From Growing the Church South Africa…

The GtC Staff Is Growing!
LATER this year, Johann and Louise Vanderbijl will be joining the GtC team. Johann and Louise will be focusing on the mandate for GtC to train diocesan teams in how to engage in intentional discipleship and
discipleship-making. The Vanderbijls will be coming as SAMS (Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders) missionaries.
Their last posting was in Ethiopia.
Johann is originally from Namibia and Louise is originally from the Western Cape. After spending considerable time in the USA, the Vanderbijls are happy to return to southern Africa. We know that they will be a blessing to GtC and to ACSA.
Before the Van Der Bijls can move to Cape Town, they have to raise enough support for their ministry and livelihood. Since your diocese already has a partnership with the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, we thought that a partnership with the Van Der Bijls might be a natural extension of your international ministry. Would you please prayerfully consider making a contribution – one-time, monthly, quarterly or annually to the Van Der Bijls missionary account? I know they would be most grateful for any contribution.
SAMS makes it easy to give to its missionaries. You can give to the Van Der Bijls online at or call SAMS at 724-266-0669 or write them at SAMS, PO Box 399, Ambridge, PA 15003. (Please note that all checks need to be made out to SAMS with the missionary’s name in the memo line. All donations are tax-deductible.)
If you have any questions that you wish to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact Trevor Pearce at

Journeys in Peru: Part 2

As many of you know from the January e-newsletter, I (Susan) am spending the month of February in Peru helping/shepherding various people from different parts of the world as we go around the country.

Saga of the Cellphone–

A cell phone is an essential piece of communication in Peru. Everyone has one, texting is cheap, you don’t get charged if someone calls you, and you can keep receiving calls even when you don’t have any money in the phone. Knowing we would be traveling all over and that I would need it, I went to get “THE CHIP”

In the past, it was easy to get a chip for an unlocked cellphone-merely go to the local supermarket, go to the kiosk, pay $5 and get a chip which you then put into the phone. I started the journey with this in mind.

Feb 2--At the local supermarket, the Movistar kiosk. “I want to buy a chip, please.”

“Do  you have your national identity card?”

“I have my passport.”

“Oh miss I’m sorry, all passport and foreign residents have to go to the main office to buy a chip now.”

So I ask at the Claro kiosk–same thing. And at the Entel kiosk–same thing. It turns out that due to people buying chips and passing them to prisoners in jails, now any foreigner has to go to the main offices to get a chip. I resign myself to tackle the chip tomorrow knowing that it could take several hours.

Feb 3--As I was not sure of which bus route the main office was on, I took a taxi (thank goodness, they are relatively inexpensive.) However, the address the man at the kiosk gave me was the wrong street number. Since it was the right street and the building obviously said Movistar, I decided to chance it.

Get my number, wait my turn, sat down with a nice young woman who took my passport and copied my data into the computer and filled out all the paper work of where was I staying while I was in Peru. (Thank goodness, I could use the cathedral as my address and phone number) Sign four pages, fingerprint all four pages, initial spaces, check boxes, etc. Each time I double check. “I will be able to use the phone when I have the chip, right?”

She gave me a paper with my new cell phone number on it and directed me to another line in the next building over where I could pay S/. 8 for the chip. Wait in that line. They have no change for a S/. 10 note (a three-story business with hundreds of people making transactions every day and no change??). So I scrounge around and dig up S/. 8 in bits of coins hiding in my bag. Get a receipt and am directed to yet another counter in front of what looks like a storage closet where there is no one. I stand around for several minutes, start making coughing noises to try to attract someone’s attention. Eventually a young man appears, gets a chip and puts it in the phone. Now back to the supermarket to put money in the phone.

Recognizing vaguely where I am from having ridden the bus past the shops there, I proceed to walk a few blocks in the direction I see buses going looking for a bus stop. They are not all marked, so I kind of look for a group of people standing around staring down the street. Hop on the bus and head for the supermarket to put some money on the phone chip.

At the supermarket, I buy S/. 20 figuring that would last me a fair amount of time. Head back to the cathedral. That night I try to use the phone. There is a rush of Spanish when I dial a number, none of which I understood. The screen says, “SIM registration failed.” After trying to dial four times, I began to realize that the phone was not going to work and that I needed to do something else, but still wasn’t quite sure of what. I tried following the directions to no avail. Tomorrow. . . .

Feb 4–Back to the kiosk. “Sir, The phone is telling me I have to do something, but I don’t understand what it is.” He listens, tries the same thing. Nothing.

“I’m sorry, you have to go to the main office.” “Can I send someone else to do it with a note giving permission?” “No.” AARRGGH!

