Has the Lord given you a heart to serve Him through cross-cultural ministry? Serving with SAMS could be God’s answer to that prayer. Do you have questions about becoming a long-term missionary?
A SAMS Bridgers serves from one month to one year and is partnered with a long-term SAMS missionary who serves as a mentor. The Bridger applicant must be age 18 or older (up to age 88!), and must have completed high school or the equivalent at least one year before starting the program.
Short-Term Team Missionary
SAMS’ short-term teams work with our long-term missionaries in assignments that last from one to two weeks, depending on the project requirements. SAMS offers team leader training to equip people who feel the call to led teams into the mission field.
About the SAMS Process
We know that discerning the call of God to cross-cultural ministry can feel confusing and at times difficult. With many years of guiding and praying for inquirers, candidates and missionaries, SAMS staff is ready to help you during every step of your journey from the initial discernment to support raising to ministering as a missionary. We look forward to serving you in the name of Christ. We believe that God’s work is the most exciting and important thing on this earth.
Our process is broadly outlined below. Everyone has their own journey of discernment and sending. We recognize the following steps are often taken in different order or some are skipped altogether. However the Lord leads, we are committed to journeying with you!
- Step 1: I'm Interested
- Step 2: Application
- Step 3: Crossroads Conference
- Step 4: Candidate
- Step 5: Missionary
- Inform your church leadership about your interest in missionary service and SAMS. Seek prayer and advice and learn what you must do to become a missionary from your church.
- Write, call or email SAMS asking for information.
- If SAMS and your church decide that you have the potential for fruitful cross-cultural ministry then you will be asked to complete an application and provide references.
- SAMS may invite you to attend a 3-day discernment conference where you will receive background information on the overseas dioceses where SAMS missionaries serve including ministry opportunities and training for support raising as well as lots of time to get to know SAMS and missionary service better.
- You will be involved in several different types of interviews. You will have an opportunity to ask your questions too.
- SAMS will prayerfully seek God’s leading with you. SAMS and you may agree that God is calling you to missionary service with SAMS.
- You will seek your prayer and financial support.
- You may take a trip to several overseas ministry sites to discern the best placement for you as a missionary.
- During this time you will attend the SAMS-provided training that you have decided upon with SAMS. This training may include preparation for language and culture learning, how to share your faith, theology of missions or other specific training that is needed.
- You will begin the process of applying for visas and other documentation.
- Your first year of missionary service will probably be spent in learning a new culture and language.
- You will spend one to three years in your first assignment. You will face many frustrations but it will also be a time of unprecedented spiritual and emotional growth.
All of us are called to mission; some are called to be cross-cultural missionaries.
God keeps His promises. He directs us in many ways…
Through His Word, the Bible
Psalm 119: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path” (verse 105);…and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path” (verse 128); “The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (verse 130)
The lamp referred to is probably a small lamp attached to a shepherd’s staff, giving just sufficient light to take the next step. We should not seek a quartz halogen beam to reveal the long range future— we may not have the matu- rity currently to cope with what lies down the road (if, when Saul had his experience on the road to Damascus, he had a vision of the shipwrecks, imprisonments, lashings and death that lay ahead, he might well have become discouraged…). We should read Scripture regularly, and take a step at a time, and gain strength from each step. “Lord, what would you have me do today?”
The Bible keeps us on track. God wants us to know His will and guides us through His word. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21
Through Prayers of the Body
Acts 13:1-3, Acts 15:22: They Holy Spirit speaks, not just to individuals, but to the whole church. We should take our seeking to the Body. The church at Antioch was the first out- reach committee! It gave up to foreign missionary service its strongest members.
Through Dreams and Visions
Examples are found in Acts 16:9-10, Matthew 1:18-24 and Matthew 2:23- 15. It is easy to misread dreams and visions. They should be taken to the church and be measured against the Scriptures.
Acts 27 and 28 describe a shipwreck and an incident with a snake. Paul did not plan either event; God used them. The circumstances are not always bad; however, sometimes God opens a door no man can close. Rev. 3:7-8
Through Personal Prayer
Psalm 37:5-7a: If we commit our way to God, commit our free will to Him, and trust Him, He will act.
Psalm 31:3: God wants to lead us and guide us, but will not force it on us. He waits until we ask. When we do ask, He has promised that He will, in fact, lead us and guide us.
Psalm 27:11: God will teach us if we ask Him. (Enemies or oppressors are not necessarily other people, but our own thoughts, etc.)
Psalm 25:4-5: God, our Savior, in Whom is our hope, will respond to our prayers for teaching, guidance and for being shown His ways.
Through Specific Direction
In Acts 13:2 the Holy Spirit gives positive direction: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” He also gives negative direction, as in Acts 16:6-7: “…having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia…they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.”
Through the Rightness of a Decision
The decision of the apostles and the elders, in Acts 15:22, clearly had the ring of rightness to it. In Acts 15:28, “it seemed good” to them and the Holy Spirit not to burden the church in Antioch with more than just a few requirements. We should pay attention when something “looks right” or “feels right,” or when it “fits,” or when we have “a peace” about it. As we present everything to God, His peace is with us, regardless of circumstances, and His peace surpasses our logic and understanding. Phil. 4:6-7
Our call from God is an intensely personal thing. We need to share with the body and to listen to what other Christians say, but no one, save God alone, can tell us with final authority that we are called to do a specific work. When a friend says “God told me that you are to start up a church in Cuzco,” that may be a faithful relaying of a word from God, but it is not a call. We should
neither accept nor reject such a statement, but take it to prayer and consultation.
The best consultant is the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things. The Holy Spirit talks to our spirit. Romans 8:16 As we converse with the Holy Spirit in openness and surrender, about what we have seen and heard, we will come to know our call. For we remember God’s promise in Psalm 32:8: He will instruct us and teach us in the way we should go, and He will counsel us and watch over us. “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1