#CarryOnAdvent: Empowering Workers for Christ in Uganda

My dear friends in Christ, greetings to you all. I just want to let you know that on December 4, 2019, I will be heading to Uganda for a mission trip through our organization Teach Men to Fish. SAMS, the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders, is sending me as a Bridger Missionary. I will continue to reach out to the young men and women in the rural area of Mityana whom we have been training with construction skills to become independent and live a decent life. Additionally, we will teach them spiritual values that make us human for God’s glory.

Our spiritual theme for the youth this year is about generosity, compassion, and God’s love for his people. Through our ministry, we are sponsoring the renovation of a maternity facility which is in very bad shape. As we give the apprentices skills, they are also giving back to their own community for the renovation process, to show how God’s love and compassion can be shared with others and, in the long run, build His kingdom. During that period, we will be launching a sustainability program for the youth, for which men from Christ Church in Denver, Colorado campaigned to buy a cinder block/paver making machine. We will buy the machine locally in Uganda, and the launching will be on January 6, 2020. So we are appealing to anyone of you who might have friends or missionaries in Uganda to come and join us in Mityana at the main Namukozi cathedral. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about what our ministry does to empower these young women and men. Let me know if you would like to be part of it and I will send you all the details.
Please, we request your prayers for this undertaking, but we trust in the Almighty who is already ahead of us.
Amen
Patrick Lutalo
Founder of Teach Men to Fish
www.teachmentofish.com

#CarryOnAdvent: ROYAL MISSION

During WWII, the British Crown created a royal image with the text “Keep Calm and Carry On” to encourage the people to press on through a dark time. Our Heavenly King is also calling us to persevere and carry on His mission.

Why #CarryOnAdvent? Advent is a season of past and present waiting – we remember how the Israelites waited for the Messiah and the Magi sought for a King who came as a baby, and we ourselves practice waiting with hope for the second coming of King Jesus. How is God teaching you to wait in joy or lament for Him to make all things new? How is He calling you to carry on His message of hope, whether through persevering yourself or raising up new disciples? Share in the comments below, or on social media with the hashtag #CarryOnAdvent!

Additionally, we have a request for you to prayerfully consider. Here at SAMS, we are answering God’s call to help missionaries “Carry On” in the mission to which God has called them. We forge ties that the global church may carry on the Good News of the coming Kingdom to all. Would you support us in this through a gift or pledge towards the Great Commission Fund?

Check out this video for more information on your Society’s role in the missionary sending process.

Type #CarryOnAdvent into our blog search bar or into social websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for stories of perseverance in Christian mission, and don’t forget to share your own!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV


Living into God’s Dream for Me: A Poem by SAMS Missionary Cathy Donahoe

Living into God’s Dream for Me: A Poem by SAMS Missionary Cathy Donahoe

Living into God’s dream for me

God gave me a desire to be who God created me to be.

Though I fall short,

far too consistently

My God is there to redirect me, yet again

So that I may live into God’s dream for me.

God gave me an interest in other cultures and languages.

To travel and explore is grand,

As is to speak and understand.

But that alone falls short of God’s purpose

So that I may live into God’s dream for me.

God gave me a love of movement.

Selfishly I alone can move or

Combine movement and concern for others

Into the career of physical therapy

So that I may live into God’s dream for me.

God gave me opportunities to blend movement and cultures.

Bringing these interests together

To serve people with problems moving

Living in a distant land with a tongue different from mine

So that I may live into God’s dream for me.

God gave me a desire to teach these gifts to others.

Sharing God’s love

Through actions and words

Teaching others who love movement to care

So that I may live into God’s dream for me.

God gave us a desire to be who God created us to be.

As we all are complex

Not one gift suffices.

God created us to serve in unique ways

So that we may live into God’s dream for each of us.

by SAMS Missionary Cathy Donahoe

Serving in Cambodia as a Missionary and a Mother

Serving in Cambodia as a Missionary and a Mother

SAMS connected with Missionary Heidi Whitaker, serving with her husband and four daughters. Heidi shares what it is like to be a mom and serve as a family in the mission field.

Where do you serve as a missionary and what is your ministry?

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – a very urban setting! Ministry-wise, I wear a number of hats, and find a lot of joy in each of them. Most importantly, I’m a wife and a mom to 4 daughters ages 4-17, and we are expecting our others in 5th child in June. Professionally, I am a pediatrician, and I work part time at a medical clinic teaching and discipling Khmer physicians-in-training.  My husband serves as the priest of an English language international congregation, and I participate  in the church in a variety of ways. 

 

Did you serve as a single person before serving as a family? If so, how does serving as a family differ from serving as a single person?

