Spring Newsletter 2018
Letter from the Director
By Teresa Stroup, LCSW
GSM International Executive Director
When I answered the call to come here I had no idea what God had in store for Good Samaritan Ministries. I can honestly say that I still don’t know the whole picture; I only know that it is good. I have never been more convinced than I am now that God loves Good Samaritan Ministries (GSM), that it belongs solely to Him, and all who come are blessed by it.
Our counseling numbers have increased steadily as are the stories of people being healed, saved and set free.
Other great news is that we are starting a new Center in Alaska being led by JoAnne Chitwood and a new one in La Pine, Oregon being led by Rodney Ingram. God is still moving in GSM.
We are also experiencing a new level of Counselor training with Cindy Womack heading up the Level I and Level II counselor training program and Sunny Vigos working with the counselors one-on-one for supervision. The counselor training program is thriving.
We are preparing for 6 new interns from George Fox University to join us in May, supervised privately by Pat Thompson. It is exciting to be a part of the divine plan of God to train faith-based counselors to be sent out from here to do great exploits in this world.
There have also been many challenges along the way. We have a young staff learning the ropes around here and what it really means to answer the call of God on your life. When we answer the Call we truly realize that our lives are not our own, that what God is asking of us is more than we often think we have to give.
What I am learning is that we have a lot more to give than we think we do. We should never be afraid to give more. Like Randy Vigos (Board member) always says, “You can’t out-give God, it always comes right back”. We often experience the testimonies of that being true here.
What part is God asking you play in GSM? Is He challenging you to give more, volunteer, pray more? We need to increase our Prayer Support Team, and train more volunteers in our media department, website and audio/ visual support team. We need more event planning volunteers and people who enjoy fundraising to come with fresh new ideas.
I find myself taking deep breaths and acknowledging often “it belongs to you Lord, it is not mine to carry”, when the weight of the ministry begins to feel overwhelming. (I also run over to Bettie’s house for a word of wisdom or advice). Be sure that whatever God is asking of you, He will give you what you need to be successful in it. Do not be afraid.
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International Samaritan Testimony:
“God Sends Your Helpers”
Don’t really know where to start from. There is a lot of thanks and appreciation to all those who have put a lot of effort in making my life a better one. At the beginning, around age two, my parents died leaving behind us kids. I’m the last child and was really small by then and couldn’t do things on my own, and we were all young, having no one to care for us. I didn’t really know anything about my upbringing, that is my schooling and needs, but at age four a white couple took me in where I lived with them and went to school. At least at that time I started eating well and staying healthy.
My life started getting better at age nine I learned I had other sponsors and well wishers around the world and was really grateful and thankful. Though I don’t know their names, I pray God continues to bless them as they also blessed me. At age 11 one of the Samaritan women took me in as her daughter and she has been more than a blessing to me as since then I bother about nothing. I went to one of the most expensive girls school in Cameroon, not being proud but grateful to God for putting people out there who are not only ready to provide but give you the best, and she’s one.
Presently I am 20 and in the university studying aviation and I pray God makes me succeed in life so I can put smiles on other’s faces as a big smile was placed on mine. I’m forever grateful and again to all those who helped me and are still doing so. And to other orphans, needy, widows & widowers, and homeless out there: you just need to have faith and pray God sends your helpers like he sent mine and know there will be light at the end of the tunnel. I am an example of someone who has been blessed and will forever be thankful. Lots of love.
New Joan Baker Primary School to Be Built In Kenya
Thanks to loving donations from Life Church in Pilot Rock OR, GSM Kenya began breaking ground on a new school building for the Joan Baker primary school. The previous school was a stick and mud building which was falling apart and needed more classrooms, so the church decided to come alongside the Samaritans and raised $10,000 for a new block building with three classrooms.
In August Cindy Womack will lead a team from the Life Church, including the pastor and his family, to see the new school building as they finish construction.
Next month Teresa Stroup, David Bhatti and Bethany Stroup will visit Kenya to see more of the work being done in the various centers and projects. We are excited about what God has in store for GSM Kenya!
