Journeys in Peru: Part 1

Susan Park is currently serving in Peru. Read about her journey thus far.

As many of you know from the January e-newsletter, I (Susan) am spending the month of February in Peru helping/shepherding various people from different parts of the world as we go around the country. As usual, things don’t always happen as planned. I tend to refer to them as “sagas” as they often have several parts to the story with interesting twists and turns along the way.

Fr Phil from the companion diocese of Worcester, England and I had been planning this trip with people from England for several months–setting up travel arrangements, sites to visit, contacting people and places where we would be. The plan was to visit the diocese and see how things are progressing with the new Peruvian bishop and the new regional deaneries.

Saga of the Unexpected Addition

Jan 31st–Note from Phil in England who is leading the English contingent. “I think everything is about as organised as it can be for the moment at this end, unless you inform me otherwise!”

Little did we know that it was the calm before the storm. One of the sayings I put on the end of my team e-mails is “Blessed are the Flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.” God definitely would test my flexibility with this trip.

Feb 1st –Midnight Pittsburgh time-5 am England time– I am putting the final items into my suitcase for my travels early in the morning, when I get an e-mail from Phil. He had just received an e-mail from the Archdeacon of the Diocese of Gibralter (encompassing Spain, Portugal, and three other areas) when last night (literally!), they chose the Rev. Deborah to be the new link person with Peru. Phil had invited them to be in correspondence to help learn from Worcester’s long term relationship. He ends his note saying, ” I assume that he doesn’t really mean that someone will materialize from Gibraltar in a fortnight to join us?!”

Actually, yes, it did! And it was only 10 days later, not two weeks.

5:03 am–Deborah tells Phil she plans to fly to Peru and join our group for a week.

By 10 am–Phil convinces her that it would be better to fly to Arequipa when she arrives in Lima rather than taking an 18 hour bus ride right after she has flown across the ocean from Madrid. He sends Deborah & me a reassuring note with much more confidence than I feel at the moment. “Deborah, Susan is very experienced at dealing with all these plans – and adapting when they get changed with three seconds’ notice!”

Based on confidence that God would work all this out, I proceeded to welcome Deborah to our group by e-mail.

Knowing I was going to have to tackle getting a chip for my cell phone, buy my airplane tickets for 4 separate journeys and buy Deborah’s and Bp Alejandro’s tickets as well (unfortunately, not as simple as going on-line to do it), I went to sleep on the plane.

TO BE CONTINUED—

By SAMS Associate Missionary, Susan Park.

A Sweating Missionary in the Mud of Life

A Sweating Missionary in the Mud of Life

By April Sylvester

Kazangula is a small town (if it can be called that) on the watery border of Zambia and Botswana. A group of us had taken the long, hot journey for a 3 day mission trip. Within a few minutes, our group of four came across two women building a mud house. We were greeted with kind but slightly skeptical smiles and mud-caked hands.

My friend Emmanuel moved towards their house. He looked at the pile of mud they were mixing for the wall, saw that their two yellow water containers were empty, and with less than a word he picked them up and walked away.  As I watched him walk into the distance, the yellow containers [were] getting smaller and smaller.  After about 10 minutes he was coming back down to us, sweat beading on his forehead in the midday sun, water sloshing on his jeans from the containers.

In that moment, I realized that THAT is the kind of missionary I want to be. I want to be a sweating missionary.  How many times do we come across someone who is not concerned with words but is willing to get down into the mud of life with us? It means being able to really see people and their needs, which, yes, does take a certain level of cultural competency that I am still working on. But maybe I can bumble, sweat, learn and love my way towards that goal.

April is involved in an outreach ministry to Zambian youth that involves discipleship and mission training. Her home church is Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois.

In that moment, I realized that THAT is the kind of missionary I want to be. I want to be a sweating missionary

April Sylvester

SAMS Missionary to Zambia

Welcome to the New SAMS-USA Website: What to Explore

Welcome to the New SAMS-USA Website: What to Explore

SAMS (Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders) is pleased to announce the re-launching of our website. As part of Anglican Global Mission Partners, SAMS’ mission is to raise up, send, and support Episcopal/Anglican missionaries to be witnesses and make disciples for Jesus Christ in fellowship with the global Anglican Church.

