Kenya Connection continues discipleship work among students and parents in Kenya

Kenya Connection continues discipleship work among students and parents in Kenya

Lucy Chaves is a SAMS Associate Missionary serving mostly in western Kenya in conjunction with Kenya Connection, a ministry that she leads. She recently was in Kenya meeting with ministry partners in three areas: Siaya County the primary town within the Diocese of Maseno West, in Kilifi County among the Giriama people in an area that is predominantly Muslim, and in then in Nairobi.

In Siaya County they adopted a local primary school that was founded by the Anglican Church. They worked with the parents of students and with the students themselves,  encouraging them in the faith and in their studies. Two of their students have both qualified for government scholarships for college.

The Giriama parents in Kilifi County were very responsive to instruction and counseling in encouraging their children to seek Christ and excel in their studies. Most of our students in Kilifi are Muslim and the Kenya Connection team experienced the spirit of unity despite the different religious backgrounds. Parents were asked to express at least one thing that they appreciated about their child, which is not an easy thing to do,  especially in a culture where feelings of love and gratitude are demonstrated rather than said. Thankfully, many parents rose up to the occasion and affirmed their children. The team is grateful for the partnership they have with Reverend Moses and Mrs. Jane Oduor, and their leadership and mentorship.


In the Nairobi, the Kenya Connection team has approximately 45 students in High School, and the team emphasizes discipleship and responsibility to the students, while encouraging the parents to be active and present in their children’s life. They host a six-month discipleship program for those who graduate from high school. The program also includes job skills training and a newly established apprenticeship program. Following this meeting, staff member Asherry Wesonga, dedicated his weekends to setting up discipleship/fellowship for the parents. We have formed a relationship with the C.S Lewis Institute and we have been allowed to use one of their resources, The Ufalme experience which was tailor-made for Kenyan audiences. This is a double blessing for us because our media team in Nairobi helped the C.S Lewis institute to film the Ufalme project.

Allen Gardiner: Charting the Course for the Global Mission of SAMS

Allen Gardiner: Charting the Course for the Global Mission of SAMS

“Grant O Lord, that we may be instrumental in commencing this great and blessed work; but should Thou see fit in Thy providence to hedge up our way, and that we should even languish and die here, I beseech Thee to raise up others and to send forth labourers into this harvest. Let it be seen, for the manifestation of Thy Glory and Grace that nothing is too hard for Thee…” (prayer excerpt from Gardiner’s recovered journal, 1851)

The Anglican Calendar on September 6th commemorates Captain Allen Francis Gardiner, founder
and missionary of SAMS, the South American Missionary Society. Gardiner’s story is little known
today, but well worth telling, both for his unparalleled tenacity and the difficulties he faced, as
well as the role he played in helping chart the course of Anglican cross-cultural mission
engagement. His story set the stage for the ongoing endeavors that continue around the world
today through missionary societies such as SAMS.

Anglican Missions Accelerate in the 19th Century
The 19th century in Britain marked a period of spiritual awakening and an increasing awareness of
the world beyond Britain’s shores. Revival within the Church of England spread beyond the
church. Conscious of the need for reform, duty, and new opportunities opening up all over the
world, the British people, and Christians in particular, began gathering to contribute the best they
had to give, energized to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to people beyond Britain.

In conjunction with this sense of endeavor, the growth of the British Navy gave grander
perspective of the world and its peoples. Men like David Livingstone were able to gain worldwide
acclaim combining geographical exploration, service to country, and missionary work among
people groups hitherto unknown. Global exploration and map-making became a worldwide
interest, and if missionaries like Livingstone were not blazing the trail, they were not far behind.
Early exploration and mapping expeditions were conducted for hydrographic surveys along the
Patagonian coasts and the Magellan Strait. The best-known of these expeditions was that of
Captain Fitzroy’s HMS Beagle, made famous by the writings of one scientist aboard, a young
Charles Darwin. Darwin later popularized these expeditions through a series of published journals
that were immensely popular, and along with other published reports captured the imaginations of
many in Britain.

One of the people groups encountered by this group of English explorers were the Yaghan, whom
Darwin described as the least civilized people on earth (and possibly even “the missing link”). It
was to the Yaghan that Allen Gardiner was ultimately called.