It is Saturday and it will not be open on Saturday or Sunday. I have to wait until Tuesday. Monday I have to be at the airport (a trip of at about an hour) at 7 am to pick up the Bishop of Springfield, IL and his link person. I realize that there won’t be enough time between the early morning pick up and the one that is coming in at 7 that evening (which will take much longer to get to the airport because it is rush hour) as there are other preparations to do.

Feb 7–Off to Movistar main office after the bishop’s meeting. Explain to the ticket woman, take my number, wait much longer this time, talk to another person who enters my birthdate into the computer. “That’s it.” “Let me try it.” I call the cathedral–super fast busy signal which means it didn’t go through.  Next try–“I”m sorry the number you dialed does not exist.” (um, yes it does) another try, another super fast busy. “Try turning it off and back on.” I do so. Still no luck, so he takes the phone and tries it. Nope.

“Do you have money in the phone?” I pull out the receipt showing I have. Puts more data into his computer, talks to the guy next to him, calls someone on the phone, more computer, and repeat all of the above. “It seems they haven’t registered your money to your account yet.” “But it was days ago!” “Well it will take about an hour.” I don’t have another hour to wait at the office to see if it works. “If it doesn’t work, can I send someone else to take care of it?” “Oh yes” “Give me your name so I can tell that person to talk to  you.” I get a ticket with him module number on it and head back to the cathedral.

I stop in the grocery store to pick up a few things, pull out the cell phone to get a number only to see that the screen still says, “SIM registration failed.”



A Pichi Pellahuen Christmas Story

Russ and Heidi Smith Mission in Chile Russ and Heidi Smith Theological and Children’s Ministries in Chile Russ and Heidi have served since 1985 in the Diocese of Chile. Currently, Russ is involved in the Rural Bible Institute providing theological education. Read more…

It was December 8th when my cellphone rang. Yanett Toro from the Pichi Pellahuen church—a sleepy, little congregation 2 ½ hours up into the mountains from where we live in Temuco, Chile. A number of years ago, they had had a vibrant congregation and a strong Sunday school of about 40. Now there were around 10 adults in the congregation—about 1/3 of them members of the Toro family—and no children. But when Katia, my Evangelism Explosion (EE) for Kids colleague, Russ and I went up there to do a workshop to train people in reaching out to children and provide them with a method and materials to do it effectively, seven adults participated. That is 70% of the tiny congregation! Not bad for a sleepy, little church. When EE got off the ground in early November, 17 neighborhood children attended the Saturday afternoon kick-off. And they asked if they could come to church Sunday mornings as well! Now, by early December, 26 children were coming each week.

Yanett spoke softly and with concern. “Sister Heidi,” she addressed me in the common evangelical fashion, “we have a problem. We want to do something special for these children for Christmas. They are all from low-income families, you know. They most likely won’t receive presents in their homes. We want to get each child a present but we need help. If we had known we would end 2016 with 26 children, the congregation would have been setting aside money each month for this purpose, but until a month ago,” she explained, “we had no children. Now we have 26. Could you find brothers and sisters to help us? Just this once? Next year we will do it on our own.”

 What should I say? I wanted to help but Christmas was just two weeks away! How could I go to the churches in Temuco just two weeks before Christmas and ask for help? All the churches were already committed to helping somewhere, I was sure: a home for the elderly, a children’s hospital, etc. Where could I find help for the children in Pichi Pellahuen—children who six weeks ago didn’t even attend church!

  “Let your love not be only in word but in deed and in action,” admonishes the apostle John (1 John 3:18) I told Yanett we would pray and see what we could do. How much did they need?

  “Whatever,” was her answer, “whatever people can help with.” We worked out that she would send us a list of the names of the children and their ages, and then she would come down with a van to pick up whatever we could come up with—in 13 days!

  Russ and I prayed. We didn’t have a lot of money available. Suddenly I thought of Rosmarie. Rosmarie is a beautiful woman with a very generous spirit. She owns an exclusive, little clothing boutique in town and she loves Jesus with all her heart. She hosts a weekly prayer group at her dining room table, mostly for women who are just coming to faith, who are not yet part of a church. She invited me to be part of this group when it began in early 2016. Those women are coming into a relationship with Jesus as they experience Him and His answers to their prayers. I called Rosmarie and shared Yanet’s dilemma. Rosmarie was immediately on board. She volunteered not only to talk to the ladies in the Monday night prayer group, but also to make the need known among the customers who frequent her clothing shop. 

