So here is it. This could potentially be more exciting than when Starbucks announces their Pumpkin Spice Latte during the Fall season. Let’s just say, I am extremely pumped about this email. This email contains the official “tentative/almost certain/this is what I think is going to happen” plan for this year’s adventure in South Africa! (I say that because last year the Lord quickly and fiercely redirected my steps, so I like to leave the majority of the planning up to Him.) But I wrote a game plan, because I’m a planner, and I like to have a battle strategy.
I am flying out April 4th from Miami, and I will be arriving in the Western Cape on April 6th. I have committed to live and do ministry in South Africa for at least another year, but my visa is up December 2017 – so there is a chance that I could stay longer (if I decide to renew it and if the Lord calls me to stay).
This year I will have two main priorities:
(1.) Developing and teaching a brand new curriculum that I will be writing for High School girls in the Stellenbosch area that addresses the hard issues they face every single day. Some of the issues that I will cover are: addictions with drugs and alcohol, sex trafficking awareness and prevention, prostitution and addictions to pornography, sex and dating, how to heal from past abuse, purity, forgiveness and the gospel message, and discovering our true identities as strong and beautiful women.
The goal is to present this program from a Christian standpoint in the schools via weekly presentations. The curriculum will potentially be six weeks long, but we will also be creating a version that can be taught in one day. This is because some schools may not be able to give us the amount of time that we need to really invest in the students. After the curriculum is presented, I would love to create a follow up small group with any of the girls who are interested in digging deeper. This small group would be an “empowerment” group (and also a safe place) where the girls can come to get counseling or help, where they can come to get discipled and learn more about Jesus, where they can come to share their stories, and where they can come to just have fun and eat free snacks.
I want the girls to feel loved and I want them to feel like they matter. I don’t want to equip them with powerful weapons of truth, and then not help them weld those weapons – leaving them to fend for themselves in the wilderness. This won’t be a “one and done” type of deal. This is going to be a long term investment because I believe that relationships matter – they build trust, support, accountability, and love between people. And that is what will create real life change.
(2.) I will be playing soccer again this year with the Maties SASOL team in Stellenbosch. This is going to be a huge part of ministry for me. Firstly, I will get to build meaningful relationships with my teammates that I hope will transform into lasting and meaningful friendships. Secondly, I am hoping to start a bible study/empowerment group with the women on my team to create that same type of “safe place” where we can grow together as women and open up about our dreams, our hurts, and our struggles. And thirdly, playing soccer will give me a chance to walk the talk. My prayer is that I will be a light in a dark place, and that I will be able to reflect His glory both on and off the field through how I speak, act, and play. I strongly believe that I can be both competitive and compassionate. I want to use the gifts and talents and athletic abilities that the Lord has given me to make a difference. It brings me such joy to play the game of soccer, and when I can do it with integrity and passion and purpose – it makes it that much better.
Those two ministries are where my focus will be this year. I will be partnering with other friends and NGO’s and churches along the way, but I do not want to spread myself too thin. As I walk with the Lord over the course of this next year, I will most definitely be sending you all updates, God Stories, photos, and prayer requests.
Especially now, prayer is one of the most important things that I will need. The money and the material things come second, because prayer’s where the real power’s at. Please pray that the girls will have open hearts to receive the message of hope and life and love that I am bringing overseas. Please pray that God will open the right doors and close the wrong ones, and that I will be free from injury this year as I play soccer. Please pray that He will bless the ministries that I work with: STOP, Real Talk Girls Conference/Kingdom DNA, and any other NGO group. Please pray for deep and meaningful relationships to be built with my teammates, my students, my co-workers in the ministry, and in the church that I will attend. Please pray for the Lord to provide for my needs both physically and spiritually. (Specifically, my main need right now is going to be for a car to drive to and from soccer practice and to the schools where I will be teaching.) Please pray against any “funny business” from the enemy – I am certain that he is not too happy with my game plan for this year, and he will try to stop me, but God is bigger and he doesn’t have a chance (but please pray against spiritual backlash and attacks anyways!). And lastly, please pray for my family. Pray that God will continue to do amazing things in my home while I am away, that He will comfort them and provide for all of their needs – because they have sacrificed so much for me so that I could go to South Africa.
And finally, I just want to thank you all for making this happen. If it wasn’t for your generosity and kindness and support, I would not be going back to South Africa. Yes, I may be the “hands and feet,” but you all are the “nervous system” with Christ as the head – helping me to operate to the best of my ability. Without your prayers and your financial support, I wouldn’t have been able to reach so many young girls, and I wouldn’t have been able to write this curriculum to bring with me 7,000 miles away to a country that needs it desperately. I thank you. My family thanks you. And I know that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, so thank you for your obedience and your love towards me – He is going to bless you guys more than you can even imagine. And being able to write that puts such a huge smile on my face. I love you all. Let’s do this!
-Your Friendly Neighborhood Missionary,
If you would still like to donate please visit: http://ssmfi.org/missionary/samantha-stokesberry/
OR mail a check with my account #6020 in the Memo Section to:
Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators
6739 Academy Road NE, Suite 320
Albuquerque, NM 87109