Gardiner’s British naval service

Allen Gardiner was born into a Christian family in Berkshire in 1794. Like many British boys
during this time, he yearned for adventure. Discovered asleep on the floor by his mother as a
young boy, upon awaking told her of his intention to travel the world, and so, wished to accustom
himself to hardship. He entered the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth in 1808. At age sixteen he
volunteered to join the HMS Fortunee. During the War of 1812, he served as a midshipman aboard
the Phoebe and received recognition for heroism in the capture of the American frigate Essex in
the Pacific (the inspiration for several books and the 2003 film Master and Commander—though
in that adaptation the French were substituted for the Americans as the enemy).

His return to England two years later meant a commission to lieutenant and subsequent service
around the world. Eventually, he was promoted to Captain, but with the Royal Navy being
downsized in peacetime, there were no ships for him to command. Despite his service, and love of
the sea, the naval experience was a godless life in which the truths of the Bible and what he had
learned as a boy were mocked. But his mother’s prayers remained with him.

A Significant Turn

While on leave in Portsmouth, he ventured into town one day to a shop that sold Bibles. One of his
biographers described him as being ‘so ashamed to go into the shop to buy it, he spent time
walking up and down to make sure no one saw him do so.’ He then experienced in succession a number of deaths including that of his Godly mother, and later, his wife, which drove him to become a man of prayer. These experiences had a great effect on him and shortly thereafter he wrote from Cape Town:

“The last time I visited, I was walking the broad way, and hastening by rapid strides to the
brink of eternal ruin. Blessed be His name, who loved us, and gave Himself for us, a
great change has been wrought in my heart, and I am now enabled to derive pleasure
and satisfaction in hearing and reading the Word of Life, and attending the means of

God Calls

On a voyage returning from China, Gardiner spent some time in Tahiti, where one Sunday he was
personally struck by the quiet contentment and peace in the transformed lives of Tahitian
Christians. He returned to London in 1834 offering himself for missionary service to the London
Missionary Society, whose work in Tahiti had so blessed him. He earnestly felt that the Lord
wanted him in South America, but neither the London Missionary Society, the Church Missionary
Society (CMS), nor the Baptist Missionary Society had any work on that continent, nor were they
willing to start anything new there. Eventually, he accepted a position with CMS in South Africa,
working among the Zulus on the Tongaat River, but left after four years, when tribal warfare made
it impossible to continue his work. Today he is remembered in the city of Durban as one of its

With no society to sponsor him, Gardiner began exploring opportunities to work in South America
on his own. He arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1838 and worked his way around the coast to Chile,
distributing Bibles in Portuguese and Spanish, noting several openings for missionary work, but
his heart remained with the native peoples. Leaving his family in Concepcion, Chile, he crossed
the Andes to try to work among the Huilliche-Mapuche people. Suspicion among the natives and
opposition from Catholic clergy thwarted his efforts there.

The Beginning of SAMS

Back in England, Gardiner began writing letters and pamphlets to call attention to the need for
taking the Gospel to South America. He wrote in his letters that ‘all the world was his parish,’ and
he was content to seek out people alone to reach those who were without hope and without God.
Friends in England received letters of appeal from him for help with funding to support the
mission. He appealed to the established mission societies but was turned down. In 1844, he finally
organized a society for the work in South America. Initially called the Patagonian Missionary
Society, as that seemed the most likely spot to make inroads at the time, it was renamed the South American Missionary Society in 1851, in honor of Gardiner and his desire to expand the original mission from Patagonia into all of South America. Gardiner made successive missions with companions to South America, including Bolivia, but ultimately set his sights on Tierra del Fuego.