This new website will be a tool for you to get more fully involved in what is happening around the world through our Missionaries and Senders. Once solely serving in South America, SAMS-USA now supports and sends over 95 missionaries to over 25 countries around the globe including Europe, Africa, South East Asia, and the Solomon Islands.

Explore the new website and new ways to get involved, whether you are discerning the call to serve as a missionary, or have a heart for sending missionaries.

SAMS News Blog: Keep up with the latest with what is happening in the SAMS community with news blogs about SAMS Missionaries, the ministries they are connected with, and news from where they serve.

Interactive Map: Are you looking to get connected to a particular country, but want to know more? Maybe you have a heart for a certain place in the world. By using the SAMS interactive map you can learn more about the missionaries, the particular country they serve in, and how you may be able to get connected as a Sender or a Missionary.

Send Prayer Requests:  The SAMS Home Office Staff prays every day for our Missionaries and Senders. If you have a prayer need or praise, please feel free to share with us so that we can partner with you in prayer. Send a prayer request with this new online feature.

Watch this video tutorial to discover more!

5 Ways to Celebrate World Mission Sunday

5 Ways to Celebrate World Mission Sunday

Partner with SAMS this World Mission Sunday. Discover the different ways you can celebrate mission and raise awareness in your own community.

World Mission Sunday is a day for churches to come together to reflect on the importance of global mission and how they can get involved as a congregation. It is tradition in the Episcopal and Anglican Church to celebrate around Epiphany, which is February 27th this year. As an Anglican Global Mission Partner, SAMS-USA seeks to raise awareness of the importance of global missions and the support of missionaries. In Acts 1:8 Jesus calls us to participate in world-wide mission, “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.” Here are five ways you and your church or diocese can participate in World Mission Sunday this year:

  1. Hold a dedicated service: Celebrate and raise awareness as a church by using this Litany for World Mission. Here are some resources for you to use.
  2. Educate: Invite a missionary to speak during or after church, and educate your congregation about what is happening overseas. Want to learn more about missions, Five Talentshas listed their favorite mission books here.
  3. Be stewards of mission: Mission does not just have to be overseas. Encourage your congregation to participate in mission right where they live. Organize a mission day by serving a ministry that your church has a heart for.
  4. Take up a special offering: On the day you celebrate World Mission Sunday, consider collecting a special gift for the missionaries or ministries you support.
  5. Pray: Pray for how God is calling your congregation to participate in global mission. Pray for the missionaries in your church. Pray for those who are discerning the call as a missionary.

We encourage you to be a witness of mission this year. Observe World Mission Sunday right where you are by sharing testimony, prayer, stewardship, and education about missions in your church.

If you are interested in receiving printed material to promote missions in congregation, contact the SAMS-USA office today at 724-266-0669.

Prayerfully consider partnering with SAMS this year for World Mission Sunday by giving to the Great Commission Fund through this Virtual Care Package that will raise up, support, and send missionaries in the name of Jesus Christ:

$100 provides a retreat for a missionary

$50 equips 5 missionaries with a day of cross-cultural training

$25 provides a home staff member with a one-day staff retreat

A Pichi Pellahuen Christmas Story

Date: 
2017-01-20 00:00:00

It was December 8th when my cellphone rang. Yanett Toro from the Pichi Pellahuen church—a sleepy, little congregation 2 ½ hours up into the mountains from where we live in Temuco, Chile. A number of years ago, they had had a vibrant congregation and a strong Sunday school of about 40. Now there were around 10 adults in the congregation—about 1/3 of them members of the Toro family—and no children. But when Katia, my Evangelism Explosion (EE) for Kids colleague, Russ and I went up there to do a workshop to train people in reaching out to children and provide them with a method and materials to do it effectively, seven adults participated. That is 70% of the tiny congregation! Not bad for a sleepy, little church. When EE got off the ground in early November, 17 neighborhood children attended the Saturday afternoon kick-off. And they asked if they could come to church Sunday mornings as well! Now, by early December, 26 children were coming each week.

