SAMS Missionaries Dr. Rusty and The Rev. Tammy Firestone have served in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for nearly two decades. Today, La Trinidad Anglican Church, which Tammy pastored for 10 years, is now under Bolivian leadership. The church actively shares the hope of Christ in word and deed. During months of strict lockdown from the pandemic, small groups have engaged in neighborhood outreach to foster discipleship and care for others. They named the effort “Project Salt.” The small groups have delivered groceries and other essential items to needy neighbors, reminding them – as one elderly woman cried out in joy – that God has not forgotten about them. La Trinidad is living out its mission to be the salt and light of Christ.
Pictured above: Second from right, Rev. Juan Cris is installed as priest at La Trinidad. On the left, Rev. Tammy lifts up the Bolivian pastoral leadership in prayer.
Rev. Tammy shared the Gospel in word and deed at La Trinidad in various capacities for a total of 15 years.
When the pandemic hit, La Trinidad responded by coordinating efforts to deliver groceries to parishioners and neighbors around the city. This was no small feat, as the lockdown was strict and people could only leave home one (assigned) day per week. In this picture, Pastor Juan is getting ready to make a delivery.
In Ambridge, Pa., SAMS has long enjoyed a warm partnership with Trinity School for Ministry (TSM). TSM’s academic buildings are just across and up the street from the SAMS office. SAMS and TSM share an interest in reaching the world with the Gospel through the Anglican church. Recently SAMS Missionary Russ Smith, in Chile, became an adjunct professor of Missions for TSM’s online Spanish Academic Program. Over the summer he taught the class World Mission to eight students from Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. Biblical training helps empower Spanish-speaking church leaders for ministry. As the Lord leads, the Gospel inspires them to share the good news globally. Read more about Russ’s ministry training church leaders on page 19 of TSM’s Seed & Harvest magazine.
In conversation, Russ explains that due to history and culture, Latin Americans are uniquely positioned to bring the Gospel to areas of the globe that are difficult for U.S. citizens to enter.
Mobilizing Latin Americans for mission has been a conviction on Russ’s heart for 41 years. His leadership at the Rural Bible Institute in Chile and now his teaching for TSM help fulfill this calling on his life.
Pictured above: A graduation ceremony of Rural Bible Institute students in Chile. Russ Smith is in the top row on the left.
If you find this topic interesting, you may wish to learn more about the Latin American mission movement here.
As Cameron and Roberto Vivanco serve in ministry in Ecuador, they have found that people return kindness for kindness. In Ecuador, children often lack the basic resources which are required for school – such as textbooks, uniforms or supplies. Without these items, children can’t attend school. The Vivancos work with local clergy to help equip children in the nation’s capital, Quito, with the supplies they need. They provide micro-scholarships through their ministry Education = Hope (E=H). In the summer of 2019, the Vivancos planned a large festival bringing together students in their ministry. Cameron shares how parents of students responded to the festival invitation:
“We had a children’s festival for students of two of our ministry sites with E=H – all in all about 80 students. There were games and dancing and prizes, but the very best part was the parents and volunteers. We thought we would need about 20 volunteers to run everything. We ended up with over 50 parent volunteers alone. I tried to thank them for helping, but they kept coming to me to thank me for the opportunity to give back. They are so thankful for E=H and the micro-scholarships and were thrilled to be able to help us with something.”
When COVID-19 hit Ecuador in March 2020 and the country locked-down, the Vivanco’s ministry helped 170 families in Quito to cope. Many lost their already meager sources of income. The Vivancos coordinated the delivery of groceries and supplies to help families every two weeks. SAMS’ World Relief Fund provided a grant to support this effort. In the midst of the pandemic, the Vivancos are providing data plans to help students continue their education. This allows students to access virtual lessons from home. In the face of suffering from the pandemic, Cameron and Roberto weave ties of community support that will help carry these neighborhoods through.
The Vivanco’s ministry has resourced other local ministries, such as a home for at-risk teens. Students in a residential program have been able to continue their high school and college education through new computers provided by E=H. As these young men study and live together, they are discipled in Christ. These youth, by God’s grace, can one day give back to their communities in Ecuador. Education and discipleship are gifts that keep on giving.