The Final Journey

Gardiner learned more with each mission he attempted. He had decided they needed their own
120-ton schooner as a base of operations in the islands at the southern tip of the world. When the
cost for such a ship became too expensive, he had two 26-foot launches built, named Speedwell
and Pioneer. Gardiner left England from Liverpool aboard the Ocean Queen on September 7,
1850. Aboard the ship were the two launches and six companions – Joseph Erwin, Dr. Richard
Williams, John Maidment (a catechist), and three Cornish fishermen, John Badcock, John Bryant,
and John Pearce. They landed on Picton Island in December with six months of provisions. They
had difficulty engaging with the Yahgans who eluded them, and when they did engage, met
resistance and attack. But the more pressing issue was the limited food on hand. The men had their
rifles, but somehow had departed the Ocean Queen without unloading their gunpowder, which severely
limited their ability to hunt, making them dependent upon what little seafood they could find along
the coast.

By the end of six months with no sign of further supplies, sickness, hunger, and exposure to one of
the worst climates on the globe began taking their toll. In June, Badcock, was the first to die,
followed by Williams. Then, in August, it was the turn of Erwin and Bryan; then Pearce; then, on
September 4th, Maidment. The last entry in Gardiner’s journal was dated Friday, September 5th,

“If a wish was given to me for the good of my neighbor it would be that the Mission
in Tierra Del Fuego be pursued with vigor. Butt the Lord will direct and do
everything because time and reason are His, your hearts are in His hands… great
and marvelous are the loving kindnesses of my gracious God unto me.”

When the Admiralty supply ship, the John Davison, finally arrived in late October, Gardiner had
been dead for six weeks. Lying beside him, they found his journal.

News of Gardiner’s Death

The news of Gardiner’s death was reported in The Times with an editorial deploring the foolish
waste of the lives of a cultured Englishman and his companions and of the money spent on hordes
of savages. There arose a nationwide protest against this view, as Englishmen contrasted their lifestyle with Gardiner’s self-denying vocation. Gardiner and his companions were like the
kernel of wheat Jesus talked about which, unless it falls into the ground and dies, “remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” The Lord honored Gardiner’s prayers, sending forth laborers into His harvest in South America, many of whom also became fallen kernels of wheat.

One such kernel that bore fruit was in a young English Missionary named Thomas Bridges.
George Pakenham Despard, who assumed leadership of the Society in Gardiner’s absence, had
found baby Thomas on a bridge and adopted him. When Despard felt called upon to continue
Gardiner’s work with the Yaghans, he took the 13-year-old Thomas along with him to Keppel
Island in the Falklands. The new strategy was to bring a few Yaghans over at a time to learn their
language and teach them the faith, then resettle them among their tribespeople. Bridge’s young
mind quickly absorbed the Yaghan language and he became a fluent speaker and interpreter.
After another attempt by missionaries in 1859 to establish a base in Yaghan territory resulted in
their massacre by the natives, Bridges visited the Yaghan settlements in complete weakness and
vulnerability. Unthreatened by Bridges, and moved by the forgiveness he brought, the Yaghans at
last received the Good News. Those who were baptized included several who had killed Bridge’s
friends. Later a ship sank offshore, but the Yaghans who in the past would have killed the sailors,
risked their lives to save them. Their transformation in Christ was so dramatic that even Charles
Darwin became a committed giver to SAMS.

Gardiner’s Seed Bears Fruit

Today through SAMS-USA
The seed of Gardiner and his companion’s efforts continued to call many into mission in South
America after his death. Those efforts continued spreading to South America and other countries
where Societies were founded to join in the vision to reach the continents with the Gospel. It
wasn’t until 1976, however, that the U.S. branch of SAMS was founded by a group of mission-
minded Episcopalians concerned about missional drift and dilution.

Today the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (1) is a sending organization which works
alongside the Anglican Church in the sending out what today equates to 117 total missionaries
serving 29 countries around the world. SAMS’ purpose, like Gardiner’s, is to serve the church
throughout the world in obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission. Our Society partners with
Anglican churches and dioceses overseas, and therefore, works to place missionaries where they
can take full advantage of well-established relationships in a given cultural context in order make
disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ.

SAMS emphasizes the crucial role of the Sender as much as the Missionary, and seeks to mobilize
the church to pray, encourage, communicate with, and financially support a missionary’s cross-
cultural ministry. The Society also comes alongside those who feel called to serve long-term or
short-term, to mutually discern their call, and once confirmed, provides the necessary language and
cultural coaching and training in raising financial support.

