Smile

The following comes from SAMS Missionary Amanda Scott serving in Honduras:

Hondurans are clear about from whom all blessings flow.  The last team of 2018 came at the end of October.  In addition to all the other usual activities, they decided they wanted to build a house in a day for Ernestina, a tiny, homeless, elderly woman in San Buenaventura.  The mayor had given her a minuscule bit of land way down a dirt road in the mountains behind the Children’s Home.  The only way to get the materials to the site was to carry them down and back up a ravine.  I was standing in the woods monitoring the progress when another woman appeared, arms full of wood that she had gathered for her wood burning stove.  Eva, too, is impoverished but slightly better off than Ernestina.  She put down her machete and wood and smiled broadly at me.  “I am so thankful the Lord is helping Ernestina!  Thank you for letting Him use you to bring this miracle to her.”  Eva knows where that house came from.  We were thankful to be part of Ernestina’s miracle.

The team realized Ernestina didn’t have a mattress so they gave me the money to buy her one.  I asked Angel, our singing construction worker, if he could help.  No problem!  I gave him the money and the next day, he recruited a friend with a pickup truck.  They went into town, bought the mattress, and then hauled the mattress and box springs to Ernestina’s new house.  Again, because that is what they do.  If they can help, they do…with a smile.

Growing Up in the Solomons: Part 2

Growing Up in the Solomons: Part 2

Hello! My name is Avalyn Hicks (or Ava for short). I want to tell you a little bit about my life in the Solomons. Enjoy!


Since we don’t have a washing machine, we have to wash our clothes in the river. Sometimes I go with our house-girl, Josephine. We carry our buckets of clothes down to the river either with friends, family or by ourselves. We start by laying an article of clothing on a piece of timber. Then we sprinkle or rub soap on it. We brush the clothes, turning them front to back and inside out. After all the clothes are washed, we dip them in the water and wring them out. We place the clean clothes in a bucket and carry them back home to hang on some lines. You can use different methods: such as washing, rinsing, squeezing, and then putting the clothes in a bucket.


In the Solomon Islands, we dress differently than we do in America. Women and girls are more modest there than they are here (in some ways). Most women and girls wear skirts all the time. It is a sign of disrespect for young girls to wear shorts; but this is changing in the capital, the towns, but rarely in the villages. Lots of women and girls also wear short or tight skirts there, which is not very modest either. Women who are married or older in the villages sometimes don’t wear shirts, because the shirts are too hot or mothers want to nurse their babies. Men and boys wear shorts and shirts (or no shirt), but some men wear pants. Most women and girls wear buns. Men and women wear custom outfits when they dance, which means for the women bras, grass skirts, something under the grass skirts (shorts or other skirts), and the traditional shell jewelry. Men wear shorts, shell jewelry, kabilato, and paint. They shake rattles and wear nutshell-anklets: when they stomp these make noise. Women can wear shorts when they are bathing. By the way, we wear all our clothes when we bathe because bathing is public!


We play different games. Some are games that we play in America. Some are native to the Solomon Islands. One that we play both here and there is ball-tag or dodgeball, where you play tag, but with a ball. Another game is called: “What did you say? In!” In Pijin this sounds like: “Wat ah did iu sei? In!” This game has four lines. One is vertical, two are horizontal, and one is a perimeter line. One team says: “What did you say? In!” They jump in, and they have to be in every box, and then get back to the start before they win. (Only one person in a team needs to have been in every box to win.) The other team tries to tag anyone on the opposite side, by moving along the lines. If the tagging team tags someone on the jumping team, the tagging team gets to be the new jumping team on the next round. If the jumping team wins, they get to jump in again. Another game native to the Solomon Islands is called Sela Coconut. One team is a stacking team and the other team is a shooting team. The former tries to stack all the coconuts into a tower while the latter passes the ball to each other trying to shoot the stacking team out. If the shooting team succeeds, they get to be the stacking team on the next round. If the stacking team succeeds (and their tower manages to stay up for a count of “2, 4, 6, 8, 10”), they get to be the stacking team again.