5 Things Young Adults Should Know about Serving as a Missionary

5 Things Young Adults Should Know about Serving as a Missionary

We talked with SAMS Missionary April Sylvester currently serving in Zambia to learn what Young Adults should know about serving as a missionary overseas. Here are five things she wants you to know:

1. Some days will be super busy and exciting! Check out this video of what mission is like in Zambia where I mentor students in a Gap Year program.

2. But other days may not be exciting at all, in fact, most days may not be.

Whenever I tell people I live and serve in Zambia, one of the first reactions is always “Wow that must be exciting!” Well yes and no. In my opinion, if we are doing missions well, we are building a life where we live (whether in America or overseas). And building a life means making things normal and doing mundane things. It means building relationships and routines. It means doing things like grocery shopping and paying car insurance bills. Yes, doing those things may look different than in America, but they will be just as routine and mundane. So your life serving overseas will most likely be just as “exciting” as your life at home. But that’s a good thing! It means you’re doing it right.

3. When you build a life where you serve, you will create lasting and meaningful relationships.

Living in a foreign and new place can be a bit intimidating at first. Reaching out to form friendships can even be a bit taxing, but God placed you in a certain place for a reason. He will put people in your path who will help you, love you, and teach you. You will also help, love, and teach them over things like music or food, but even more importantly Jesus. You will talk about deep and sometimes difficult things as you lead others closer to Jesus and grow together in faith.

4. You will miss important things going on at home – especially if you are a young person like me.

Lots of important life events happen in our 20s and 30s. So if you are a young missionary, you just have to know that that is part of the sacrifice of deciding to live a couple thousand dollars worth of a plane ride away from friends and family. I have had to miss countless weddings. Even those of my best friends. I have missed my brother and sister’s graduation and even my grandmother’s funeral. You will want to be back for every one of these landmarks, but with just one trip home per year, you will have to pick and choose. And there will also be unplanned events that you will have to miss…I was in Zambia when my mom suddenly passed away. And while I made it back for her funeral, my heart still breaks thinking that I didn’t get to hug her like the rest of my family on the day of her stroke. Mourning missing life events comes with the territory of saying yes to the call.

5. You will get your hands dirty.

We took a day trip to a small village. It was the first day of evangelism. As we approached two women building a mud house with their bare hands.  As one team member began to ask them questions like “Do you know God? Do you attend church?” another team member noticed their yellow water cans were empty. He picked them up and walked to fill them, returning with sweat pouring down his face, his hands dirty, and water all over his jeans from the containers sloshing. At that moment I realized that is the kind of missionary I wanted to be. It is not uncommon for church service to be 5 hours long and school is notoriously lecture-based. So how many times do we come across someone who is not concerned with words but is willing to get down into the mud of life with us? It means being able to really see people and their needs. Sometimes you will sweat, learn, and love your way towards that goal.

Are you a young adult or know a young adult that is interested in serving cross-culturally? Meet up with SAMS at Urbana 2018 Missions Conference, an eye-opening global missions conference, a sacred space for college and graduate students, faculty, and church leaders to hear God’s call. Register here and drop a comment below to let us know if you will be attending!

April Sylvester

SAMS Missionary to Zambia

April is involved in an outreach ministry to Zambian youth that involves discipleship and mission training. Her home church is Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. Support April here.

5 Mission-minded Books to Read

5 Mission-minded Books to Read

Here is a short list of books that focus on mission and other related topics. What mission focused books have you read and recommend? Leave a comment!

 

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness

The Call continues to stand as a classic, reflective work on life’s purpose. Os Guinness goes beyond our surface understanding of God’s call and addresses the fact that God has a specific calling for our individual lives.

Why am I here? What is God’s call in my life? How do I fit God’s call with my own individuality? How should God’s calling affect my career, my plans for the future, my concepts of success?  According to Guinness, “No idea short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose and fulfillment.” With tens of thousands of readers to date, The Call is for all who desire a purposeful, intentional life of faith.

 

Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

Through Gates of Splendor is the true story of five young missionaries who were savagely killed while trying to establish communication with the Auca Indians of Ecuador. The story is told through the eyes of Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the young men who was killed. Elisabeth Elliot is also a founding member of SAMS-USA.

 

When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good.

But it looks ahead. It encourages us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the materially poor, and to know that we are all uniquely needy—and that God in the gospel is reconciling all things to himself.

Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts provides proven strategies for effective poverty alleviation, catalyzing the idea that sustainable change comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out.

 

Getting Sent: A relational approach to support raising by Pete Sommer

Raising support is one of the most difficult challenges facing Christians in ministry. Fears of rejection, concerns about biblical validity, feelings of not being deserving, anxiety about limited resources can all block us from obtaining the means to fulfill our calling.

