Goats, the Gospel, & COVID-19

Goats, the Gospel, & COVID-19

The van door slid open and as Dr. Mary stepped out, a deafening cry arose from the village grandmother as she hurriedly shuffled towards us, shaking her cane in the air in an enthusiastic greeting.  The other women quickly took up the welcome cry and soon Dr. Mary was engulfed in an excited swarm of villagers, all eager to welcome her back to St. Luke’s Church in Gulu, Uganda.  Two years earlier, Dr. Mary had taught an animal healthcare workshop and distributed female goats to parishioners as part of a revolving goat loan.  Villagers are required to return the first female goat offspring back in to the program as payment for their goat loan, and then they are free to keep all goat offspring after that.  The goats (and the knowledge of how to properly take care of them) provide a sustainable source of income for the villagers, empowering them to start climbing out of material poverty.  The income earned from the goats allows these villagers to buy enough food to have a daily meal, or pay school fees and provide an education for their children, or pay for basic healthcare needs, and so much more.  It is no wonder at all that Dr. Mary was received with such joy.  She had revolutionized this little community by encouraging them in their faith and by providing for their physical needs.  In front of my very eyes, she was living out Jesus’ words, “Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) 

Our team was ushered into the church and greeted warmly by the men of the village.  As the day’s training lessons began, we had the wonderful privilege of hearing testimonies from community members who had received a goat from the previous distributions.  One lady stood proudly at the front of the church and shared how she had not received a goat during the initial distribution, but she had waited patiently for someone to return a goat back into the program for her to take home.  After much waiting, she was overjoyed to receive her very own goat kid.  Unfortunately, a few weeks later the goat broke loose from its rope and wandered into a latrine pit where it died.  The owner was devastated.  Patiently, she waited to receive another goat.  God was faithful to provide for her need, and she soon was given a new goat.  In less than two years, her goat produced eight goat kids!!  She was so deeply grateful for this gift that when her time came to pay back her loan, she returned two goats back into the program instead of just one!  Truly, the Lord loves a cheerful giver and has blessed her generosity.

We proceeded with the training, a repeat of the workshop we had done with the Batwa.  The Acholi people of this Gulu community sat attentively in their church pews, soaking up every word of instruction and laughing hysterically at our whimsical “goat birthing” demonstration skits.  Dr. Mary reiterated to this group that we are blessed in order that we may be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2-3).  The success of the revolving goat loan program depends on this concept.  If we hoard all the blessings we are given, the blessings cease to flow and no one else will benefit.  But if we bless others out of the blessings we have been given, the blessings continue to flow through us and reach many more lives.  The congregation of St. Luke’s understood this message and lived it out, as they had already given over 50 goats back into the program.  After the training workshop, we were approached by a young man named Boniface.  He had come to thank us for teaching him the basics of how to care for a goat.  “I have not received a goat from the program yet,” he explained, “but I think the knowledge that I received today is worth far more to me than receiving a goat today.  I will continue to wait for a goat, but even if I do not get one through this program, I know that I can now properly take care of a goat, and maybe one day I can buy one.  Thank you so much for teaching me!”  

“Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.”  ~John D. Rockefeller Jr.  

The story above is about the ministry of SAMS Missionary Rev. Dr. Mary McDonald. Her former student Lina Godine wrote this account after a mission trip to Uganda. Mary, a veterinarian and deacon, organizes a health and economic development outreach in Gulu, Uganda. Over the past ten years she has been doing goat revolving loans with the poor. In this picture, she and some women pray a blessing over a goat. During the training and the distribution of “Gospel Goats” the good news is shared. Many come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. As part of our World Relief Initiative, Mary and SAMS are helping the Anglican Diocese of Northern Uganda to provide food for families struggling under COVID-19 lockdown. Food relief enables families to continue to raise their goats for milk rather than for meat.  Also, funds are being sent to the diocese to provide more goats to needy families. In this situation, the World Relief Fund provides both short-term relief and long-term development.

Feeding the Mind, Body, & Soul in Ecuador

Feeding the Mind, Body, & Soul in Ecuador

SAMS is sharing missionary updates about ways ministry is adapting because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many missionaries are already called to areas of great need, and those needs are increasing in light of the pandemic. We invite you, as you are able, to provide these dioceses and communities resources through the SAMS World Relief Fund. More information is on our website.

[Video Transcript Below]

Starting in March, obviously, all of a sudden life changed drastically here in Ecuador, where the capital city of Quito – the entire nation – has been on lockdown. I think we’re on day 48 or 49. We have martial law from 2:00 PM until 5:00 AM. So you’re not allowed to step outside your door from those times – so the buses have stopped. Public transportation is stopped.

