Rufina’s Extended Story: Serving God Beyond Her Borders

Rufina’s Extended Story: Serving God Beyond Her Borders

Picture: Rufina, in Temuco, Chile, shares her testimony online in 2020 about how God brought her to the hospital as a patient to share the power of God and the Gospel with everyone around her.

Missionaries Russ and Heidi Smith in Chile have seen God open doors globally for healing prayer and making disciples through the pandemic. Rufina, Heidi’s Bible study participant about whom you can read in the Spring/Summer 2021 edition of The Messenger, has continued to be used powerfully by God following her miracle-filled hospital stay in 2020.

Rufina received a prophecy, through someone she didn’t know in an online church service, that God would use her to minister internationally. So, Rufina began to pack her suitcase. The pandemic prevented travel, but God had other plans. After Rufina shared her testimony on an international New Wineskins Prayer Call with Heidi translating, a woman from Canada contacted Heidi and asked if Rufina could meet with her to pray for her personally. Rufina did meet with her and was a blessing to this woman on another continent.

That was not all! Rufina’s cousin, Alicia, has a friend, Lugardi, who lives in the Netherlands. Lugardi had terminal cancer and did not know Christ, and Alicia knew that Rufina had prayed for people who were sick. So Rufina in Temuco, Chile, and Alicia in Santiago, Chile met online with Lugardi, thousands of miles away in Europe. Rufina was able to share Christ Lugardi. Praise be to God, she received Christ and God also healed her from the cancer. Yet Lugardi didn’t have any in-person support for her new faith. She didn’t know where to go to get any kind of help in her spiritual life.

God forged a connection for Christian fellowship for Lugardi through Russ and Heidi, who have a friend, named Matthew, residing there. Matthew was a former missionary kid in Chile that the Smiths had met decades ago, and he had moved to the Netherlands because he married a Dutch woman. The Smiths reached out to him about Lugardi and said, “We don’t know this lady personally, but she needs spiritual support.” Matthew jumped on it and said he would make contact with this new believer. Not only was he able to make contact, but he’s been visiting her family on a regular basis. Lugardi’s husband, who was an atheist, now trusts in the risen Lord. Their children say, “we want to hear more about Jesus. Tell us more about him.” Not only did God use Rufina to bring His healing power across borders, He also used her alongside the international body of Christ to bring the Gospel to an entire family. Heidi says, “God wasn’t kidding when He said He would use Rufina internationally!”

From Ecuador with Hope: a book review and invitation

This post is in a series of book reviews highlighting works by SAMS missionaries. These books will be available at our SAMS Dinner in September!  You won’t want to miss it!


Written by SAMS Missionary Cameron Vivanco
Reviewed by Denise Cox, SAMS Associate Director

From Ecuador With Hope charms the reader from start to finish. This ABC book introduces each letter of the Spanish alphabet in both Spanish and English. The book engages preschoolers, early elementary kids, and beginning Spanish learners of all ages. We explore the colorful world of the South American country of Ecuador. The underlying theme of hope points to Education=Hope, a ministry of SAMS Missionaries, Cameron and Roberto Vivanco. The ministry provides scholarships to vulnerable students in desperate and difficult circumstances.

Thursday September 22, 2022
Ridgecrest Conference Center

(Reception and book signing are in the room on the left and dinner is in the room on the right. Signs will clearly mark each event.)

4:00 PM reception where you can meet missionary authors and receive signed books.
This will be followed by dinner and special guest speakers. The event will end at 6:45pm.

The whole event, including the books, is complimentary! You may donate as you feel led to partner in the ministry of SAMS.
We look forward to visiting with you!

