The Rest of the Story…

The Rest of the Story…

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

In 2009 your Society featured a story on the front page of The Messenger about the Rev. Patsy McGregor (center of the top picture and a SAMS Missionary serving in Madagascar with her husband Bishop Todd) mentoring young women. One of those women named Nolavy desired to be an evangelist, but her father, the local shaman at that time, forbade her to be one. Nolavy and the McGregors prayed persistently, and eventually, her father gave her the blessing to go to Kenya to prepare to be an evangelist. Another beautiful aspect of Nolavy’s testimony in her own family is that shortly before her father died he, too, gave his life to Christ.

Despite living in poverty and facing many obstacles, today Nolavy is the first Malagasy woman from the Diocese of Toliara to receive her Bachelors in Divinity. Upon completing her studies with the help and support of SAMS Senders, Nolavy said, “By the grace of God, I have finished my schooling and I have returned to Madagascar. I could not hold tears from falling down my eyes when I was writing my final college paper. It was beyond my imagination that I could one day get a chance to study for a Bachelor of Divinity!”  She currently serves as the Diocesan Children’s Ministry Coordinator and Diocesan Evangelist.

Nolavy knows firsthand that the Word of God is not merely confined to the mud and rice-straw thatch she usually inhabits when preaching the gospel.  She knows that the people will take it out in their hearts and souls to serve their community.  She serves people who, in turn, go on to serve others.  This, for Nolavy, defines the joy of Christian service.

Recently, in recognition of her faithful and tireless service, e the Anglican Communion selected Nolavy to represent rural women in the Province of the Indian Ocean at the United Nations.  She is coming soon to the USA in order to participate in the 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.  Rural women and girls face unique needs in every nation, often suffering from lack of attention compared to women in cities – resulting in fewer registrations at birth, minimized opportunities for education and work, more likelihood of forced early marriage, early childbirth, increased rates of maternal mortality and infant mortality, neglect of opportunities for learning, earning, and loans, and a greater chance of neglect in old age.  Please pray for Nolavy’s cultural adjustment, her husband and two children at home, and her testimony to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Next month there will be an opportunity to meet with Nolavy. If you are or will be in the vicinity of Southeast Florida, she will be at the following churches:

Thursday, March 1 – ECW – St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church Boca Raton – 6:00 PM Please call if you will be attending. (561) 395-8285

Saturday, March 2 – St. Mary’s Episcopal – Stuart – 5:00 PM Followed by PowerPoint with Q & A  (772) 287-3244

Sunday, March 4 – St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church Boca Raton – 8:00 AM (561) 395-8285

Sunday, March 4 – Chapel of St. Andrew Episcopal Church Boca Raton – 10:30 AM (561)-271-7151

Tuesday, March 6 – ECW at Chapel of Saint Andrew Boca Raton – 6:00 PM simple soup and salad dinner. Please call Cheryl Harman at 561-271-7151 if you are attending.

Wednesday, March 7 – St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, Boynton Beach – 5:30 PM Supper followed by a Lenten service, Power Point and Q&A. Please call the church if you will be attending. (561) 732-3060

 

The Rev. Patsy McGregor and her husband, the Rt. Rev. Todd McGregor, minister in Toliara, Madagascar.  They live in sometimes difficult circumstances among the people they serve.  Through evangelism and discipleship, the Diocese of Toliara finds many coming to love and serve the Lord Jesus.

Lent, Fasting, and Praying for Your Missionaries

Lent, Fasting, and Praying for Your Missionaries

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period, concluding the day before Easter. This is a time for us to draw closer to the Lord through prayer, repentance, self-denial, and honoring Jesus’ suffering and death. In a world where material and personal wants can be quickly satisfied, Lent is a time to focus more on Jesus Christ and what he has done for us, rather than ourselves.

People will often fast during Lent. What exactly is fasting, though? The dictionary says it is “abstinence from food and/or drink as an element of private or public religious devotion.”

The Bible gives several reasons why we should fast:

To become Christ-like: In Luke, Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights while being tempted.

To repent of our sins: Samuel urges the Israelites to turn back to God (1 Samuel 7:3-6).

To seek God’s wisdom: Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted for the elders of the churches before committing them to the Lord for His service (Acts 14:23).

To strengthen time of prayer: Luke 2 tells the story of a prophetess named Anna, “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”

The Bible also teaches us how we fast. Types of fasting include:

Regular fast: A regular fast usually means refraining from eating all food. People may still drink water or juice.

Partial fast: A partial fast means refraining from certain foods and drink or a particular meal. Daniel 1:12 says they restricted their diet to vegetables and water: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.”

Full fast: A full fast means abstaining from all food and drink. Acts 9:9 describes when Paul went on a full fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus: “For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” This type of fast is usually done with caution and not done for a long period of time.

What did Jesus say about fasting?