Violet Fasha Passes Away – West Bank
More than thirty-four years have passed since Bettie Mitchell, founder of GSM, met five young men at Bethlehem University in the Holy Land and asked them how they were going to respond to the call of God. They decided that they needed to start a drug and alcohol treatment center in Bethany, but how were they going to do it? Violet was the answer. This christian woman took the young men, including ASTA director Majed Alloush and Rose of Jerusalem Director Yassin Hamden, under her wing and assisted in the “formation, transparency, and continuation of ASTA” – Al-Sadiq Al Taieb or “The Good Friends Association”. It was to be a miraculous work of God in a perilous land. We, as a ministry owe so much to Violet for her nurture and mentorship.
According to Debbie Hoffman, ASTA Satellite leader: “She helped young men and women help their communities and sustain the drug treatment, prevention, and education programs, reaching thousands of addicts and youth. Her spirit will continue to be felt…and she will be dearly missed by GSM and all those at ASTA.”
This year has been difficult for ASTA with violence in their community, a counselor in prison and now the loss of Violet. Please continue to keep ASTA and our Samaritans in your prayers. This is a new day in their ministry without the guidance and intercession of Violet Fasha.
We are one in spirit when we grieve together.
Remembering Samuel Kitwika
GSM National Director – Tanzania
On March 9th 2018 Samuel Kitwika, National Director of GSM Tanzania, passed away due to complications with diabetes. He was laid to rest on SundayMarch 11th at the Bettie Mitchell GSM School at Rudewa village, Morogoro region.
On Saturday March 24th Bettie Mitchell and Teresa Stroup hosted a memorial service for Samuel at the Beaverton Headquarters.
Mama Bettie Mitchell had this to say of Samuel: “The thing that made Samuel Kitwika unique in the ministry of all the people I called and all the people that came forth was that he came to my office very early in the 1994 International Conference and confessed all of his sins and all of his weaknesses. In that, Samuel is one of our most significant leaders.”
Through the service many Samaritans were able to share their memories of Samuel and the lessons that he taught them. We were touched as we learned of his great influence even amongst people who spent very little time with him. He was a man of great wisdom.
Samuel faithfully carried the work of GSM in Tanzania since receiving the call in 1991. Part of his story is as follows: “Samuel says, “In my heart was something burning me, for the ministry fully.” In 1990, Samuel met Pastor George Oundo of Kenya (brother-in-law of James Opiyo), who had a friend in Dar es Salaam, and was looking for a pastor ready to work for him. Samuel communicated with Pastor George, the leader of the United Brothers of Christ in Africa, who gave him two things to do, one of which was to become a Samaritan under the auspices of Good Samaritan Ministries.“
“In 1986 while in one of the villages of Tabora Region, the Lord had spoken to Samuel: ‘I have a mission for the widows and orphans. I have anointed you to stand for my people and help them, to give the orphans a future and food to the widows.‘ So in 1991 when Samuel met James Opiyo who told him about GSM and its work with orphans and widows, Samuel decided to join the vision. He states that he had been seeing great miracles happening to the people. Samuel traveled to the US in 1994 to participate in the International Conference of GSM and to take advantage of the six weeks of training.“
“Quoting from Samuel’s biography: “God again told me, ‘All of what happened to your life was purposed to take away your pride and to make you to be sweet for the needy. Your children will enjoy your sweetness and your wife will be proud of you.’ I have been experiencing the great love of God that is bonding me to Him through His ways and also He is bonding me to His family. The great miracles have been happening to God’s work and to my life. I am proud to be in God’s family and to reverently love the living God. God has changed everything.”
Excerpts from Samaritans Along the Way by Joan Baker
New Elected International Board Member
We are honored to welcome Tim Thomas, son-in-law of Tom Granger, to the International Board of Directors. Tim was elected by the assembly at the annual meeting in January. Since then he has brought a dynamic, pastoral mind and heart to the board.
Tim serves as a pastor at The Shift Church in Albany, Oregon and has a missional and evangelistic call on his life. With his wife, Tonya, and two children Macy and Jack, he pours his life into the broken-hearted in his city. Tim was introduced to Good Samaritan Ministries through his late mother-in-law Donna Granger and her husband Tom, who also serves on the board.
Tim is excited to begin his work with Good Samaritan Ministries and has a great heart for the International work. According to Tim: “Missions has always been a fire inside me. I have said that if God would have allowed me I would have been a missionary many years ago. I believe that the passion in my heart for missions is from the Lord and that He will use that right where I’m at. A wise lady once told me that everything we do for the Lord is training for what lies ahead. I believe that our steps are ordered by God and that He will lead us into His perfect will as we walk with Him. Who knows what lies ahead in the future…Have your way Lord!”
