As we all are adjusting to challenging times, you may be asking how your missionaries are faring. If you could see all your Society’s missionaries in a mosaic, walking out their callings with creativity and perseverance, you would be as encouraged as I am. Most continue to do the same effective ministry in new ways. Many are responding to new needs. Some are moving toward new callings. All are sharing the love of Jesus with those who hunger.
Pandemics bring hunger in many forms. At its peak, the Plague of Cyprian (249–262 AD) led to up to 5,000 deaths in one day in Rome alone. Yet, in the midst of this plague Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, testified: “Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves” (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. 7.22.7). Even though this pandemic dealt a strong blow to the Roman Empire, the witness of Christians revealed the beauty and strength of the Gospel message to the world.
Your missionaries continue to serve faithfully, responding to God’s call to proclaim the good news of Jesus to all creation. In various ways, their presence demonstrates the power of this love. Some missionaries are bringing spiritual grace and emotional healing to communities via virtual means. Other missionaries have enough freedom as well to address pressing physical needs in their communities. All minister out of trust relationships that God formed over years through their physical presence. Your ongoing giving and praying sustains this ministry of presence in Christ.
Your generous support of your Society leads to the long-term health of your missionaries. SAMS supports the missionaries you are sending by communicating with constancy, providing additional care, and making grants for extraordinary needs. Thank you for your generosity in sharing the love of Jesus across cultures.
To make the best use of your giving, a higher percentage of the Society’s resources is now dedicated to the core mission of raising up, equipping, and caring for missionaries. Concurrently, through God’s gracious hand preparing your Society for this season via natural attrition (from last spring to this spring) the total home staff payroll hours are 18 percent lower. Additionally, a portion of senders have moved from paper checks to online giving resulting in lower costs of processing.
You may desire to receive prayer for your own needs, especially during such a challenging time. Our staff prays for you and your family during our daily chapel. Let us know of any special needs you have here.
Your prayers for the nations and missionaries are effectual. God is working in amazing ways around the world to draw many to him through his Son Jesus. Your prayer life may grow by joining other senders (and missionaries) to pray. Join us on Thursdays for Noonday Prayer by requesting the videoconference (calling works, too) link from Kate!
You can also respond in a concrete way by helping to meet the needs of the vulnerable around the world. As they are able, missionaries are responding to physical needs of the people they serve: providing food, medical equipment, and children’s educational materials. Simultaneously, many are able to give pastoral care. SAMS is launching an initiative to support these efforts. Through your missionaries and the global church, you can help alleviate suffering in the name of Christ via SAMS World Relief Fund. In April, the SAMS board doubled the funds in this World Relief Fund by transferring an equal amount from the Great Commission Fund (the general fund). We would like to invite you as well to give as global needs continue to compound. Would you begin to pray about giving to those in need?
This pandemic took us by surprise, but God has been preparing your Society for this time. Coming up on our initiative launch Friday you may view the testimony of one missionary sharing how God fostered a city-wide network of local churches for educational development. That ministry network is now perfectly positioned to provide life-saving relief for desperate communities in lockdown under martial law. Stay tuned for this video and more encouraging stories of missionaries reaching out in Christ’s name. How may God be preparing you to take part in these efforts?
My prayer is that you will see with me on the other side how our sisters and brothers “showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves.” May God receive all glory as we stand in redemptive hope!
With you in prayer,
Stewart Wicker, President and Mission Director
Featured Picture: From an upcoming story by one of our missionaries, sharing her church’s ministry in Mexico providing physical and spiritual food to families in lockdown.