If you meet a SAMS Missionary and get to know them and their own stories, one trait will surely
emerge. Not unlike the Apostle Paul, Allen Gardiner, or Thomas Bridges, they’ll exhibit that
mysterious Grace to derive energy from opposition, tenacity from hardship, and courage from
rejection. As the tribal adage goes, ‘God has created lands with lakes and rivers for man to live,
and the desert so that he may find his soul.’



Author:  Brendan Kimbrough; Contributors: Dana Priest and Stewart Wicker

(1) SAMS maintained the acronym, but changed its name in 2009, from the South American Missionary Society
to the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders. The change better reflected the emphasis
on the combined role that both Missionaries and Senders play in any cross-cultural work as well its alignment
with global Anglicanism, further reflecting the global nature of its missionary placements.

Using Prayers of the Bible as Models for your Prayers (Part IV)

Using Prayers of the Bible as Models for your Prayers (Part IV)

In this fourth part we continue with the premise from Part I, that much of the content of our prayers can wisely be modeled after the prayers we read in Scripture; and in this particular example, from Paul’s prayers in Colossians Chapter 1. (For a bit more context please see the previous blog post of Part 1 of this series , Part 2 of the series and Part 3. Note: this excerpt is directed toward the Sender who is seeking guidance in the prayer support of a missionary.

“… and increase in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)

The personal devotional life of your worker is at stake here. On the field there are many factors that can lead to spiritual drought:

  1. Your worker may become so busy “working for the Lord” that there is no time for personal intake. He does not take the time to be still and hear from the Lord. The missionary’s head can still nod at the appropriate times; his public prayers can still sound holy; his teaching can still be most proper! Unfortunately, though, he knows the life of the Spirit is gone.
  2. Loneliness haunts many cross-cultural workers. More susceptible, of course, are single adults. This can lead to seeking inappropriate relationships, which can lead to spiritual dryness. One single woman was continually being harassed by the married people about ‘getting married.’ Unfortunately she found relief from this pressure in a local bar! A kind married couple became her confidants.
  3. Expectations of the people back home are not met. Some think, “We are paying the bill. We want to see some results.” And generally these results are in the number of conversions. One friend wrote from a very difficult field. He knew that his major work would be “breaking up fallow ground” and he had communicated that to his support team members. But, after six months the people back home were wanting ‘statistics!’ He had none. He was discouraged.
  4. Failure in task takes its toll on some. Discouragement debilitates. This downward spiral of morale is slippery. At the bottom of the slide are many spiritually depleted field workers. Often, these burned-out workers do not realize that they should go home. They become an embarrassment to the mission endeavor, a drain on the energies of others who are trying to help them and a dismal blot on the testimony of God’s Church in the world.
  5. Disillusionment can bring an awful frustration, which in turn may lead to spiritual drought. In the mission process there are many tasks that aren’t so glamorous – cleaning the grease trap outside the kitchen door, keeping an inventory on parts, or being reviled by the drunken street-sleeper.
  6. One may become discontented with other workers. Discontent is putting it mildly. ‘Radical interpersonal relationship problems’ might be more accurate. This is the number one cause of missionary failure. Why? Because Jesus said, “They [the ones your worker has gone out to seek and save] will know they are His disciples by our love for one another.” (John 13:35) So here is a major area of attack by the enemy: If he can destroy our unity he can destroy our testimony!

Your prayers and the united intercession of the prayer support team for your cross-cultural worker will put a hedge of protection around him (Ezekiel 22:30), will ground his thoughts (Philippians 4:4-7) and will give him the wisdom of a peacemaker in those tough interpersonal situations (James 3:13-18).

Shared with permission from Emmaus Road Int’l, Neal Pirolo, Serving as Senders Today, 2023.

Using Prayers of the Bible as Models for your Prayers (Part IV)

Using Prayers of the Bible as models for your Prayers (Part 3)

Part 3

In this third part, we continue with the premise from Part I, that much of the content of our prayers can wisely be modeled after the prayers we read in Scripture, and in this particular example, from Paul’s prayers in Colossians Chapter 1. (For a bit more context please see the previous blog post of Part 1 of this series as well as Part 2 of the series.) Note: this excerpt is directed toward the Sender who is seeking guidance in the prayer support of a missionary.