Getting Sent both affirms that God uses the Christian community to send us into ministry and demystifies the process. This down-to-earth handbook offers a clear, biblical perspective, gives step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the tools unique to each person’s support-raising task, explains exactly why people do and don’t give, and much more

 

Waterbuffalo Theology

by Kosuke Koyama

Kosuke Koyama was a Japanese theologian and former missionary to northern Thailand. Waterbuffalo Theology gives a very interesting picture of cross-cultural missions with some of the theological and practical issues that arise in regard to contextualization.

Juan and Maria Marentes Ministry Update

Juan and Maria Marentes Ministry Update

With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

 (Mark 10: 27)

 

October 2018

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As Maria Isabel and I were praying on Mark 10: 17-31 (The rich Young Man) we re-discovered a brief and marvelous elucidation of the Gospel: If you want to partake of eternal life, you have to risk everything on which you trust for your safety and stability, share those things with the needy… leave everything behind… and then follow Jesus. Later on, He will multiply everything you gave away (not without troubles/persecutions), and in the age to come He will give you the ‘bonus’ of eternal life.

We can tell you from the bottom of our hearts how true is the Gospel. In our long missionary career we have left ‘something’ behind, and God has already abounded in countless blessings at every level of life. However, we are currently going through a temporary trouble*. Our SAMS Missionary Account has become below zero. Nobody expects, and let alone desires that kind of hardship. We invite all of you, dear friends and supporters, to join us in giving thanks for the multiple blessings we have enjoyed in the past, and also to pray to God, so He would send us the generous and sacrificial support we urgently need to make our ends meet. God is great and good all the time. We trust Him from the bottom to the top.

With the advice and blessing of our Bishop, we are now mostly concentrated in three places: Iglesia de la Gracia, a new ministry we started on the day of Pentecost in Oceanside, CA. This is part of Grace Anglican Church. We are learning a lot through the combined efforts of some Hispanics and   ‘Anglos’ (regardless their level of Spanish) with a heart for the Latino people and our culture. We have come to understand how crucial is having a good soil for the seed. The ‘Anglos’ are the good soil for the seed -the newcomers-, who experience God’s love, grace and acceptance from the seasoned believers.

Maria Isabel continues deeply committed in a discipleship path with a bilingual group at St. Stephen’s Anglican in Tustin, CA. Both of us are still connected with Christ the King Church-plant in Ramona. CA We’re praying for opportunities to connect to the Hispanic Community there, starting especially in Advent and Christmas seasons.

*  Our current need is US$15,000.00 to bring our Missionary Account where it needs to be. You can, as always, either send a check to SAMS (with “For the Marentes” in the memo line), or go to the SAMS website. This is the new link:

 

https://give.sams-usa.org/missionary/juan-and-maria-marentes

 

The snail-mail address of SAMS is: PO Box 399, Ambridge, PA 15003.   If you need more details, please contact Denise Cox at DeniseCox@sams-usa.org, Phone (724) 266 0669. She is the SAMS’ Associate Director

We give thanks to the Lord for having you as faithful and tireless supporters over the past years. May God’s richest blessings come on you, your families and ministries.

 

Versión en Español

Al releer una porción del Evangelio de Marcos (10: 17-31) pudimos volver a entender el Evangelio en pocas palabras: “Si quieres tener Vida Eterna, tienes que arriesgar todo lo que significa seguridad y estabilidad para ti… compartir esas cosas con los necesitados… dejar todo atrás y seguir a Jesús. La promesa firme es que El multiplicará todo lo que abandonaste -aún en esta vida- y luego te dará como ‘bonificación’ la Vida Eterna.” El complemento de la promesa es que, no por ello desaparecerán mientras tanto todos los problemas y dificultades.

Hasta el día de hoy podemos dar testimonio de la certeza de la promesa de Jesús, el Señor. Lo poco que hemos dejado atrás se ha tornado en ricas bendiciones a todo nivel. Sin embargo no faltan ni faltarán las dificultades. En estos días, por primera vez en 24 años, nuestros fondos para la Misión están bajo cero. Les pedimos el favor de unirse en oración con nosotros para que el Señor, dueño de todos los recursos en el mundo, mueva a corazones generosos que puedan apoyarnos como siempre en el pasado.

Tenemos ministerio interesante en tres lugares, vinculados a Iglesias Anglicanas locales: 1) Grupo de discipulado bilingüe en Irvine, CA., 2) Iglesia de la Gracia, ministerio Hispano, en Oceanside, CA., 3) Exploración de posibilidades de acercamiento a la comunidad Hispana en Ramona, CA.