GSM Says Goodbye to Staff Member Susann Christensen
Susann has faithfully served at the GSM Beaverton officer as our bookkeeper for the past four years. Last month Susann turned in her resignation to Good Samaritan Ministries.
She has been an integral part of the staff, offering more than just skill with money, but also covering us with her intercession and joyful spirit. Susann worked with all of the Satellite Leaders to help manage the many accounts that operate in twenty three countries. She processed all of our donor information and was always available for a chat.
At GSM, we are so grateful for the years of service that Susann dedicated and her contributions to the many successes of the ministry.
Susann decided that the Lord is calling her into a deeper time of rest, worship & intercession. We are happy for her next season and, though we will greatly miss her at the office, we are fully in agreement that the Lord calls us to work for a time and to rest for a time. The labor at GSM is heavy and we can see that there is a grace to be on the staff while you are following God’s plans, and when it is time to move on, He is faithful to provide for us. We bless Susann in her next journey.
Please be patient with us as we train our new employee to take over Susann’s job.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
GSM Offers Unique Training
By Cindy Womack, GSM International Assistant Director
Good Samaritan Ministries around the world is known for its unique style of teaching and training based in the study of Jesus as a teacher, counselor, and mentor. In our training we pay close attention to how He interacted with individuals, groups, crowds, and His disciples. Out of that study we have developed training that is designed to empower people to discover and develop their potential through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Students in the GSM Counselor Training programs around the world learn during the first year of training what it means to be a “Samaritan”, or one who is willing to give of their own time, skills, and resources to help a person in need. We study Jesus as a Counselor, learn to listen carefully to the life stories of those in need, and at the same time listen to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Trainers learn to balance the content of lessons with relationship and experiential teaching. Students learn through acting out Biblical stories of the healing miracles that Jesus performed and through role–playing counseling sessions with each other. Training is interactive with questions and group interaction encouraged. The second year of counselor training uses the same style of teaching to learn in–depth about individual, marriage, parenting, trauma, grief and other topics related to counseling. In the third level of training students begin to intern as lay counselors under supervision.
In the US, we currently have 13 Centers providing counseling, groups, and classes. Several of those Centers have developed their own training programs in the style of Good Samaritan Ministries. Every center around the world develops culturally appropriate programs to fit the specific needs of the people they serve. Behind all that is taught, the original call to “Go and teach nothing but the Kingdom of God” shapes the content.
We encourage you to check out the training, groups, classes, and counseling at the Headquarters in Beaverton or one of the Centers located near you. New Level One Counselor Training classes begin August 27 in Beaverton. Please contact me if you would like to know more about getting involved.
Good Friday Luncheon Creates Space for Healing
The annual Good Friday Luncheon is a sacred time for Good Samaritan Ministries as it marks the end of our previous year and the beginning of our new year. The service begins at noon with the sharing of a meal, and concludes at three o’clock. The room is hushed and somber as we each repent and receive forgiveness from the throne of God. This year International Executive Director, Teresa Stroup, spoke along with our founder, Bettie Mitchell. Participants were encouraged in the call of God to sacrifice for His Kingdom and encouraged to declare, “It Is Finished” over their past sins and failures. There was a time of communion, worship, personal prayer with anointing oil, a salt blessing, and finally the blowing of the shofar marked the end of the event. Many stories of healing and transformation came from the day. We are thankful to all who gave their time to see the event successful.
The Ministry of Writing for GSM, by Bethany Stroup
The Good Samaritan Ministries blog is hosted on our website each week and we are excited by the various writers who have submitted blog pieces in the past. It is important to our readers that they are hearing many voices and perspectives from our ministry. The purpose of the blog is to encourage, uplift, inspire and inform readers and can cover many topics about life. We would like pastors, spiritual leaders, inspired writers, clients of GSM with experience they want to share, and anyone who feels like they have a topic to share to join us in reaching the world.
If you feel that writing is burning in your bones, please consider submitting a blog to us for consideration. Blogs tend to be shorter pieces of writing, between 800-1500 words. We are happy to include interesting images as long as they belong to you or are open copywrite. For more information or to submit a blog, please email email@example.com.