During the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said:

Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your father who is in the secret place; and your father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:16-28

Fasting is a time to focus and rely on the Lord for strength, provision, and wisdom you need. It is not something to boast about, and it doesn’t mean that God will answer your prayers the way you want him to. God only promises to fulfill our prayers if they are according to his will.  1 John 5:14-15 tells us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” Having a dedicated time of prayer and fasting, especially during the 40 days of Lent, helps us take our eyes off ourselves and puts them on Jesus Christ, the one who suffered, died for our sins, and rose again so that we too may have eternal life.

Fasting and Praying for Mission

This year, would you consider fasting and praying for missions around the globe? Perhaps there is a particular SAMS Missionary on your heart. You can sign up for the SAMS E-Messenger to receive prayer requests from your SAMS Missionaries. Maybe there is a particular region or country God is calling you to pray for. Operation World has facts, figures, and prayers for every country.

Matthew 9:37 says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Would you pray in the morning and/or evening at 9:37 for missionaries to be called into the field? May the Lord draw you close to him during this Holy Season.

The Godly Couple: A True Parable

The Godly Couple: A True Parable

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”  Romans 12:9-10

Once upon a time, there was a Godly husband and wife who lived in the northern end of a prosperous country.  This couple did well in life.  Their home was comfortable; their children happy, their needs and the needs of their family were met.  Yet, they were not satisfied; something was bothering them that they just could not put to rest.

One Sunday in church they received an invitation to attend a gathering on how to serve people who were struggling in less fortunate countries.  They felt a stirring in their hearts to attend the meeting and they did.

At the gathering, they learned the best way to serve the poor in other countries.  They learned how to work side by side with the missionaries God had placed in the poorer countries.  They learned the right way to share God with the less fortunate people and how to give them hope for their future.  They learned that language barriers are not always barriers, that there was something supernatural that can transcend that barrier.

They also learned how to be effective and wise leaders of the people in their church who wanted to help them serve the poor country.  The couple was able to guide many groups from their church to various countries.  While the groups built houses, painted schools, or did what the missionary needed to have done, they were living examples of the love of God for all people, whether rich or poor.  They were well satisfied and the people they served were satisfied.

The Godly couple was so blessed to be able to serve God in this way that they decided to go to the poor countries for a longer period of time.  They were invited back to one of the countries by the church leader.  They prepared to go for three months to work alongside their friends in the poor country and they did.  Their lives were enriched and they were contented.  They had put to rest the thing that was bothering them and they prayed about moving to the poor country for three years and they did.

They lived there very happily; they still do and continue to look forward to the ever after.

If you are interested in serving as this couple did, contact SAMS Associate Director, Denise Cox at denisecox@samsusa.org.

Loving and Encouraging Your Missionaries

Loving and Encouraging Your Missionaries

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Your SAMS Missionaries love to hear from you. Maybe you are not sure how to get involved with the missionaries you or your church send. How can we show love and encouragement to them when they are so far away? I reached out to your SAMS Missionaries and this is what they said:

  1. Sign up for their newsletters and reply to them

“It’s so encouraging when someone replies to my newsletters, especially when I can tell from their message that they read what I wrote!”

  1. Let them know you are praying for them

“It is a blessing getting notes from people who detail how they are praying for us. It conveys very powerfully that they have put a lot of thought and effort into their note.”

  1. Follow them on Social Media

“When we post things on Facebook, many of our senders will take the time to write a reply. It doesn’t have to be long, it is just nice to know they took a moment to let us know they are aware of what is happening in our lives.”

  1. Invite them to events

It is meaningful when people invite me to things when I am in the states or even to things when I am not. It reminds me that my supporters are thinking of me.”

  1. Share their ministry with others

“It blesses my socks off when folks tell others about my ministry and those folks start supporting!”

Sometimes it is the little things that encourage us all. How are you taking a second to encourage and love your missionaries, and others today? For when we show love, we show God because God is love (1 John 4:8).

Day Zero: Cape Town’s Water Shortage

Day Zero: Cape Town’s Water Shortage

“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”

—Matthew 25:35 (NIV)

For more than three years Cape Town has not seen rain. A dam that supplies the large city with water is dry. Citizens have been rationed to 50 liters of water a day. Some of your SAMS Missionaries are living in the midst of this. The city will turn off water supplies in April and then will ration people to 25 liters per day.

What will the city do without water? How can you help? SAMS Missionaries Johann and Louise Vanderbijl and Wayne and Nicole Curtis urge you to pray:

May I ask you all to pray to our Sovereign Lord to have mercy on us all and to provide us with sufficient water. Pray for us each and every time you quench your thirst with any form of liquid or take a shower or wash your hands or use water to do many of the things we all too often take for granted.
From the Scriptures, we learn that there are many ways He can provide water other than rain (cf )…He can also miraculously cause the levels to remain constant as He did with the widow’s jar of flour and jug of oil in 1 Kings 17:14-16. 
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

-Johann Vanderbijl

As we pray for the rain to come, may we also pray for the citizens of Cape Town to be spiritually quenched? May many come to know that all their needs can be fulfilled by their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.