“That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing…” (Colossians 1:10)

Phillips ‘ translation puts it, “That your outward lives which men see may bring credit to your Master’s name.” Watchman Nee said, “If you want to be a missionary in China, plan on wearing a ‘learner’s permit’ around your neck for the first ten years!” Due to diverse cultural distinctives and your cross cultural worker’s lack of ability to communicate deeply, it is often the love of Christ working through his lifestyle that gives the Gospel message.

Another perspective, of course, is that “What you are doing speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying!” When your worker’s actions differ from his words, it will be his actions that the people among whom he ministers will believe.

The enemies of the cross gave the name ‘Christian’ (little Christ) to the believers in Antioch (Acts 11:26). It was a dirty word then, but since the followers of the Way were living epistles, known and read by all men (2 Corinthians 3:2), they were easily identifiable. Are we so easy to identify?

A team of college students walked into a remote village in Central America where there were no Christians. Their job was to paint a school building a previous team had built. They were excited to share the Lord, so the weight of their luggage and equipment seemed light.

As they entered the square, they were met by the village captain. He told them that his people had heard all they needed to about this man, Jesus, from the last team. “We don’t want to hear another word you might have to say. Just paint our school building as you said you would. We will watch you. When you have finished, we will let you know if we want your Jesus.”

The team knew that their outward lives would be living epistles, ‘the Word written on the fleshly tablets of our hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). All that they believed about the Word was put to the test in that village. Those students “walked worthy of the Lord”; when they were ready to leave, ten people including the village captain trusted in Christ as their Savior!


Shared with permission from Emmaus Road Int’l, Neal Pirolo, Serving as Senders Today, 2023.


A Good Shepherd-Ordained Encounter

A Good Shepherd-Ordained Encounter

by Heidi Smith

Sometimes God brings people together in amazing ways for His purposes. I had the privilege of witnessing one such encounter during a week-long visit of two of our short-term mission teams here in Chol-Chol, Chile, the birthplace of the Anglican Church in Chile.

That Sunday morning two teams from Knoxville-area Anglican churches (Apostles and Old North Abbey) had been divided into four groups to visit four different churches in the rural areas outside of Chol-Chol. I served as translator at the church we visited in the community called Laurel Huacho, for team members Greg and Pryor Baird. Near the end of the service during prayers, Gladys, the wife of the lay leader in charge, stood to ask for prayer for her complicated situation of mastitis, a breast-feeding condition that can, when infected, spread. In Glady’s case it had led to very painful and swollen legs. Everyone prayed fervently for her, and after service, we proceeded to the abundant “almuerzo” (Sunday dinner) prepared for us by church members.

After lunch, when poor Gladys finally got to put her legs up, Pryor took me aside and asked some more details about Gladys. “I don’t know if you know this,” she said, “but I am a nurse and I work specifically with women who have complications due to mastitis. Do you think I could ask Gladys some questions?” Well, of course she could ask Gladys some questions! I stared in amazement. No, I had NOT known that Pryor’s work was in that specific area. And no, I had not known that Gladys was suffering with something directly in line with Pryor’s specialty.

I had no idea, but God did. And on that warm late summer morning the Lord had chosen to bring His daughters together, from one continent to another. Pryor gently sat down with Gladys, carefully touching one of her badly swollen legs and was able to explain to Gladys, with me serving as translator, why the mastitis had led to her legs swelling. It was obvious to Pryor that the untreated breast infection had reached Gladys’ bloodstream and had been carried to her legs.  It was now being treated, but it was a slow process. Pryor’s suggestions and quiet words of reassurance seemed to calm Gladys’ heart. Pryor took pictures on her phone of Gladys’ medical reports and prescriptions, and by the time we gathered to pray together for Gladys, we could all sense God’s peace.