Donations Needed at the Beaverton Office
We are looking for the following donations to help the Beaverton office continue to run smoothly:
Stamps, cleaning supplies, paper products (paper towels, napkins, paper plates, cups, printer paper 8.5×11), coffee pods for keurig, etc. Call our office if you have any questions.
Volunteer Positions: Building maintenance volunteer, front desk reception, cleaning extraordinaire, filing and office assistance. Call Bethany at 503-644-2339.
GSM Beaverton Welcomes New Staff Member
Jan Balzer – GSM Bookkeeper
We are pleased to welcome Jan Balzer to the staff as our new bookkeeper. Jan brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position and she has been able to train with Susann. Jan is married to husband Doug and moved back to this area from Indiana.
This will be a time of transition, so please be patient as Jan continues her training. Thank you for your prayers over GSM and our new employees!
Young Samaritans Group Launches In Walla Walla GSM Center
“Young Samaritans is a group for youth 6-12 years old at the Walla Walla center. They have focused on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, God’s purpose for your life, your faith can make a difference, the Holiness of God, ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts), how we talk to God, dealing with emotions, patience, and telling the truth. The class is taught through discussion, reading of books, and acting out Bible passages. It has been a blessings watching the faith of the children grow, along with the leaders, as they learned more about God and are using it to change their life and their interaction with others as they see God in each other.”
– Michelle Paine
More Young Samaritans groups are planning to begin this summer/fall in Beaverton and Prineville with various age groups including teens. We also have big plans for connecting with Samaritan youth and children in our other countries.
If you are interested in learning more about Young Samaritans in your area, or helping in one of our groups, please contact Lacey at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also looking for Samaritans to financially partner with us for future camps and travel!
Robbie’s Final Prayer Book Released By Bettie Mitchell & Linnea Zednik
Forty-two years ago Bettie Mitchell received the call of God on the walls of ancient Ninevah. It’s a story we’ve told for many years of the founding of Good Samaritan Ministries. Now, go back and learn the moving story before the founding – the story of the life of a child surrendered to God for the healing of many.
In this new book released by Bettie Mitchell learn the story of Linnea Zednik and the loss of her three-year-old son Robbie. Experience through the mother’s eyes the call of God coming to her to release her dearest child and see the children who have come out of the tragedy as first fruits of the ministry.
In this book you will hear stories of children who received education and chance at a new life through the work of Good Samaritan Ministries. It is a tremendously important book to understand the meaning behind the work that we do, and the price involved with being healers to the world.
To learn more about the story, you can watch our YouTube video interview with Bettie Mitchelle and Linnea Zednik at:
Search for Robbie’s Prayer Commemorative Video
To order the book, Robbie’s Final Prayer, call us at 503-644-2339 and we will ship it to you for $24.99 (20.00 plus $4.99 shipping to anywhere in the US. Charges for International shipping may be more)
Also remember to help support the education needs of Samaritan children all over the world. We are seeing amazing fruit come from the education satellite who provide sponsorships, build schools, pay teachers, and encourage the formation of the Kingdom of God in children in eleven countries. There are great needs for more schools and more sponsorships. Please consider donating today!
Winter Newsletter 2017
Rwandan’s Host with Joy
By Jeff Lyon – Rwandan Satellite Leader
I did not have a clue about this whole trip. But for Rwanda, we traveled by bus from Uganda to the Rwanda center, then rested for the next day. I had asked Pastor Ntuyahera Francis to take me to all of the centers (5). We were successful; it took a full day for each trip to get to the four outlying centers! What I found was a great deal of commitment to serving those who were in need – and those in need were poor beyond description. Schools without desks, teachers without pay, students without materials, churches without a roof or floors. However in all of that there was a great and joyful spirit in everyone I met. We danced and sang at each center. The pastors at each of the centers had invited people to come and welcome us and each of them had some school children and church members to welcome us. For one center, we were 4 hours late to visit the school and everyone waited until we got there. When we arrived, they were singing praise songs and had a place of honor set for us – ready to hear our story and share theirs! One lesson of many, actually it was a story (and they tell a lot of stories…) was that when people visit their home, they are blessed. I finally got it! I know that it truly blesses me to host anybody, and I continually ask that people come and stay with me. Well, they are the same way! They are blessed beyond expression to have someone travel for 25 hours with planes and buses, just to come and spend time and fellowship with them! I am convinced, and believe them, so please join me on my next trip and we can bless those brothers and sisters in Africa! A trip like this is life-changing and now….what do I do next? I am still in process!
