Jehovah “Java” (The God who provides through coffee)

“Jehovah Jireh” – God the Provider

 

It’s incredibly easy to get discouraged and worn out when you can’t visibly see progress.

 

Raising money for my move to South Africa, especially through support and donations, is not an easy thing for me.  In fact, I lack experience and practice because I have never needed to do it in the past. I am also not a fan of having to ask others for financial help or provision (pride problems).   So, to help speed up this process of learning what it means to be humble… I became a waitress.

I knew the Lord was calling me to work as a server in a particular restaurant near my house, but I had no knowledge or skill in that area of work.  I was scared and TOTALLY outside of my comfort zone, but when the Lord asks you to do something, you just trust Him and do it.  Next step, I saw a help wanted sign in the window and I applied for a job.  The few weeks following my job acceptance were filled of memorizing the names of Italian dishes and learning how to take orders.  It was exhausting and challenging, but I had no doubt that I was supposed to be there.

Then, an amazing thing happened.  God started to show up.  People that I served were asking me about my trip to South Africa and how to support, customers were leaving generous tips, and opportunities were available for sharing the gospel and loving on people I have never even met before. Not to mention, I began to learn what it means to put others ahead of myself and to serve them wholeheartedly despite how I may feel at any given moment (tired, hungry, etc.)

This past week a woman came in because she accidentally left her house a little too early for the movie she was going to watch next store at the theatre. She wanted a cup of coffee while she waited.  We began talking about jobs, traveling, hobbies, and our pasts.  She spoke to me about her boyfriend of 22 years who recently passed away from liver cancer and how he motivated her to quit doing drugs and drinking alcohol.  She told me about how she wants to impact the lives of kids in prison and help those who are in the foster care system as a Child Advocate. By the time she finished sharing about her trials, challenges, and blessings… it was time for her movie.  So I brought her the check for $3.78, and she gave me a $20 and told me to keep the change.

I was humbled.  I was reminded by this woman that I serve a God who can take any life and change it for the better, a God who can save someone from a past addiction to drugs or alcohol, and a God who can provide through one small cup of coffee.

He cares and He loves.  My hope is that I can be a reflection of God’s unconditional love and compassion to anyone I meet.  Needless to say, this job is exactly where I need to be.  God is at work while I work, and He is preparing a way for the new season of my life that is approaching faster than I can even realize.  And for that,  I am grateful.

 

Ready, Set, Wait?

Waiting.

It’s a tough thing to do.  Like for example, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for the work day to end, or even waiting for your favorite TV show to start it’s next season.

But what about waiting to leave the country to begin an adventure of a lifetime?  Yeah. That’s really hard.

About a year ago, the Lord used close friends, scripture, and prayer to reveal to me a new and radical mission for my life.  It was a mission that I never would have dreamed up on my own.  To be honest, I was scared to death.  God was calling me to become a missionary.

I have aways had a passion for soccer, and I loved being able to play it as a kid and coach it as an adult.  In college, majoring in Sports and Fitness, I was given the opportunity to partner with the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) on a summer missions trip called IMPACT.  The first time that I attended the trip I was a student, but I knew God was calling me back so I returned the following summer as a co-leader.  This was the first time the thought had crossed my mind that maybe the Lord was calling me to become a full-time missionary.  We learned about using sport to share the gospel and how it can be used to impact the lives of people around the globe.  Daniel Thomae, a current missionary in South Africa and partner with IMPACT, approached me about joining his nonprofit “training4changeS,” and he invited me to come alongside him and his wife Kendra as a coach for the young girls.  Daniel’s mission has been to open a futsal academy for the local primary school kids in the Western Cape of South Africa.  He has wanted to raise up young leaders and coaches to impact the nation, which he hopes will help to prevent the cycles of poverty, fatherlessness, and violence from reoccurring amongst the people.

My heart felt right at home.

I have this dream to help young girls all over the globe realize their worth and value.  I want them to know that they are loved beyond measure by a Heavenly Father who will never let them down or disown them.  I want them to develop life skills and values that will change their lives and their families lives forever.  I want to share the grace and love of Jesus Christ by teaching them about the Bible and using the sport of futsal to do it. (By the way, futsal is a 5-a-side version of soccer that is played on a hard court without walls, using a smaller ball than regular soccer and a standard match consists of two 20-minute halves.)

The crazy part?  The Lord has blessed me by giving me an opportunity to do it.

The journey begins now, by spreading the word of this mission, by raising support, by prayer, and by letting the Lord lead the way.

The wait is almost over, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Join me on this adventure.

Donate to the cause at: http://ssmfi.org/missionary/samantha-stokesberry/

Learn more about training4changeS and their mission at: http://www.training4changes.org/

Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

 

– Sam