I did not know this fact when I began writing this article, but my husband, Russ, told me that the name of Gladys’ church is El Buen Pastor, “The Good Shepherd.” How fitting! Our Good Shepherd knows His sheep and cares deeply for each one. He knew exactly what His precious lamb, Gladys, needed at that moment. He chose to bring another of His lambs from a part of His sheepfold a continent away to minister to His own that morning — Pryor from Knoxville, TN, to Gladys in a remote rural area in southern Chile. His extravagant love was made tangible that day.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

Heidi Smith is a SAMS Missionary serving in Chol-Chol, Chile with her husband Russ.

Meet Anne Schaffer, SAMS New Language & Culture Coach

Meet Anne Schaffer, SAMS New Language & Culture Coach

Athletes at every level have coaches who train and encourage. Voice coaches help singers increase range and match pitch. Missionaries make use of coaches too, and they can be of great benefit.

Anne Schaffer is SAMS newest coach, specializing in language and culture coaching. Anne has a broad range of experience to draw from, having served as a missionary herself and having taught languages at different levels for many years in many different countries and contexts. Her priority is squarely on SAMS missionary personnel, though she coaches others outside of SAMS as well. Yet, when she introduces herself as a language and culture coach, she is sometimes met with blank stares.

She recently explained more about her role to supporters. “I’m passionate about helping those missionaries who are moving to a new country to learn that language and culture so that they can be successful and remain in the field. I mean, moving to a new country is a major event!  And if it’s a location that speaks a different language, basic skills like speaking and listening are no longer possible – let’s pause to let that sink in. Basically, every area of life is going to be impacted and hindered, not just practically, but socially and relationally.”

Missionaries are only human. Some people look at them as spiritual heroes, but in truth they are normal people with normal flaws seeking to earnestly serve God in a fallen world. Yet, they experience major transitions that require extra resources to survive. “But ultimately,” says Anne, “they are relational people that have left behind family, friends and all that is familiar for the sake of new relationships. And in this new culture, they want to introduce people to the relationship that is the most important of all – the Lord himself – so language acquisition is crucial.”

Once in the field, missionaries can discover that there is not a structure or adequate support to advance in language learning. Sometimes there aren’t available resources such as books in their new language. Rarely is there a language school nearby, and if there is one, it doesn’t always provide instruction that meets the learner’s needs. The lack of a “cultural informant” early on doesn’t help either. Finally, expectations of the missionary, either real or perceived, to focus on ministry right away and not devote adequate time to learn the language and culture can be counter-productive and actually exacerbate the already stressful situation of living in a new, unknown environment.

Anne has received consistent feedback from missionaries she has coached, even ones with some formal training, that they don’t know what they don’t know. And she emphasizes that cross-cultural training on the front end doesn’t necessarily eradicate the stress or challenges of living cross-culturally; but it does provide a lens to begin to think differently and to begin knowing which questions to ask.

“Most people are not aware of and do not adjust for the added, underlying stress of cross-cultural living or feel permission to take the needed steps, which can lead to unrealistic expectations and cause them to be less effective than they could be,”  says Anne. “Language-learning is a very large, time-consuming undertaking and can get overwhelming very quickly. Having a coach can help provide the professional and emotional support needed to set realistic goals based on actual language needs. It breaks the process down into small, doable goals rather than living under the weight of undefined goals that can never be reached, which only adds more stress.”

No matter whether the missionary candidates are in the field or are preparing to go, Anne says that her main focus is to help missionaries thrive in their new context by helping them to identify and navigate the cultural issues and practically address their language needs. As the process evolves she finds that missionaries better understand and are better received by those in the host culture. And she adds, “I see reduced stress and an emotional stability being established as the learner develops a sense of control and ownership of the learning process. This all leads to increased motivation to serve the Lord and thrive in the place to which they’ve been called, enabling them to carry out their ministry more effectively and more confidently.”

You can contact Anne via her email

Anne is a wonderful new resource for SAMS Missionaries and for the Society as a whole. Her tenure as a Missionary with SAMS and another ministry has provided her with the experience and empathy to come alongside others in this critical phase of their transition into the field. She is available to meet with any SAMS Missionary to be a listening ear or for ongoing, structured language and cultural support. We give thanks to God for her new role. Please pray for new Senders to come alongside and support Anne financially and in other key ways as she works alongside our Missionaries.