Spreading Blessings In Senegal
By Jeff & Lynn Eaton – Satellite Leaders for Senegal
Our visit to the GSM ministry in Dakar, Senegal was a very happy one and we were treated like royalty. We stayed in the home/office of Tunde, our National Director, and his wife, Sidonne, and their 4 daughters. When we arrived, we were pleased to see that the ministry was in process with the sewing class of about 8 people busy at their sewing machines. On Saturday, the same room filled with about the same number of computer students working at their individual computers. While we were visiting, Sidonne cooked us delicious meals on a single gas burner while sitting on the floor. By the end of the week, we were able to provide her with a 4-burner stove with an oven where she could stand to cook; she was overjoyed. We were able to meet with the GSM Senegal Board of Directors and other support staff. We discussed many plans for the future of this ministry, including reaching out to hospitals and prisons. God is at work in Senegal. With a warm and friendly atmosphere, that ministry is thriving!!
Lessons Learned In Nigeria
By Tina Headley – Satellite Leader for Nigeria
The trip to Nigeria taught me of a people who have so much joy and hope even though life is so hard from the time they get up in the morning to the time they go to bed. I was taught what it is to press on and not to give up. I was connected with the people in a way that I did not expect. My spirit and soul are forever changed in a way I truly do not grasp.
Sierra Leone Shows Hope Amidst Trauma
By Bethany Stroup – Satellite Leader for Sierra Leone
There were many things that I knew about Sierra Leone before I visited: I knew about the horrific war sixteen years ago, and I knew about the hard work that Arthur Davies, our National Director, and his team were doing in bringing restoration. What I didn’t know was the extent of pain, trauma, and poverty that pervades the country. We saw the effects of war through amputees on the streets and we witnessed the aftermath of the recent mud slide that killed hundreds in Freetown. I didn’t know that our National Director was himself living in poverty. I also didn’t know that there could be so much hope, love, and forgiveness in a people. There is a becoming beauty in Sierra Leone that can only be a sign of God’s work in this country. What I Know Now: My trip to Sierra Leone was life-changing. We are so proud of the Samaritans who give their whole lives for the Kingdom to invade their country, and there is a lot of work God wants to accomplish in this country. Praise the Lord who provides!
Reports from Leaders
International Executive Director’s Report –
By Teresa Stroup, LCSW
Kenya – I can say for sure that there were many miracles that occurred in Africa. Upon arriving our first week it became apparent that many had felt betrayed and abandoned by GSM in America. The leaders came together and began to discuss the painful journey of what the past seven years have been like for them.
We were finding ourselves hearing, caring and identifying with each other in profound ways. We were beginning to find camaraderie and healing together. It was obvious that this trip would be the most important event that we would have as a ministry.
As the healing came so did the joy, the celebration of our gathering was lit up by songs, training, prayer and important listening that united our hearts once again. By the end of the first week the leaders and participants from the 17 countries represented there were together in heart and soul once again.
We visited schools and toured Goretty’s house, we met with the Governor and were invited to have lunch at his home, were we met his beautiful wife. The alumni Association gave presentations and we were able to meet those who had graduated from GSM schools. There is so much to tell about the great time we shared together in Kenya, the hospitality, food and accommodations were fantastic. Great job Kenya GSM!
Uganda– As we moved on to Uganda we were all astounded by the great welcome we received as the children gathered around our vehicles and the band lead us down the driveway of the compound. We were over-taken by love and joy as the children sang over us and performed the dances and the songs, there were banners made, what a welcome… we will never forget that day!
The week was filled with talk and training and connecting to the community groups at the school. Touring the many projects, gardens and lands at Masaka was breathtaking! They have accomplished so much there and have even greater plans for the future. This was the most successful school in GSM. There are 1200 studentsthere and the love of God is being taught and experienced daily.
The children are all growing food, caring for animals and making life good in Masaka, the level of education and hands on learning makes this school desirable for children every where. We are all so impressed by the teachers and the students, and the level of discipleship that was present there.
Just when you did not think it could get better we were treated to the arrival of a representative from the Presidents office. The big stage was set up and over 3000 people gathered for the celebration and presentations by Osborn and the team in Uganda.
