I [Mary] just returned from an incredible trip with this team (above photo left to right, Jessie Kuniholm, Mary McDonald, Lina Godine and Jack McDonald IV) sharing Christ and giving goats in Uganda. Below is a testimony from vet student Lina:
“Up, up, up we climbed along a dirt path that had been carved into the mountainside by bare, calloused feet that daily trod the red dust. The rolling green hills perched atop each other and reached magnificently toward heaven. Our guides, Batwa children who had run down the mountain to greet us, eagerly led the way to their small village on top of the highest hill. The view was enchanting. Sunflowers, corn rows, and tea tree fields dotted the hillsides like patchwork. Banana leaves waved lazily in the wood-smoke scented breeze, as if to acknowledge our arrival. Next to the hill, densely wooded mountains heralded entrance into the Impenetrable Forest. Those mountains had once been home to the Batwa pygmy people. However, they were expelled from the forest in the late 1980s when it was made into a national park in order to preserve the endangered Mountain Gorillas. No longer able to live the nomadic life of their ancestors, the Batwa turned to agriculture, yet they received little aid and training from their new neighbors, who treated them as outcasts. Our reason for visiting this Batwa village was twofold: 1) to provide animal healthcare training and institute a revolving goat loan program and 2) to provide hope through the message of the Gospel.
We began the workshop by reading scripture to help frame our discussion about why and how we care for animals. Every animal belongs to the Lord (Psalm 50) and He has called us to care for His creation (Genesis 1), (to be a steward is to care diligently for something which is not your own). God Himself is our example of how to care for creation. He is a faithful and generous Creator, providing shelter, food, and water for the animals so that they are satisfied, not just meagerly sustained (Psalm 104). Following this, we began a discussion about goat nutrition. The Batwa joyfully scampered around their hilltop to collect samples of the local forage, and we reviewed which of these plants are nutritious and which are poisonous. A discussion of the importance of daily access to clean water left many villagers surprised that the addition of soap and salt to the goats’ water is unnecessary and potentially harmful. We continued the training on shelter and security, characteristics of sick and healthy goats, and goat reproduction. Yet the real meat of the conversations was not the valuable animal healthcare training, but the presentation of the Gospel after the morning workshop. After all, how can a person recognize the value of an animal and care for it appropriately until they have first recognized their own worth as a human being created by God, loved by God, and called by God to dwell with Him forever?
Our team was treated to a woodfire-cooked lunch consisting of goat (meat is a rare delicacy for many poor villagers), rice, beans, posho (water and finely ground maize cooked to the consistency of rubbery dough), and fresh avocados and bananas. Following the meal, Rev. Dr. Mary McDonald shared the Gospel with a people group much like the ones that Jesus spent time with—the outcasts, the mistreated, the neglected, the marginalized, the people with seemingly no hope, the spiritually lost and thirsty. Into that darkness Jesus shown, and He still shines today. What a true joy and privilege it was to share that Hope with a people group that longs to know that they are noticed and cared for and loved! A holy hush fell over the crowd as the Batwa listened to this Hope and intermittently confirmed its truth with head nods, smiles, and softening countenances. Although it is impossible to know people’s hearts it was exciting to see so many of the pygmies were eager to ask Christ into their lives.
As I listened to this presentation of the Gospel—a message that I have heard many, many times—I was reminded again of the profound power of its simple truths. Friends, let us daily remind ourselves of this joy and hope, and let the knowledge of its power in our lives never become mundane and fade away.”
Thank you for your prayers and support. If you would like to help us as we disciple vet students, minister to internationals, take seminary classes and work in Uganda we really need monthly supporters $25, $50.00 or $100.00 monthly. Would you consider giving?
From SAMS Associate Missionaries Wayne and Nicole Curtis
As you know, we returned to the United States in late February. I will be honest; transitioning back to life in the U.S. has been difficult, much more difficult than I was expecting. It has been a year of ups and downs and mixed emotions, but God has been faithful, seeing us through the rough patches with the love and support of our family, friends, and partners in ministry. For the most part, I think I have struggled more than Wayne. For him, it’s a new country, life, and adventure. For me, it has been a time of emotional and spiritual grappling, trying to redefine what “home” is for me. My old life and home in the U.S. has changed because I have changed, my family has changed, my country has changed. Redefining home has been sad but also joyous. I left as a single person and returned as a wife and mother. My life has never been so full of joy, and I’m beginning to feel more settled as I begin to define home for my family.
