Easter! The season that puts all the other liturgical seasons in order. Just think, no Easter, no Christmas! No going back to hear His stories and lessons that He taught. When someone says “The Reason for the Season,” it really is more than the birth of Jesus (though that is what they mean), the real reason is in the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead! As we continue to observe this Easter Season, be sure and give thanks to our Lord for not giving up on the world!
The Bible only makes sense when we understand that God had a plan all along for the salvation of those who would believe in His son, Jesus. When we make that connection, we begin to live a life that is different from the rest of the world. For we know that we worship a God who desires to be intimate with us.
Reading the Bible is like reading a love letter left behind from the Lover to the Beloved. As we read the Bible, we get in touch with the one who made us; who desires to be with us in all aspects of our life. The good, the bad, and the ugly! So often we forget.
Just as the disciples forgot what Jesus told them about him being crucified and then in three days would rise, we too, forget; oh so often, that He is alive and desires us to be with Him.
So remember! He’s Alive!
by former SAMS Missionary, Joe Rhodes
In the fall of 2016, Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, PA started a ministry reaching out to internationals in the city. SAMS’ Associate Director, Denise Cox who also attends the church, had been praying all summer about how she could serve the Lord in a new way. She has a heart for international people and has made life-long friendships with those from different countries. God answered her prayer when she saw the bulletin for the new English as a Second Language ministry right at her church!
Denise reached out, encouraging me to join in extending the Good News of Christ through teaching English in the Pittsburgh area. With my background in English education, I felt God calling me to use my teaching skills to minister to others.
Now, two years later, people from all over the globe meet weekly to learn English, some attend a Bible study, and about a dozen attend Alpha where they are learning the basics of Christianity. Some are students at the local universities, others are spouses of students, and some are new citizens looking to learn more. New people who are interested in class come weekly, discovering the classes through word of mouth, or flyers seen in their community. The Lord is bringing people right to the church doorsteps!
Participants are from China, Japan, Indonesia, Montenegro, Brazil, Iran, and France, just to name a few. During Bible studies and classes, I find myself in awe of how different everyone is, yet so much alike. When we come together to study the word, we all are part of the body of Christ. It reminds me of Revelation 7:9:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…
We each have a role to play in the bringing about the Kingdom of God. It has been a blessing for teachers to see some participants come to know the Lord and to witness one young woman being baptized.
Just in the last few years, the international student population has grown to over one million in the U.S. and many of these students are near you! How is your church or community reaching out? Just recently, SAMS Missionary Mary McDonald who has a passion for international students has partnered with Leiton and Lisa Espineli Chinn, Intervarsity’s International Student Ministry global consultants and AGMP Missionary Partners, in starting The Anglican International Student Mission Network (AISMN), a new initiative. Learn more about Mary’s ministry here, and perhaps discover how your church can get involved by attending the first ACMI Conference happening this May 31st!
By Sarah Norris, SAMS Communications Coordinator
SAMS Missionary, Dr. Mary McDonald, put her mission experience and enthusiasm into an outreach ministry near her home in Blacksburg, Virginia. Mary regularly mentors veterinarian students at Virginia Tech and asked a couple of her mentees to help her start an Alpha course for some of the international students at Virginia Tech.
Students from Muslim, Atheistic, and other non-Christian backgrounds came together with Mary and her helpers each week for 10 weeks to explore basic tenets of the Christian faith, eat a meal together and form a community. Mary opened up her house and farm to host the group for a special weekend of friendship and learning about the Holy Spirit.
This ministry is growing, and Mary’s passion for reaching international students has helped launch a new missionary network. The Anglican International Student Mission Network (AISMN) is a new initiative which all Anglicans are welcome to join! Mission Networks, an initiative of New Wineskins Missionary Network, allow people who are interested in a particular type of mission to collaborate, consult and conference together in an intentional and on-going way that will exponentially increase our missional effectiveness. Leiton and Lisa Espineli Chinn, ISM global consultants and AGMP Missionary Partners, and Dr. Mary McDonald will be co-leading the ISM mission network and can’t wait to welcome you to the first official AISMN gathering this May 31st!
Perhaps you are wondering how you could befriend someone from another culture from right where you live. Find out more at the AISMN gathering. Click here for more details and how to register.