The alumni students returned for the event and Centers Directors came from everywhere. This was a fabulous day for all, the whole week was filled with teaching and demonstrations of the learning and skills of Masaka school.
The outcome of the visit produced vision in the Satellite leaders for what could be possible if we had enough vision and support to make it happen. The country leaders and satellite leaders are ignited to dream a little bigger and work a little harder to make the work in their countries go a lot further and continue to move forward.
There is a great excitement over the ministry again, but also a realization of the hardships many are facing and the tremendous need they have for us to stand with them. Cameroon is facing the threat of death daily for being English speaking people, Egypt is facing increasing pressure as Christians in a non-Christian country, Nigeria is experiencing increasing violence in their land and hunger all around them.
I could go on and on over what we learned about the conditions in all the countries as our people work to survive in very intense circumstances.
Nigeria- We each went on to other countries, our team continued on with a short visit in Nigeria. Rev. Faraday and his family hosted us in their home in the continental training compound. We visited a few villages and met with those graduating from the recent GSM training. The sewing school blessed us each with new clothes from Africa we loved that so much! We needed more time therefore sure.
Malawi –To wrap up our continental trip our team of four (Randy Vigos, Papa James Opiyo, David Bhatti and myself) visited Malawi. We found a very loving and gracious people there who worked very hard for their survival but were filled with laughter, joy and singing.
We met with Centers Directors, the widow’s groups and toured the nursery schools. We were delighted in the work that was going on there. Many people were interested in learning about what was happening in the larger GSM community and we talked about that with them and established Malawi again as a GSM country. We were received very well there. We have much work to do there in the future; Tom Granger agreed to work with us on that.
Randy Vigos and I arrived home on Nov. 11th (David Bhatti and I share a birthday that day). We were tired and jet lagged, but satisfied in all that we accomplished in brining the ministry back together in Africa.
I still have many more countries to visit and we have work that needs to be continued in other places, but we are off to a good start! Please continue to pray for provision and my ability to visit all the countries that have GSM operating in. They need to meet their leader and I need to meet with them. Thank you!
Reflection from the Continental Training Team Leader
By Vonda Winkle,
International Board of Directors Member
Leading a team if 14 Americans plus 1 Pakistani/Canadian on an International Leadership Conference was an experience of a life time. Each person was hand picked by God to experience this historic event. In Kenya we were 42 with 12 National Directors. My greatest disappointment was that Lucy Siafa, our Liberia National Director, was not able to get a visa to join us.
Although I have traveled extensively with Mama Bettie, and lead a team of five, this was a first! To coordinate all the arrival and departures for everyone, to minimize trips to and from the airport and preparing the team to go was quite the undertaking. There was so much to do that I found myself being thankful for a knee surgery that took 3 1/2 months before returning to work. I had time to work on the details. Each person came home changed through the experience, and what God was doing personally in them as well as a developed passion for our international work. Many lessons were learned around how Africans and American communicate. We are taking a new approach . The reconciliation and healing that took place brought great joy and healing to my own life. Witnessing first hand God’s anointing on Mama Teresa was a gift, pleasure and a blessing. It confirmed that GSM is God’s Miniseries and is here to stay! We are strong, we are united, we are covering each other, we are FAMILY! Keep your eyes and ears open, to what God is doing, His hands are on Mama Teresa and the entire Miniseries. This is a very exciting time for us!
NEW: GSM International Travel Coordinator
Teresa Stroup is pleased to announced that Vonda Winkle has been appointed as the Good Samaritan Ministries Travel Coordinator. This volunteer position will help oversee all international travel for the ministry including trainings and team coordination. We are pleased to welcome Vonda back to the team!
International Education Report
By Laura Fribbs, I.E. Co-Leader
As a member of the GSM International Travel Team, I knew deep in my heart that this was God’s Trip. Our team believed God would establish a new season of His work through Good Samaritan Ministries. We were not disappointed! The Lord brought healing, refreshment, hope, joy, increased vision, understanding and transformation. The Lord bound the nations together as one. Together we learned, prayed, cried, laughed, sang, and shared our hearts with our maker and each other.