I did. My experiences serving in these different capacities have been extremely different. As a single, it was much easier for me to study and learn language, and I was able to immerse in the culture more fully. Serving as a family means that a lot of time is spent on running a home and our family – and the fact is that we are an American family that speaks English.

However, having a home and a family means that now I have opportunity to invite others into our home – and we have found that to be an effective, meaningful form of ministry. In moving to Cambodia with a family, my nearest and dearest circle of people came with me, whereas in moving to India and Honduras as a single, I left all of them behind and had to develop a new set of relationships.

Missionary kids are certainly required to make sacrifices – and sometimes it can be hard as parents to watch them make their journey of sacrifice. 

How do you see your children and family as a whole accompanying you in your ministry?

For our family, much of this is shaped by my husband’s role as an international congregation priest. Our older daughters have served in various capacities at the church, including leading the greeter team and the altar team, music ministry, and endless behind the scenes set up/take down/office work type tasks. Our younger daughters have also found simple ways to serve the church, and it is amazing to see the ownership they take and the sense of belonging they feel in the church. From time to time there are also opportunities for them to participate in outreaches or special events at the medical center where I work, and they have enjoyed that as well. 

Where do you find your support as you juggle the tasks of mom, missionary, wife, friend, etc?

Much of it comes from other fellow workers who are in similar roles!  I also find a lot of support from my prayer partner and from my family back home. 

What can other mothers take away from your experience?

I have lived through many stages of motherhood that have looked many different ways – all the way from working crazy full-time-plus hours as resident to being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom. We have a continual challenge to remain open to what the Lord might have as a next step, because some of the turns in the path are hoped for or expected, and others are quite surprising. As in every area of life, we are called to live iwht open hands before the Lord, ready to release or receive whatever he places before us.

What can the readers do to support your family’s missionary work right now?

When we returned for home assignment, it was really helpful to have hand me downs of warm clothes gathered and waiting for us. English books are really hard to find, so we have really appreciated having collections of used books sent over with teams or visitors. As we move toward having children in college, I would love to have a couple of families who would be willing to send an occasional care package – it is very difficult for us to send mail from Cambodia.

Missionary Mom: Stephie Van Wagenen

Missionary Mom: Stephie Van Wagenen

The recent publication of The Messenger features testimonies about moms on the mission field. This article is an extension of this edition. Read The Messenger here.

My husband Hunter and I are currently Missionary Candidates living in Greensboro, North Carolina, and preparing to move to Spain to serve as missionaries on the Camino de Santiago.  Over 300,000 pilgrims a year walk along the ancient paths of the Camino, many seeking something spiritual to fill the void in their lives, and God has called us to establish a hospitality ministry there where we can care for pilgrims and share with them the love of Christ.

Before Hunter and I were married and called to Spain, I lived in Ethiopia and served with a Christian organization called Water is Life International.  I lived with another missionary family, but spent most of my time traveling and working on my own with a team of Ethiopian colleagues.  I often spent long days in the back of a Land Rover, bumping through the bush of southern Ethiopia, spending time in local communities and working on well drilling projects.  Living and serving on the mission field as a single person was very different from what I anticipate it will be like when Hunter and our son Asher and I move to Spain to serve there.  One of my greatest struggles during my three years in Ethiopia was loneliness and living far away from family and friends.  I felt the pressure of “being on my own” in many ways.  While marriage is not a solution to loneliness, I do expect that it will be a very different experience going to Spain and serving as a family unit.  I anticipate there will be great comfort in that.  

My desire is that our ministry would flow out of our family, and that our children would be an active part of it.  Even now in Greensboro, 7-month-old Asher accompanies Hunter on pastoral visits and helps to bring comfort, joy, and peace to others in our congregation.  While this is a simple thing, it represents what we desire for our future ministry with our family.  Once we are established on the Camino, we dream of our children helping with chores around the hostel and bearing the hope of the Gospel to weary travelers.

I am a new mom and it has been a journey figuring out how to juggle all the roles and relationships I am blessed with in my life, especially while we are in the intense season of partner development and preparing to move to the mission field.  I draw support from God, resting in him and leaning on his strength.  Hunter is an incredible support to me and loves and serves me well.  We are extremely blessed by our families, and by our community at Church of the Redeemer who continue to bless us and be so generous to us.  “It takes a village” is no joke!

We continue to pray for God to raise up new partners to step into ministry with us, especially those who have a heart for Europe and the lost.  If anyone is interested in learning more about our ministry, or joining us through prayer and financial support, they can contact me at stephievanwagenen@gmail.com or visit our support page on the SAMS website here.