Meet SAMS-USA: David and Mary Beth Alenskis

Meet SAMS-USA: David and Mary Beth Alenskis

Meet David and Mary Beth Alenskis. They are missionaries in Belize where David is serving in ordained ministry by strengthening local leaders in two Anglican churches as well as in the local Anglican schools. Mary Beth is reaching out to the youth through music in both the churches and the schools. Learn more about their ministry and calling.

Ministry:

The church in Belize needs more thoroughly-trained leaders who are willing to serve inside and outside of the church in pioneering ways, to announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to embody his excessive and supernatural love for sinners. As SAMS missionaries, David and Mary Beth are dedicated both to serving as leaders for Anglican churches and schools in Belize and also to training up new leaders who will continue to grow and deepen the Body of Christ.

David has been called to serve as the Priest-in-Charge (Senior Pastor) of St. Andrew’s and St. Hilda’s churches and as chaplain for St. Andrew’sSt. Barnabas’, and St. Hilda’s schools. In addition to providing pastoral ministry on a local level, he has been serving more broadly among the western churches and the nation-wide Anglican diocese. In particular, he has been raising up newly ordained and lay ministers, and the goal is to continue this leadership development to the point where these local communities can disciple new believers, cultivate new ministries, plant new missions, and establish new schools.

Mary Beth will be taking her first steps in this missionary endeavor! Though it’s all a little new, she is excited to join David in his life and ministry in Belize. Mary Beth will be working with the women in the church (possibly through women’s groups and bible studies), as well as using the gifts God gave her in music to accompany for the churches (as they are currently doing all services a cappella), and work with kids in the church or school teaching them music and praising God.

Calling:

Mary Beth:

“I have always loved the idea of missions, but never expected to be a missionary myself. That’s not to say I wasn’t prepared to serve God where I am, I just never figured that it would be on the foreign mission field. But, as God brought David and me together to share our lives, he has also been bringing us to share in missions. I have visited Belize now three times, and I am looking forward to beginning life as a missionary next year!

If you are trying to discern God’s will for your own life, pray that the Lord will give you clarity, and then open yourself up to the clarity that he brings. When his direction within your own heart matches up with what “seems good to us and to the Holy Spirit,” I think you will be astounded by the places the Lord will take you!

Missionary life wasn’t my original plan.  Missionary life wasn’t even my back-up plan.  I knew I wanted to serve God, but I didn’t know what that would look like.  But through prayer and discernment, God has brought me to this next step in my life where I get to share the Gospel, serve Him and others, all with my best friend here in Belize. ”

Prayer Requests: 

  • That the Lord would give them health, and heal them when illness occurs.
  • That the Lord would grant the financial support necessary to continue serving in Belize.
  • That the Lord would guide their ministerial candidates as they discern God’s will.
  • That the Lord would daily fill them with his Holy Spirit, his fruit and his gifts.
  • That the Lord would cultivate their hearts and minds to serve wholeheartedly in Belize.
  • That the Lord would keep them diligent in meetings, study, prayer, and worship.
  • That the Lord would facilitate communication between them and their ministry partners.

Visit David and Mary Beth’s missionary page to learn more. Would you prayerfully consider supporting them

If you are trying to discern God’s will for your own life, pray that the Lord will give you clarity, and then open yourself up to the clarity that he brings

Mary Beth Alenskis

SAMS Missionary to Belize

How Gospel Goats is Impacting Gulu, Uganda

How Gospel Goats is Impacting Gulu, Uganda


Mary McDonald
is a SAMS Associate Missionary and a veterinarian. Recently, SAMS caught up with Mary after her recent mission to Uganda.

SAMS: Tell us about Gospel Goats and the need you saw in Uganda.

Mary: In Uganda, there are families who have been affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Men grew up as boy soldiers and women were abducted to be wives of officers. The majority have received little education about health and nutrition and many are living with HIV. I had a call to equip and empower this marginalized group in Uganda. Gospel Goats is a revolving goat loan program that does that. We teach health, nutrition, and care for the goats which helps these marginalized families on the path to financial and food security. They are able to breed the goats and sell the offspring. With each training, we teach the Gospel and love of Christ. The first goat that is born to those who went through the training is donated back to the program. They learn that they are blessed to be a blessing.

How has Gospel Goats and an education program impacted the region?

When we surveyed the area to start Gospel Goats, there was a school across from an Islamic institute. This school hardly had pencils to work with. I went to the Bishop of N. Uganda and asked about starting a Compassion International sponsorship program at this school. So we prayed that children would be sponsored, and in the first year, we had 200 students sponsored by our church in Virginia. When I returned this year, there were 115 more students sponsored. I discovered that people were taking their children out of the Islamic institute and bringing them to the school. The pastor and volunteers said that Compassion International paired with Gospel Goats has helped stop the spread of radical Islam in the area.

How have you seen God at work through the people in Uganda?

With each Gospel Goat training, we do a clear sharing of the Gospel story. At the end, we ask if anyone would like to receive Christ. At the last training, 15 people prayed to accept Christ. 150 people between the two projects have received Christ, including 5 Muslims. One individual told me that they have felt like the poorest in the community, but because of the gift of a goat they feel like God cares about them and that God is a living and tangible God who cares for both their physical and spiritual needs.