As Co-Leader of GSM International Education, I sought to connect deeply with students, teachers, and national directors. In Kenya, Our team was privileged to briefly visit three of nine GSM schools. We celebrated the graduation of 3rd year Uranga GSM Nursery School students. We learned that for $200 permanent caps and gowns could be made to defray the yearly rental cost. (Since arriving home, GSM IE sent funds to Kenya for this need.) Papa Jerry and Bettie Duha Mixed Day and Boarding Primary School students entertained us with singing and dancing. Members of the international
team were encouraged to join students in dance. This GSM School educates over 500 students. The students, teachers and headmaster of GSM Dirk Allison High School warmly greeted us. Over 200 students are educated in this school. Dirk Allison is the brainchild of Erick Owino, former sponsored student and current leader of the Kenya Good Samaritan Sponsored Student Association (GSSSA). At the Kenya GSM International Conference, GSSSA members expressed gratitude and shared testimonies. Many traveled long distances on dangerous roads.
Our long road trip to Uganda made for a late arrival at GSM Masaka Primary and High School. We discovered children had stayed up to greet us withbrass instruments, drums, singing and dancing. The children loved on us and we loved them right back! Our collective joy was huge! I was blessed to have a meeting with some of the Masaka teachers and staff. The high school secretary had been at Masaka for 10 years. Teacher longevity varied from 1 week to 4 years. With considerable reluctance, the teachers shared needs ranging from toys for the baby class students, science lab equipment for the high school, additional computers, updated textbooks and more. They told how students from surrounding villages walk up to 7 miles to school. These students often arrive late and tired making it difficult for them to concentrate on their lessons. A school bus was suggested.
The team of “Papa” Tom Granger, “Sister” Bethany Stroup and I traveled from Uganda to Freetown, Sierra Leone via plane, ferry and car. We were privileged to visit several GSM Centers including Sierra Leone Waterloo School, located in a poverty-stricken area. Students greeted us with singing to the rhythm of drums as we gathered in the P. A.W. (Pentecostal Assemblies of the World) Church. Adjacent to the church stood the two classrooms of Waterloo School. Gifts were exchanged and needs were expressed. Classrooms are without doors and windows and teachers have not been paid. Even though Waterloo School is not a GSM school, GSM has been giving some support to the children since Founder Bettie P. Mitchell visited this school in 1995. Students proudly wore new school uniforms that were recently provided by GSM International Education.
This trip solidified our knowing that much has been accomplished and yet much remains to be done. The GSM International Education Team is fired up to move forward into the new season of work God has laid before us. We welcome you to stand with us. Our mission: restoring wholeness to the lives of children by providing an excellent education that empowers tomorrow’s leaders.
The Journey of GSM – The Tree
By Teresa Stroup, LCSW
International Executive Director, GSM
When looking back at the past 41 years of GSM one begins to wonder about the condition of the ministry, not just the past , but the present and the future. While speaking in Africa the Lord showed me an analogy of the tree.
The tree was planted in the heart of God, growing into a budding tree over the years. It bore good fruit and had many signs of health over time. People’s lives were changed in significant ways, and the Holy Spirit was being poured out on those who came.
When Bettie Mitchell retired the tree began to go through a pruning season. Things began to be cut back and over the next seven years, the message began to change and the fellowship of those who were close began to be challenged. Many people who were committed to GSM continued their work in isolation.
There were many who were lead other directions, such as myself. The Lord lead me to go to school and get several degrees, Vonda was sent into the hospital to work with kids in crisis, Cindy was sent to teach and work in the Community College. There are many others who are slowly coming back that were lead other directions as well.
I for one thought that I was finished with GSM and that it was a season that was over for me. In Africa many of the country leaders felt abandoned by GSM, they were cut back to the bare essentials and many had not received visitors for many years. The pain that was being expressed by the leaders was almost universal; we had all been broken in GSM in one way or another. The pruning process feels and often looks like a death.
The tree had grown, and now the tree had been pruned back, a season of dormancy had passed. This gathering of 17 countries and 13 satellite leaders marked a new era – Spring has come, and life is returning to the tree. After such a long winter many wondered how we had survived., but we had.
We are now poised and ready for growth again, new life is coming back into the tree. The joy was overflowing, the laughter had returned and the life of the Samaritans was being knit back together, people were being restored to each other again. New commitments were made. Agreements to love the pruning and the pruners that God sent meant that everyone who would come could be restored back into the life of GSM.
I don’t know where you have been with the ministry lately but I am here to declare that it is a new day and a new season for us. Come and talk with us about the trip and learn about what God is doing in Africa.
You will be blessed!