Yanett spoke softly and with concern. “Sister Heidi,” she addressed me in the common evangelical fashion, “we have a problem. We want to do something special for these children for Christmas. They are all from low-income families, you know. They most likely won’t receive presents in their homes. We want to get each child a present but we need help. If we had known we would end 2016 with 26 children, the congregation would have been setting aside money each month for this purpose, but until a month ago,” she explained, “we had no children. Now we have 26. Could you find brothers and sisters to help us? Just this once? Next year we will do it on our own.”

 What should I say? I wanted to help but Christmas was just two weeks away! How could I go to the churches in Temuco just two weeks before Christmas and ask for help? All the churches were already committed to helping somewhere, I was sure: a home for the elderly, a children’s hospital, etc. Where could I find help for the children in Pichi Pellahuen—children who six weeks ago didn’t even attend church!

  “Let your love not be only in word but in deed and in action,” admonishes the apostle John (1 John 3:18) I told Yanett we would pray and see what we could do. How much did they need?

  “Whatever,” was her answer, “whatever people can help with.” We worked out that she would send us a list of the names of the children and their ages, and then she would come down with a van to pick up whatever we could come up with—in 13 days!

  Russ and I prayed. We didn’t have a lot of money available. Suddenly I thought of Rosmarie. Rosmarie is a beautiful woman with a very generous spirit. She owns an exclusive, little clothing boutique in town and she loves Jesus with all her heart. She hosts a weekly prayer group at her dining room table, mostly for women who are just coming to faith, who are not yet part of a church. She invited me to be part of this group when it began in early 2016. Those women are coming into a relationship with Jesus as they experience Him and His answers to their prayers. I called Rosmarie and shared Rosmarie’s dilemma. Rosmarie was immediately on board. She volunteered not only to talk to the ladies in the Monday night prayer group, but also to make the need known among the customers who frequent her clothing shop. 

Rosmarie was on the move—and he Holy Spirit was too! Within five days gifts—beautiful gifts—began arriving. I shared the need with a few more people as well. A recently separated mom I visit and her little daughter chose some special things to give. I shared it on our EE group chat, and a gal out in the country whom I’d only met once donated $30. By Monday, December 19th, Rosmarie informed me that more than 30 gifts had come in. Now we needed to get together to wrap them and, armed with the list of names and ages of the children, our Monday night prayer group met to play Santa Claus! We were overwhelmed by the variety and quality of the gifts—the thought and money that had gone into each one. But how were we to decide which gift would be for which child? We didn’t know these children. We had never even met them. How could we possibly know…? “We need to pray,” I told them. So before we began wrapping and placing gift cards on the packages, we just prayed a simple prayer that the Holy Spirit would guide us in deciding which gift should go to which child. The Lord knows those precious ones even though we don’t. Then we began wrapping and labeling: remote control cars, trains with tracks, beautiful dolls, purses, backpacks…lovely gifts! And the extra money donated served in part to buy the needed batteries for some of the toys as well as a goodie bag for each child, and food for a special Christmas tea for the children and their parents. “Santa’s workshop” closed around midnight! Two days later Yanett came for the gifts. Everything was in readiness and we were thrilled with how it had all come together. We had done our part, but we didn’t know the end of the story; we didn’t know all that God had been doing and would do behind the scenes—until after Christmas. Yanett sent pictures after the celebration and when it was all over called me a couple of days later to share this story. It seems that a few days before Christmas two of the boys, Carlos and Pablo, had confided in her that what each most wanted for Christmas was a remote-control car. And little Maritza said that her Christmas wish was a backpack. Yanett listened but told the children that she had no idea whether they would receive those gifts. Of course they didn’t even know that gifts were coming!

But the Lord knows the hearts of His children—and He knew that these little ones, so recently coming to know Jesus, needed a touch from Him—a special reassurance that He knows them intimately. We had prayed about which child would receive which gift; that the Holy Spirit would guide us as we put the names on the gift cards. Can you guess the rest? It “just happened” that the gifts we had put Carlos’ and Pablo’s names on were the two remote-control cars that had been given! And on the beautiful Peppo Pig backpack we had put the name “Maritza.” If even the hairs of our head are numbered, our loving Lord knows the heart’s desire of each of His little lambs. This Christmas He had done what only He could do. May those precious little ones come to know Him as Savior and Lord in this new year. I think they are already well on the way!

 

by Russ and Heidi Smith. The Smiths are long-term Missionaries in Temuco, Chile. Support them here.