Hi Friends and Family,
Well this year FLEW by! I can’t believe New Year’s Eve is this weekend.
I can’t believe I will be back in South Africa in 12 days!
Even though this holiday home has been brief, it’s been beyond special. I have had the opportunity to catch up with some of my old friends from school and church, I watched my sister graduate from UCF, and I’ve had the chance to spend lots of quality time with my family. (Sharing a small bedroom with my “not so little” brother Brian has been particularly entertaining. The kid snores like a freight train… bless his heart.)
It’s been amazing to reminisce about all of the incredible things God has done in 2016 (from hosting human trafficking conferences in Uganda to learning how to love others more like Christ). But now it’s time to keep moving forward in faith. So, as I prepare to head back overseas, I just wanted to update you all on a few of the exciting plans for next year:
•My sister will be flying back with me to spend two weeks in South Africa as a little graduation present from my grandparents and parents. I will take her to do some really fun touristy things while she gets to experience “a day in the life of Sam.” I am really looking forward to spending this time with her—it’s the first time that we’ve ever been on a trip just the two of us. Please pray for safe travels and special moments!
•I will be moving in with one of my soccer teammates (Jess) from January 27th – May 27th while her parents travel to Portugal and Spain. Her mom and dad blessed me with the chance to live at their beautiful house (and “housesit” and “Jess-sit” and “dogsit”) free of charge while they are away on vacation. I am really excited for this opportunity, because Jess is like a sister to me and we were able to grow really close in friendship this past year. I hope to bond with her even more as we live together and share some awesome experiences during those four months. It will also give me a chance to save as much money as I can for a flat when I have to move out! Yay!
•I will be taking on more of a “leadership” role within the STOP team next year. The tentative plan is for me to be one of the frontrunners for organizing the outreaches and the school presentations for the STOP team within the Western Cape of South Africa. My hope is to get us involved in more schools and communities (and maybe even countries) so we can raise even more awareness about human trafficking, as well as, equip more kids with the tools necessary to protect themselves (and others). Please pray for boldness and wisdom as I work alongside my amazing team members to accomplish these tasks!
•I plan on playing football for Maties again when I get back to South Africa. The program is under new management, so we will probably be getting new coaches, new staff, and new female athletes as well. So, whether I captain the team next year or sit on the bench, I hope to glorify God in my sport and build some solid relationships with my teammates. My goal is to lead and love by example as a Christian woman in the sport world. The Lord used football in a big way this past year to make His love known to some of my teammates and my coaches, and I know He will be faithful to make an impact this year as well.
•I am attending a church in South Africa called Urban Voice, and this year, I hope to get more involved with their youth ministry program. My dream would be to get involved by discipling a few of the girls over the course of this next year. I am going to pray through that and also speak with the youth leaders at the church to see if there are any places where I can get more involved with the high school girls.
•A couple of fun little side things that I will be doing this year are blogging for yesHEis (a nonprofit christian organization in South Africa that uses media to evangelize and reach the lost and hurting), writing a few new spoken word poems, planning a 5k trail running event to raise awareness for human trafficking in South Africa, and also partnering with a clothing company called The Wanderers Unlimited. This clothing company is themed toward people who love traveling and adventure. This company was founded by a group of my close friends from Miami who love the Lord and who love people. As a part of their clothing company, they decided to help me raise awareness and funding for the work I do with STOP by taking my art sketches and printing them on their T-Shirts to sell on their website and social media pages. We hope to have some shirts printed and ready to show you all by the end of January. The girls from The Wanderers Unlimited have decided to donate a percentage of the proceeds for my art shirts to help fund the work that God is doing in South Africa with STOP. Here is a sample of two of the shirts:
I am so excited for this coming year and for all of the adventures that the Lord has in store. He has been so faithful to carry me through these last two years of ministry, so I know that this year will be no different.
Just before New Year’s Eve, I always ask the Lord to give me one word that He wants me to focus on for the coming year. Last year he gave me “Faith.” (Now I know why—heck, I needed it.) This year, instead of one word… God gave me two.
Perseverance and Trust. (Ouch.)
Those are some tough ones—deep and very meaningful, but tough. I know this year will be full of new challenges and struggles, but it will also be full of new blessings and victories. So no matter what comes my way, at least I know that I’ll be facing it with the Lord by my side.
Thank you all for being a part of this journey—for praying, supporting, funding, and encouraging. I am so grateful for every single one of you. If it wasn’t for your love and support, none of this would have been possible. As you all have continued to bless me… my prayer is that God will also bless you—more abundantly than you could ever think or dare to imagine. Thank you for believing in the dream that the Lord has placed in my heart.
And as always… if you want to continue to follow this crazy journey with all of its twists and turns visit: www.oneheart2worlds.com
To donate online please visit: http://ssmfi.org/missionary/samantha-stokesberry/
Love you all,