How can people who want to help get involved?

There are already many refugees in Uganda streaming in from the civil war in South Sudan. Now this region is facing an extreme drought and famine. In Uganda, families are losing their crops and livestock. This week, I received a letter from Bishop Johnson writing:

A humanitarian crisis is at our doors. We are trying to share the little we can but both the refugees and the host communities are facing starvation due to prolonged drought and the leading to a shortage of food. As a diocese, we are appealing to whoever can help us to support the refugees to do so now. Thank you for making the appeal on our behalf.

Please pray for the people in Uganda and all of Africa. Please give so others may live. Go to donate go to the SAMS-USA World Relief Fund and designate the country of Uganda in the comment box
or by check to P.O. Box 399 Ambridge, PA 15003.

Mission Opportunity in Tanzania

The Diocese of Victoria Nyanza is located in Mwanza, Tanzania. Villages in the region are without a church and the opportunity to hear the Gospel. There is a need for congregational development in this diocese where Islam is spreading. Bishop Boniface Kwangu is praying for missionaries to come to Tanzania to serve through the diocese. Missionaries are also needed for theological training and to teach at the international school. Are you being called to share the Gospel in this area? Contact info@sams-usa.org oto learn more about these opportunities in Tanzania.

Meet SAMS-USA: Missionaries Ron and Debby McKeon

Meet SAMS-USA: Missionaries Ron and Debby McKeon

After serving as missionaries previously, God has called Ron and  Debby back to Brazil to continue his work.

Ron and Debby are based out of the city of João Pessoa the state capital of Paraíba, in the Anglican Church – Diocese of Recife. Their ministry is one of encouragement to support lay leadership and clergy in parish ministry, especially in small mission parishes in the Diocese of Recife. Ron’s ministry is preaching, teaching, and pastoral care. Debby’s ministry is the writing of Bible curriculum for children, and teacher training in areas where children are most at risk.

God’s Call:

After graduation from seminary, Ron made an initial six-month commitment to working for what was then the Anglican Communion Network. The six months turned into a full-time job and four years working for what became the Anglican Church in North America provincial office. Ron and Debby became SAMS associate missionaries, returning to their Brazil ministry every year. The ministry has become more defined over the years, but first and foremost has been a ministry of encouragement to those serving in northeast Brazil.

Many times God has spoken through the Brazilian people. Ron and Debby answer the question asked of them, “Can you help us with this?” And God always has prepared their hearts and minds beforehand so that they can answer “Yes”. Then through times of prayer, they are guided in the details of how, and what their role is as part of the solution.

From Debby:

I have been coming to northeast Brazil for over 6 years, and am always intrigued by the methods used for housework and cooking. They are so simple and very different from methods used in the USA. I had observed people ironing everything including tee shirts, sheets, and towels. Even at a women’s retreat, someone was ironing their casual clothes. I silently concluded that Brazilians liked everything to look very good. Then recently I was sharing about cultural differences with the family we were staying with. To my surprise, the wife responded that ironing killed germs on clothing and especially bedding and towels, as they have no hot water for washing laundry, and everything is air dried Of course! What a good example of a cultural difference, and my erroneous conclusion I thought.

How you can pray for Ron and Debby:

  • Pray for continued close relationships with their children and grandchildren.
  • Pray for those in ministry in Brazil and their families, for strength and refreshment in times of weariness.
  • Pray for a lasting impact of the Gospel and changed lives through Jesus in the communities in northeast Brazil.
  • Pray for continued financial support.

How you can pray for Brazil:

 

Are you feeling called to send? Support Ron and Debby McKeon.

 

Our ministry has become more defined over the years, but first and foremost has been a ministry of encouragement to those in ministry in northeast Brazil.

Debby McKeon

SAMS Missionary to Brazil

Using Your Talents

Using Your Talents

In the parable of the talents (Matt 24:14-30), each servant is given a certain number of talents, or currency. Some used those talents to increase the number, and one hid it away, not producing anything. When we think about the resources, gifts, and talents God gives us today, how are we using them to produce fruit and bring about the Kingdom?

April Sylvester is a SAMS missionary serving in Zambia through a Gap Year Program. She disciples and ministers to students. Recently, she gathered materials to make a couch. She was able to get some free pallets, which she sanded and varnished. Then bought some foam to create the cushions. Her neighbors and students were happy to help.  One of her students reacted to her project:

“You know we learn a lot from you, April,” said her student.

“How is that?” she asked.

“Well, for one, we see you working over there on your couch. It shows us that we don’t have to wait for other people or money to do things. We can do it ourselves.”

April’s student is right. We don’t need to wait for others or money, but we can use what God has given us in order to create something good.

April’s finished couch.

Instead of hiding it away for herself, April shares her skills, knowledge, and talents with others.  April teaches yoga and swimming to the students that she disciples. By using her skills that are instilled in her by God, she is able to connect with her students and share the love of Christ.

What gifts has God given you and how are you using them to further his kingdom?

 

April Sylvester is involved in an outreach ministry to Zambian youth that involves discipleship and mission training.

We see you working over there on your couch. It shows us that we don’t have to wait for other people or money to do things. We can do it ourselves.