Love, Hope, Joy: Returning to Madagascar

Love, Hope, Joy: Returning to Madagascar

Come with me and I will make you fishers of men” and at once they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:17-18

At the Women’s Center in the Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar

Needlecraft, embroidery, crochet, and culinary arts are fulfilling hobbies for many of us. To women in Southwest Madagascar, skills gained in these crafts enable them to launch small businesses and lift their families out of poverty. God is using SAMS missionary Jacky Lowe to provide them the training that makes these transformations possible. Jacky first served in Madagascar as a Bridger. She was called to serve after hearing SAMS Missionary Rev. Patsy Mcgregor speak at the Diocesan conference in Flordia. Now, she will return there this March to serve long-term.

Jacky will train women in these crafts in the Diocese of Toliara.  When she was first there she says of her time, “For five weeks I lived in community with people who have nothing and are full of joy. I hope to carry that joy with me every day.” Now, carrying out that Joy, she prepares to return.

Teacher and students give what they have – knowledge and joy, willingness to work cross-culturally in community – and grow what they have established. Workshop students “go back to their parishes and teach the women there,” Jacky says.

Since last summer, new crafts are being taught. One, in particular, is bead and jewelry making. One young mother is able to take care of her child with the money she earns from making the beads.

Jacky (left) with Rev. Patsy McGregor

“A committee of women in Toliara, with SAMS Missionary Patsy McGregor’s help, sets standards and prices paid to women,” Jacky adds. “We hope, with time, that women throughout the diocese of Toliara will be able to develop work and leadership skills to provide for their families.” As she prepares to leave very soon, you can visit her SAMS page and consider praying and supporting her.

“Join us in a journey of hope, to empower the women and children of Madagascar to overcome poverty through education and the love of Jesus Christ.”

Support Jacky here. You can also support by check:

SAMS USA, PO Box 399, Ambridge, PA 15003
Checks should be payable to: SAMS USA; memo:  Jacky/women

by Howard McClellan, SAMS Staff

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.

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.


Mission in Zambia: Top 6 Things to be Thankful for This Year

Mission in Zambia: Top 6 Things to be Thankful for This Year

Thanksgiving may be over, but SAMS Missionaries are still giving thanks for all that has happened this year in the mission field. April Sylvester, serving in Zambia mentoring youth, shares her thanksgiving:

Here are just a few of the reasons I have to be thankful this year…and you are on the top of the list 🙂

1. YOU! My partners: It just blows me away that there are over 60 people that want to a see change in the world so much that they are willing to sacrifice by financially and prayerfully partnering with me! 21 US states and 6 countries are all coming together to bring up strong youth in Zambia! (Just look at that map!) Meeting with all of you has been beyond an honor.

2. My students: Needless to say, they bring me lots of joy and take awesome selfies. I can’t wait for next year.

3. Nanna Lukama, my boss’s wife. Some days are hard as a missionary and on those days I am so thankful I have people like Nanna, who is right next door and always understanding.
4. My family: our skype dates every week are just a hoot. I love laughing with you all.

5. Quiet mornings: Whether in the US or Zambia, I love a slow morning with a nice egg breakfast, a cup of coffee, and a good podcast.
6. Mexican food and taco Tuesdays: Random I know, but I am just so thankful for Mexican food. I don’t get much of it in Zambia so it makes me doubly appreciative while I am back. When I am Zambia, though, I lean on my homemade Taco Tuesdays for my Mexican fix.

April is involved in an outreach ministry to Zambian youth that involves discipleship and mission training. Thank you for your faithful support that allows April to serve others in Zambia. Please visit her SAMS page to prayerfully consider giving!


Hope Among Turmoil: Mission in Madagascar

Hope Among Turmoil: Mission in Madagascar

By Kevin & Rev. Donna Steckline – Christ Episcopal Church, Gilbertsville NY, Episcopal Diocese of Albany.

When we arrived in Madagascar and got off the plane, we immediately saw poverty, garbage strewn streets, blank faces and stares at each street corner.  We realized the reality of the starving world right in front of us, the same as if we were in Sudan, Haiti or any other third world country.

The same feelings well up inside me bringing me close to tears as in times past, asking the Lord, “How can I help these people?  What can I offer in order to help this mass of poverty and illness that is before me?”

Ladies stripping the leaves from a tree to cook and put over rice – commonly used for blood pressure issues.