Hemos agregado arriba los enlaces para donaciones a través de SAMS, nuestra agencia misionera.

Oramos también por ustedes, amigos y socios en la Misión de llevar el Evangelio hasta los confines de la tierra.

The Rev. Juan B & Maria I Marentes

 

 

Bridging Cultures: What You Need to Know about Short-term Mission

Bridging Cultures: What You Need to Know about Short-term Mission

What if you are looking for missionary experience, but you are not ready for a year-long commitment? Or perhaps you are discerning if long-term service is where God is calling you. SAMS has a short-term missionary program that will help you discern the next steps in your vocation and explore your potential missionary call. Are you ready to become a Missionary Bridger?

What is a Bridger?

A Bridger expands the bridge of service between missionaries and churches across the world!

What’s the point?

You will meet the desire for serving longer than traditional short-term mission work of two weeks, yet shorter than missionary service of three years.  Some want to extend ministry for a longer period of time than a short-term mission offers while others want to discern further the Lord’s calling for long-term missionary service.

How does a Bridger internship work?

Missionary Bridgers are partnered with and mentored by an experienced SAMS long-term missionary.  Missionary Bridgers have served with missionaries in Africa, Europe, South America, and Central America. SAMS’ Missionary Bridgers are often assigned a “Cultural Link Person” from their host country who will help them manage ordinary life experiences like going to the bank, locating a store, or navigating transportation.  Some Missionary Bridgers will also have formal language lessons.

How old do I have to be?

SAMS sends Missionary Bridgers from many age groups—pre-career, mid-career, and post-career.  To be considered for a SAMS internship, it is necessary for the applicant to have completed high school or the equivalent of high schoolat least one year beofre beginning the program.  You must be at least 18 years old at the beginning of your internship.  Some of our applicants are college graduates, currently enrolled in college, or have no college experience at all.   We look for Christians who are seeking God’s will for their lives and we consider life experiences as indicators of the applicant’s qualification to serve as a SAMS Missionary Bridger.

What is required to be a Bridger?

Accepted Missionary Bridgers will be required to attend a Missionary Bridger Training Workshop (3-day intensive conference in Ambridge, PA).  The primary focus of this workshop is to build relationships with Missionary Bridger applicants so that we can better serve you as you serve Christ in your later determined host country.  In the workshop we will discuss individual Missionary Bridger placement, expectations for the placement, cultural adaptation and, because Missionary Bridgers raise their own financial support like our long-term missionaries, we will develop your personal intern budget and prepare you to start raising your own support.  The training will be offered periodically so that at least six months prior to your departure date, you will be prepared for your placement and to raise financial and prayer support.

What can I except to achieve?

Grow personally in all aspects, especially spiritually as you face a new environment and the challenges that accompany it.

Expand your vision of God at work in the world.

Discover and develop gifts for ministry, increasing your effectiveness for wherever God calls you.

Discern next steps in your vocation, and particularly explore potential missionary call.

Offer yourself as a living sacrifice serving others under the guidance of your missionary mentor.

Build Christ-centered relationships with those God calls you.

Encourage your sending church by being an extension of their ministry and seeking to bridge the church to the world.

So, how do I sign up?

If you are interested in pursuing a Missionary Bridger internship with SAMS, please contact Lynn, SAMS Short-term Missions Coordinator at lynnbouterse@sams-usa.org.

 

A Realization About Giving

A Realization About Giving

The other night, my thoughts about Giving were rocked.

We have been studying spiritual giftings and the one for this week was giving. Growing up in Christian subculture in America, I have a very specific view of giving. The first thing to come to mind was the love language of gift giving. Gary Chapman names it as one of the 5 love languages.

But our pastor this evening defined giving a bit differently. Giving is the ability and desire to grab onto a vision.

“Huh.” I thought. “I have never thought of it like that.” When you give, you are giving to a vision of the future. A birthday present is a vision of a happy individual with a long life. A gift to building fund is a vision for a structure that will affect the community. And a gift to (say) a missionary in Zambia, is a vision for a thriving global community.

The more I thought about it, the more I LOVE this definition of giving as a spiritual gift and discipline.

You, my wonderful partners, have ALL exercised the spiritual gift of giving my grabbing onto the vision I have been called to here in Zambia to raise up healthy and world-changing youth. Your gifts and prayers are not just gifts and prayers. They are a physical manifestation of holding onto that amazing vision.

So I wanted to thank you for grabbing ahold of the vision with me! Together, we are creating the Kingdom on earth.

By April Sylvester

By April Sylvester

SAMS Missionary to Zambia