People are in desperate situations. People are being laid off, obviously, which means no income. But most of our students and their families are in – they were in desperate situations anyway. Their families are going out at night and going through trash to do recycling. And that’s how they make their money. They might make 100 or 200 dollars a month by going through other people’s trash to get out recycling, but with the martial law they can’t go do that. And they have they have no access to earning money and are in some really desperate and difficult places even more so.

The way E=H (Education = Hope) works is that we come alongside the church and we resource the church so that the church can take care of its people, [and] has the resources to take care of its people and they have their own … committee and they have their application process because they know who really needs help in their neighborhood and who is playing the system.

So it’s really an amazing system that God had set up from the beginning, using that same network to continue to walk with people.  But instead of just doing education now we’re doing a little bit more. As we have transitioned from development to relief – relief being that E=H funds are now available for groceries and for medicine, and of course for education – it’s the same system that’s working so perfectly because we are supporting the local priests and the pastors and they’re still connected to their community.

We have the incredible privilege of walking alongside them in relief. As we find the resources, we’re able to go buy 50 pound bags of rice, or two or three cases of oil, or lentils, or tuna, or fresh fruits and vegetables, toothpaste, disinfectants, soap, feminine products, diapers – those precious necessities that you don’t even really think about until you don’t have access to them and you can’t buy them. So we’re able to buy that in bulk and then we deliver it to the different ministry sites. Then they make packages for each family depending on the number of people in the family, depending what their families’ needs are. They’re able to then deliver the groceries or the supplies and do some pastoral care with social distancing with masks and, you know, talking to you from six feet way, but able to do some pastoral care and able to do discipleship along the way.

So they’re feeding the mind, the body, the soul, all of it together. I’ve gotten several texts from moms especially saying “thank you, you have no idea” – [pause] I get a little emotional – “You have not only fed us, but you’ve taken away my depression, my anxiety.”

SAMS Missionaries are offering practical help in the communities they’re called to during the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Relief Fund provides them the resources to keep sharing the gospel in practical ways.

#CarryOnAdvent: Come alongside the Global South through theological education

SAMS-USA Board Vice Chairman John Macdonald details an exciting opportunity for those gifted and trained for theological education to serve God. SAMS is pleased to #CarryOnAdvent by sending missionaries who will equip leaders in the global church to carry on the Good News of Christ’s coming kingdom to all.

A Unique and Fulfilling Opportunity

In the midst of unprecedented renewal and revival, the Christian faith is spreading at a rapid pace in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
At the same time, the vast majority of Christian leaders, whether they be ordained or lay, have not received adequate theological education.
SAMS-USA is engaged in a program to recruit faculty with post-graduate degrees to teach in select theological colleges around the world in order to help with this problem.

  • Do you have a post-graduate degree in theology, biblical studies, or ministry that is underutilized?
  • Are you on a teaching faculty and are considering where to spend your sabbatical?
  • Are you retired from teaching and are looking for a way to offer your knowledge and experience?

What is the need?

The need for good, orthodox theological education in the Global South is becoming more and more critical with each passing year. We can rejoice that renewal and revival is taking place in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and other places around the world. Yet the result is that Christian leadership, grounded in biblical orthodoxy, is acutely needed.

What is the answer?

How is it then that theological education can be improved in those areas of the world where the Church is growing at a rapid pace? The answer lies in recruiting and providing qualified faculty to teach in various Anglican theological institutions around the world. Some of these colleges are in the process of becoming accredited by their own country’s ministry or department of education, and they urgently need doctoral-level faculty in order to be accredited and given degree-granting status. There are other equipping institutions where teachers with master’s degrees are being requested.

Where is the need?

There is a need for theological educators in established schools, schools expanding programs, and newly formed schools across the globe.

What are the next steps?

I am interested.
Through SAMS-USA (The Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders), a program is being launched to recruit and prepare possible candidates for these overseas positions whether it be for one year, two years, or longer. While the candidate would need to raise support for their transportation, monthly stipend, and benefits (including health insurance and retirement plans through SAMS), the expectation is that the host institution would provide housing and other amenities thus reducing the amount of financial support needed.
The length of service is based on the candidate’s availability, whether it be for a single term or for one or two years—or more. After attending a Crossroads Conference sponsored by SAMS-USA and meeting the requirements for missionary service, the candidate and spouse (if applicable) will receive support-raising preparation, two weeks of pre-field orientation and other necessary training that will all be provided by SAMS-USA.

Is God calling you?

For further information, please contact:
Denise Cox, Associate Director
The Rev. Canon Dr. John A. Macdonald
Vice Chair, SAMS-USA
Associate Professor Emeritus of Mission and Evangelism
Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA 15003

#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.
Patrick Lutalo
Founder of Teach Men to Fish


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