We soon arrived in Toliara, the 5th largest city in the country but has limited industry, and the poverty is starkly apparent, even more than it was in the Capital.  Bp. Todd and Patsy started with 3 churches in 2006. They have established 80 churches in 10 years in a diocese that is the size of Florida. It takes 6 days to travel through the diocese.  Unfortunately, the ratio is only one priest for 10 churches and transportation is mostly by foot or bicycle.  The Diocese of Toliara has 1.5 million people who are “Food Insecure.”  This means they do not know where their next meal is coming from, which became very apparent when examining the children and the elderly in the medical clinics.

We traveled to five different locations for the clinics, serving the many people who came for care.  Many of the patients, both young and old had diseases that have progressed well past the available treatments.  Many needed diagnostics that just are not available in the local area and people cannot travel to the capital nor could they afford to, so they suffer.  We saw mothers with malnourished children with no social support systems to obtain food or formula for their babies, so they are fed a rice gruel that has minimal nutritional value.

Praying for patients before they see the doctor.

We witnessed children who were 1-2 years old, not yet walking with flaccid extremities and could hardly keep their head up to nurse due to malnutrition.

Despite this turmoil, there is a community of hope, set in the midst of deep darkness and despair, severe poverty and starvation.  It is a community which has been planted by Bp. Todd and Rev. Patsy McGregor as they planted this new diocese of Toliara. Today there is a cathedral and gathering place in the diocese. Malagasy have come to worship, learn skills to start their own business, and participate in training for evangelism. They are filled with the hope of Jesus Christ and they grow in their faith and come together as a community.

The Malagasy people, as a population are in the same situation across the diocese.  Their faith gives them hope for the future.  Perhaps God’s ultimate plan for us is a ministry of presence.  We walk alongside our brothers and sisters assuring them that their toil is remembered by us, we have not forgotten them; they remain on our hearts. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen,” (Hebrews11:1) so we remain hopeful.

Click here for original story and more about Madagascar.

Preparing for Uganda

Preparing for Uganda

Camille is preparing for a mission to Uganda. She leaves tomorrow! She shares details about this mission nd how you can pray.

Dear Praying Friends,

I’ll be off to Uganda May 31 for two weeks. Thank you for praying with me that God would provide the means for this ministry to South Sudanese refugee camps. He has provided these means – material and spiritual – above what I could have expected. In addition to funds which have enabled us to purchase tents, curriculum, and related ministry needs, God has provided me with a gift I didn’t even know to ask for. Karen Ellis will be joining me on the trip, and though she is an accomplished teacher, she means to focus her energy on praying for and supporting me in the work. Wow. Thank you, Jesus. What must You mean to accomplish through Karen’s work? And now I ask you all too to pray for God to do His work through me and the rest of our East African team members.

Ministry projects:
Conference at Bethesda Ministries (Rev. Titus Baraka’s ministry compound) on pornography and sexual addiction. Conference & Outreach at Morobi Refugee Settlement, near Moyo, Uganda. We will be working with refugees of South Sudan’s current brutal civil war and man-made famine. We will do a 3-day conference with uprooted clergy living in the camps, discussing ways the church can help its traumatized folk (though many of these clergy are, no doubt, traumatized themselves).
c) Outreach in Kajo-keji district, South Sudan. While 100s of 1000s have fled horror and chaos of the war to the camps in northern Uganda, there are still some people (including rebel soldiers) remaining in the neighboring district across the border. We have had an invitation to go and share Jesus there.

For Prayer:
a) Power – from the Holy Spirit to give us needed words of comfort, hope and truth; to control our words, actions, motivations; and to produce fruit for His Kingdom.
b) Provision – planning, logistics, travel mercies, health, joy,team-spiritedness, Holy-Spirit empowered humility + confidence in the Lord’s authority & power.
c) Personnel – Bishop Immanuel of Kajo-keji, Rev. Canon Titus Baraka, Rev. Jale, Rev. Jonathan Soro, Francis Candiga (all of whom are members of the Kuku tribe, the primary ethnic group we will meet in the refugee camps), other local team members.
d) Protection – *Refugee camps can have poor sanitation; cholera etc. are possible. *Our visit to South Sudan needs special prayer because of current warfare. *Pray for the binding of Satan and any people he has deceived and influenced. *Pray for security & the will of God to be done. In all things.
e) Praise – For God’s bountiful provision of ministry material; for Karen joining the team; for the guarantee of His Kingdom’s victory– even when we can’t see it.

Support Camille here.