Immediately preceding:
The New Wineskins Global Missions Conference
September 22-25, 2022

Questions? Email

Building relational bridges for mental health care

Building relational bridges for mental health care

Missionary April Sylvester shares the hope of Christ by building relational bridges through the YANA (You Are Not Alone) Foundation to support Zambian young people in their journey to mental health. The organization provides “Listeners,” makes presentations at schools, and also has a referral program for professional therapy. One person who meets with a Listener was grateful: “[My Listener is] kind and understands me. Some days I get extremely depressed and only look forward to our sessions.”  

April updated her senders recently:

“In the last few months we have been able to ramp up our programs again. At the end of 2021, we had our biggest volunteer training yet! We were overwhelmed with the amount of people that came forward wanting to give their time and effort to support and love on the people around them through volunteer counseling.

“We plan to train more volunteer counselors (we call them Listeners) this year than ever before, so that we can in turn help more people than ever before! Praise God for the wonderful volunteers that have come, and please lift up our trainings to come! Thanks so much for your consistent prayers and support!”


A group of newly trained YANA “Listeners”

Serving alongside the Honduran church to bring hope to marginalized kids

Serving alongside the Honduran church to bring hope to marginalized kids

  – Written by Ana Reid –

Ana is a Missionary Associate, who upon leaving her full-time work in Honduras, still continues to be increasingly active in ministry outreach in several parts of the country.  She visits Honduras regularly and is in constant communication with those she partners with and those she serves, thanks to the commitment of her senders in the United States and the abilities of technology.

One of the communities with which Ana worked during her time in Honduras was Colonia Episcopal, Puerto Cortes – coordinating medical team visits, partnering in community development, and working with the local school.  One of the visiting teams offered Ana the opportunity to open a clinic (Sloan Clinic) at this very marginalized community that sits just meters away from the city dump, which is the main source of income for many families, digging for recyclables to sell. She jumped on the opportunity, led building renovations, hired local personnel and soon the doors were open to serve the community and beyond.  Ana continues to oversee the work at Sloan Clinic, she is also deeply involved with the local primary school and with the many other schools that students move on to once they finish 6th grade.  Ana keeps track of each student’s progress, has open communication with them, with their parents, as well as with the schools. 

 During her years in Honduras Ana also worked with Osman Hope (, a Christian organization that runs four day shelters in 4 different regions, offering educational and nutritional support to children in gang-infested neighborhoods. She assisted in the coordination of conferences and retreats and offered support to the directors of each shelter.

 Now Ana is a very active member of the board and is very involved with the ongoing work, with all the challenges brought by the Covid 19 pandemic.  Ana is especially active with the one shelter that was devastated with the last two hurricanes that hit the country, forcing it to temporarily close its doors. The shelter is now open and Ana is working closely with the local personnel and the church to renovate and bring the shelter to full functionality again.

 Ana’s agenda for her visits to Honduras are always full, even prior to setting foot there.  She schedules meetings with all stakeholders: Clinic personnel, school teachers and directors, sponsored students (the old and the new incoming students to be sponsored) field trips for students, dinner with high school and technical school students, meeting with local church leaders/bishop, meeting with mayor’s office personnel, meal distribution to all the primary and kindergarten students from Colonia Episcopal….and, there is always time made to be with friends, that through the years partner with her in ministry.


The Messenger & Prayer Calendar Spring/Summer 2022 : The Gospel Crossing Cultures in Southern Africa, Uganda, and Honduras

The Messenger & Prayer Calendar Spring/Summer 2022 : The Gospel Crossing Cultures in Southern Africa, Uganda, and Honduras

The newest edition of The Messenger & Prayer Calendar is here, and it has been expanded by four pages to bring you more stories of God’s work around the world through SAMS missionaries!

In this issue:

    • A little girl experiences healing through Christ-centered care
    • New avenues open for Gospel impact through educational technology in East Africa
    • The Good News crosses cultures through the power of narrative
    • Prayer Calendar for Spring/Summer 2022
    • An invitation from Mission Director Stewart Wicker
    • Missionary testimony: Discerning a Call to Missions

Click this button to read it and join us in prayer!