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

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.


World Mission Sunday

World Mission Sunday

World Mission Sunday is February 4th, but your church can observe it any Sunday. How is God calling you and your church to get involved in this year’s World Mission Sunday?
SAMS is a part of Anglican Global Mission Partners. AGMP unites the needs in the mission field with people in the pews. Many from AGMP have joined together to provide you and your church with several resources for World Mission Sunday. Explore these various resources below:


Ways to Pray

Pray for your SAMS Missionaries with this Prayer Calendar, and signup for the SAMS Newsletter to receive monthly prayers to your email inbox.

Prayer Litany

Use this AGMP Litany to lead your parish in praying for world mission.

Ways to Give

Consider taking up a special offering during World Mission Sunday to support a SAMS Missionary or another SAMS Fund. Click here to support.


Discover even more resources on the New Wineskins World Mission Sunday page.

Cambodia Anglicans Chart a New Path

Cambodia Anglicans Chart a New Path

SAMS Missionaries Gregory and Heidi Whitaker serve in Cambodia where Gregory leads the pastoral team at multi-ethnic Anglican Church of Christ Our Peace (International). Heidi is involved in medical outreach to several communities. In addition, SAMS Missionaries Jesse and Sarah Blaine are focused on church planting, outreach, and discipleship with the Anglican Church of Cambodia. Jesse serves as a priest and Sarah ministers with the youth and is training young women in the faith. The Lord is working in the Anglican Diocese of Singapore and the Deanery of Cambodia where your SAMS Missionaries serve:

Space is tight in the Phnom Penh chapel where Cambodian Anglican Christians have gathered to worship on a Sunday morning.

“If you can’t find a seat, just stand for a few minutes and seats will open up when the children go to their Sunday school,” advises Pastor Jesse Blaine, a Khmer-speaking American who leads the congregation.

Circulation fans whir in the quaint rented space that offers stained glass windows and a central location in the bustling Southeast Asian city, but no air conditioning. The church has posted significant growth in the past year. A missionary outpost of the worldwide Anglican Communion, it is one piece of the growing Christian community in Cambodia, where church attendees weigh the truth claims of Christianity a generation removed from the Khmer Rouge genocide.

A Rapidly Changing City

Blaine preaches on Matthew Chapter 19, his Khmer peppered with recognizable brands: B-M-W, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. The message is about the rich young ruler who is dismayed to learn that he must give up the material things he loves in order to follow Jesus. Members of the congregation nod. Blaine later shares that foreign investment—some of it legitimate, some not—has brought new wealth and materialism to Phnom Penh. The neighborhood in which the Church of Christ Our Peace (CCOP) Khmer ministers bears little resemblance to its appearance just a few short years ago. An upscale gym near the church advertises an $800 annual membership, a price unimaginable to most Cambodians. A new Bentley dealership has also opened.

The Khmer Rouge regime-initiated genocide, which resulted in the deaths of between one-quarter and one-third of the Cambodian population in the late 1970s, left little church presence. Christians, along with any western-educated Cambodians, were targeted by the atheist regime. The church—like the 19th-century French Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral in Phnom Penh, torn down stone by stone—was nearly completely wiped out.

Vendors sell “merit birds” along the riverfront in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The birds are believed to carry away the misdeeds of those who purchase them. Most Cambodians consider themselves practitioners of Theravada Buddhism, but various animistic practices endure. (Photo: Jeff Walton / IRD)

Ten years after the genocide ended, only a few hundred Cambodian Christians survived. Today, that number has increased to approximately 150,000 Christian believers, according to Blaine, making it one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world. Some estimate that 2-3 percent of Cambodia’s citizens practice Christianity. According to the Pew Research Center approximately 97 percent of Cambodia’s population follows Theravada Buddhism.

Protestant missionary activity in Cambodia dates to at least 1923, but the church grew slowly. Anglican Church activity began in 1993 after the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to the King of Cambodia asking permission to form a worshiping congregation in Phnom Penh. Three Anglican churches now minister in the city, with four mission extensions in the provinces.

“Serving in Cambodia is very challenging for many different reasons,” explains Blaine. “There is a very strong ‘cultural inertia’ towards retaining their culture, their historical background. For many Cambodians, it is difficult for them to consider something beyond what they’ve already known. On the flip side, it is very difficult for many young Cambodians because they want to chart a new path for themselves and the country going forward. As they do that, it’s hard for them to find role models. It’s hard for them to find ideas and pathways that they can pursue.”

Blaine explains that a successful Alpha (introductory Christian beliefs) course this past autumn and a personal finance training course are pushing the church out into the community and forcing them to find ways to creatively bring people into the church.

“Our hopes were to have 8-10 people for each [Alpha] session, and we ended up averaging about 30,” Blaine shared. “It was a pure joy on our parts to welcome several participants into the family of faith and we look forward to baptizing them in February,” Blaine explained that the Alpha course helped the disproportionately young congregation articulate their Christian beliefs. Two more Alpha sessions are planned for 2018.