Rosmarie was on the move—and the Holy Spirit was too! Within five days gifts—beautiful gifts—began arriving. I shared the need with a few more people as well. A recently separated mom I visit and her little daughter chose some special things to give. I shared it on our EE group chat, and a gal out in the country whom I’d only met once donated $30. By Monday, December 19th, Rosmarie informed me that more than 30 gifts had come in. Now we needed to get together to wrap them and, armed with the list of names and ages of the children, our Monday night prayer group met to play Santa Claus! We were overwhelmed by the variety and quality of the gifts—the thought and money that had gone into each one. But how were we to decide which gift would be for which child? We didn’t know these children. We had never even met them. How could we possibly know…? “We need to pray,” I told them. So before we began wrapping and placing gift cards on the packages, we just prayed a simple prayer that the Holy Spirit would guide us in deciding which gift should go to which child. The Lord knows those precious ones even though we don’t. Then we began wrapping and labeling: remote control cars, trains with tracks, beautiful dolls, purses, backpacks…lovely gifts! And the extra money donated served in part to buy the needed batteries for some of the toys as well as a goodie bag for each child, and food for a special Christmas tea for the children and their parents. “Santa’s workshop” closed around midnight! Two days later Yanett came for the gifts. Everything was in readiness and we were thrilled with how it had all come together. We had done our part, but we didn’t know the end of the story; we didn’t know all that God had been doing and would do behind the scenes—until after Christmas. Yanett sent pictures after the celebration and when it was all over called me a couple of days later to share this story. It seems that a few days before Christmas two of the boys, Carlos and Pablo, had confided in her that what each most wanted for Christmas was a remote-control car. And little Maritza said that her Christmas wish was a backpack. Yanett listened but told the children that she had no idea whether they would receive those gifts. Of course they didn’t even know that gifts were coming!


But the Lord knows the hearts of His children—and He knew that these little ones, so recently coming to know Jesus, needed a touch from Him—a special reassurance that He knows them intimately. We had prayed about which child would receive which gift; that the Holy Spirit would guide us as we put the names on the gift cards. Can you guess the rest? It “just happened” that the gifts we had put Carlos’ and Pablo’s names on were the two remote-control cars that had been given! And on the beautiful Peppo Pig backpack we had put the name “Maritza.” If even the hairs of our head are numbered, our loving Lord knows the heart’s desire of each of His little lambs. This Christmas He had done what only He could do. May those precious little ones come to know Him as Savior and Lord in this new year. I think they are already well on the way!

by Russ and Heidi Smith. The Smiths are long-term Missionaries in Temuco, Chile. Support them here. 

But the Lord knows the hearts of His children—and He knew that these little ones, so recently coming to know Jesus, needed a touch from Him—a special reassurance that He knows them intimately.

Russ and Heidi Smith

SAMS Missionaries to Chile

Journeys in Peru: Part 1

Susan Park is currently serving in Peru. Read about her journey thus far.

As many of you know from the January e-newsletter, I (Susan) am spending the month of February in Peru helping/shepherding various people from different parts of the world as we go around the country. As usual, things don’t always happen as planned. I tend to refer to them as “sagas” as they often have several parts to the story with interesting twists and turns along the way.

Fr Phil from the companion diocese of Worcester, England and I had been planning this trip with people from England for several months–setting up travel arrangements, sites to visit, contacting people and places where we would be. The plan was to visit the diocese and see how things are progressing with the new Peruvian bishop and the new regional deaneries.

Saga of the Unexpected Addition

Jan 31st–Note from Phil in England who is leading the English contingent. “I think everything is about as organised as it can be for the moment at this end, unless you inform me otherwise!”

Little did we know that it was the calm before the storm. One of the sayings I put on the end of my team e-mails is “Blessed are the Flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.” God definitely would test my flexibility with this trip.

Feb 1st –Midnight Pittsburgh time-5 am England time– I am putting the final items into my suitcase for my travels early in the morning, when I get an e-mail from Phil. He had just received an e-mail from the Archdeacon of the Diocese of Gibralter (encompassing Spain, Portugal, and three other areas) when last night (literally!), they chose the Rev. Deborah to be the new link person with Peru. Phil had invited them to be in correspondence to help learn from Worcester’s long term relationship. He ends his note saying, ” I assume that he doesn’t really mean that someone will materialize from Gibraltar in a fortnight to join us?!”

Actually, yes, it did! And it was only 10 days later, not two weeks.

5:03 am–Deborah tells Phil she plans to fly to Peru and join our group for a week.

By 10 am–Phil convinces her that it would be better to fly to Arequipa when she arrives in Lima rather than taking an 18 hour bus ride right after she has flown across the ocean from Madrid. He sends Deborah & me a reassuring note with much more confidence than I feel at the moment. “Deborah, Susan is very experienced at dealing with all these plans – and adapting when they get changed with three seconds’ notice!”

Based on confidence that God would work all this out, I proceeded to welcome Deborah to our group by e-mail.

Knowing I was going to have to tackle getting a chip for my cell phone, buy my airplane tickets for 4 separate journeys and buy Deborah’s and Bp Alejandro’s tickets as well (unfortunately, not as simple as going on-line to do it), I went to sleep on the plane.


By SAMS Associate Missionary, Susan Park.