We do miss our life and ministry in Cape Town, but we keep up as much as possible with the work of Growing the Church. In October, GtC hosted their fourth International Anglicans Ablaze Conference, and it was the largest one to date. The youth track had more than 750 youth, and I think Wayne and my leadership of the 2014 and 2016 youth tracks helped to make the 2018 one a success too. And in so many other ways, our work still exists in the hands of local South Africans, and that is the way it is supposed to be.
Thank you for supporting us through prayers and finances through the years. It has been a privilege partnering with you in ministry. We are so grateful that you joined us for this chapter of our lives. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to live into this new chapter of our lives.
Dedicated to calling whole-life, whole-world disciples, Urbana is an eye-opening global missions conference, a sacred space for college and graduate students, faculty, and church leaders to hear God’s call. SAMS will once again be at Urbana seeking to connect with young adults who are discerning a call for crossing cultures to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Additionally, the mission network Anglican Global Mission Partners (AGMP), that SAMS is a part of, will exhibit at the conference and for the first time will coordinate a collaborative exhibit in the Outreach Section that will bring together Anglican Frontier Missions, Global Teams, New Wineskins Missionary Network, and Trinity School for Ministry (in the Seminary Section). The partners will be ready, eager to guide and pray for participants as they seek what God might be calling them to. You may discover more at https://urbana.org/.
If you are coming or are sending young adults, please email Jenny Noyes at firstname.lastname@example.org, the AGMP Exhibit Coordinator.
AGMP will also host a Saturday night reception at Urbana. All who have an interest in mission and how Anglicans are engaging in this mission around the world are welcome to join us at a meet and greet reception with food and drink at 9:30 p.m. on December 29. We will gather at J.F. Sanfilippo’s Restaurant (in the Drury Inn & Suites just one block from the Dome at 705 N. Broadway) on Saturday immediately following the evening session. Bring a friend! Contact Nita at email@example.com if you desire more details.
Urbana is letting students know about mission trips in which they can participate. If you have upcoming mission trips planned that would welcome the addition of college students, please email Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org with those details as well.
Following Urbana, SAMS will also be represented at the Cross for the Nations Conference, Louisville, KY, January 2-5. “Cross exists to see our generation live for the most loving cause in the universe: bringing people from every tribe, tongue, and nation into the everlasting joy of knowing and worshiping Jesus.”
Please pray for the SAMS teams composed of missionaries, missionary Bridgers, and staff that will be representing the Society at these upcoming university student and young adult conferences: Urbana Student Missions Conference, December 27-31; Cross for the Nations Conference, January 2-5; and Jubilee, February 22-24. Pray also that many young people will respond to the Lord’s call to the nations.
SAMS and a few SAMS Missionaries will be at Urbana18 and they look forward to meeting you there! Urbana is an eye-opening global missions conference, a sacred space for college and graduate students, faculty, and church leaders to hear God’s call. Are you thinking about your calling to mission, but are not sure where to start? Come talk to these missionaries who have experience in the mission field! They will be there to answer questions as well as pray for you and your own calling to serve in the field by sharing the transforming love of Jesus Christ around the world.
Lucy Chaves, SAMS Missionary to Kenya
Lucy is originally from Kenya and at a young age, she felt drawn to the love of Christ. In the same way that she experienced His kindness and mercy, she wanted to share it with others. Lucy mentors young women and encourages those in difficult circumstances. She and her husband David concentrate their efforts in Nairobi, Kenya, on helping youth to develop a Biblical worldview as well as business skills. IHope Photography is one of the business they helped youth develop. They currently live in Virginia where they are raising their three children, but they make frequent trips to Kenya to encourage those in the ongoing programs. They hope to develop further ministries in Western Kenya.
Jessica Tetirick, SAMS Missionary Bridger to Uganda
A Texas A&M grad, and a CPA, Jessica didn’t have missionary service on her mind. However, after going on a short two-week mission with her church to Malawi, she asked God about her role in mission. God led her to SAMS where she served as a Bridger at Uganda Christian University alongside another SAMS Missionary. While there she was able to use her accounting and work background to teach business classes.
Madeleine Ruch, SAMS Missionary Bridger to Brazil
Madeleine is currently a college student at Wheaton College. She spent last summer serving in Recife, Brazil, as a SAMS Missionary Bridger. While there she served at a daycare center in Recife. While there she helped with any needs included caring for children, educational lessons, and helping with administration. She even helped the office translate some paperwork into English. She also led worship at a local Anglican church and got involved in a young adult small group.
Will these SAMS Missionaries see you at Urbana18? For more information about Urbana and how to register, click here! Find other SAMS Missionaries on the Meet our Missionaries page where you can sort by ministry and country.