Blaine is also instructing his flock on the importance of the sacraments. The congregation has increased from having communion only once a year, to twice a year, to now monthly. Later in 2018, the congregation will have communion weekly.

Dania Prak attends the morning prayer service at CCOP. She is an English-speaking Cambodian who once lived in the struggling neighborhood adjacent to the church that is now transformed with western brands and boutique hotels catering to foreign tourists. Prak remembers that as a small child the free biscuits lured her to church. She kept returning—and created mischief during Sunday school. But the Gospel message took hold in her heart, and now she is a key lay leader in the congregation.

The Rev. Steven Seah leads a tour of the future sanctuary of the Anglican Church of Christ Our Peace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Photo: Jeff Walton / IRD)

The Khmer congregation has outgrown its small chapel, but there will be more room when the congregation’s new building—shared with the English-speaking international congregation—is completed in mid-2018. The eight-story building replaces the congregation’s original re-purposed villa and is slated to open in June. Classrooms, offices, guest apartments, and a sanctuary seating more than 300 persons will facilitate ministry. A separate large meeting space will permit the Khmer congregation to worship simultaneously with the international congregation.

In Transition

The Rev. Gregory Whitaker, who leads the International Congregation at the Church of Christ Our Peace, says that the congregation has found itself serving a highly transient community of educators, doctors, and non-government organization (NGO) workers.

“The challenge is not to see them as appendages or someone whom ‘oh, you’re only here a short time and it doesn’t matter what we do with you because you’ll be gone.’ If we adopt that mindset, then 70 percent of the church goes unpastored,” Whitaker explained.

On a typical Sunday, between 140-200 internationals and English-speaking Khmer meet in an auditorium for a 90-minute liturgical worship service that also features a praise band and evangelical songs. According to Whitaker, only about five members of the congregation have an Anglican background. Families with kids, Canadians, Nigerians, and Americans are in attendance.

Anglicans are also ministering among the sizeable Khmer-language ethnic Chinese population, nearly 80,000 strong in Phnom Penh, some of whom hail from the Chinese diaspora and others from mainland China.

At Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS) in Phnom Penh, one visiting Chinese pastor is in the process of relocating after police shut down his Bible school in China. Cambodia has relatively few religious restrictions, and enterprising pastors see the growing ethnic Chinese population as receptive to the Gospel.

Congregants sing songs in Khmer at a recent Sunday service, some of which are Taiwanese compositions instead of songs translated from English. A multi-ethnic feel permeates the space; two recently arrived students from Beijing introduce themselves. The pair will learn Khmer and then teach Chinese, with the ambitious goal of leaning the language in four months.

Rokakos Field Visit

Outside of the city, ministry takes place at informal rural preaching stations, including a small tidy building in Rokakos, where young children pile in for games and stories.

Ministry in Rokakos, by necessity, looks different from that in Phnom Penh. According to The Rev. Steven Seah, Associate Dean for Cambodia, the congregation has only three adults but dozens of children—up to 200 came on Christmas Day. The difficulty of ministering to so many children with little adult help has led to the goal of discipling a smaller number of children who, as they grow older, can serve as leaders to educate the younger children.

Children, Seah notes, are far more receptive to the Gospel than their parents, although parents encourage them to attend church ministries because they see value in the structure and moral instruction that the children receive.

Nass Sowannia, a Khmer lay pastor at the site, says they could do a lot here if they had more help.

Church growth has also been facilitated through ministries like Project Khmer Hope (PKH), where vulnerable young people in Kampong Speu Province learn skills and are discipled. Begun as a ministry of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Singapore, PKH has identified ways at-risk children can achieve financial security by preparing for work in Cambodia’s growing hospitality sector.

Susan Gok speaks with hospitality trainees at Project Khmer Hope before their morning departure for internships in Phnom Penh. (Photo: Jeff Walton/IRD)

Susan Gok served as cabin crew with Singapore Airlines for 15 years, became a Christian in 2001, and eventually came to Cambodia to serve at PKH. With a background in hotel/hospitality management, she trains the approximately 50 people ages 17-23 who cycle through PKH’s two-year program each year. English is taught the first year. First and second year students can be placed in internships with hotels, including some of the top hotels in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Many of the trainees become Christians—48 were baptized last year—and the program has grown from placing trainees from its first graduating class in 2006 in three hotels to 15 hotels today.

“[Our] ongoing prayer request is that God would raise up leaders, Cambodian leaders, from within the congregation, maybe from within Alpha groups or within the financial peace group,” Seah reports, “people who have a true heart for the Lord and heart for their country.”

By Jeff Walton

By Jeff Walton

Communications Manager for the Institute on Religion & Democracy

The original story can be found here.