Dec 4, 2011

God Opens the Door to Take the Gospel to India in January 2012

In 2005, I visited several villages in Tamil Nadu devastated
by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami to comfort the residents
This January, in answer to a long time prayer, our SWIM ministry team has been invited by several churches in South India to conduct a Festival of Hope and pastoral/evangelism leadership conference touching several cities near Chennai, Tamil Nadu.  We have been working on preparations for the festival since early this fall.  With just one month to go before the outreach events, join me to pray that this effort will be fruitful beyond my expectations. 

In 2005, my friend and fellow evangelist Nick Hall and I knelt on the expansive Marina beach in Chennai, India, in earnest prayer. “Lord, please make it possible for us to come back here and share your gospel with the people of India,” we prayed. We dreamed of the beach being filled by thousands of Indian people listening to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Six years later, God has answered our
prayer. This January, I will be preaching
the Good News of Christ to as many
as 80,000 people in India's Tamil Nadu.

We had travelled through the villages in Tamil Nadu, South India, devastated by the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. We listened to heart wrenching stories of whole villages wiped off the map by the raging waters as the waves came ashore.

In one such instance, seven boys aged 9-12 (pictured above) took me on a canoe through a channel in the Bay of Bengal sandwiched by thick virgin Mangrove forests to a small sandy Island that had once been a vibrant village.  They told us a tree top visible about 1000 feet into the ocean had once been the center of their village.

In one of our earlier Missions in India,
hundreds of youth attend a SWIM youth
Festival event where Sammy shared
the gospel with them.
In another surviving village, after a celebratory fluit dance welcome, the residents took us to the temple of their gods. Idols that we knew were not God at all. Our hearts ached with great sorrow that so many had died without the knowledge of Christ, but perhaps more tragically that so many were living without Christ and without hope.

Praying with villagers

We were under strict orders from our hosts not to proselytize due to anti-conversion State laws in Tamil Nadu. In spite of the limitations, we helped the people with little material help we could afford. At least we could pray, as we moved from village to village, that God may open the door for us in the near future to help usher in a harvest of Indian people into the Kingdom of God.

Well, six years later, God has answered that prayer. This January our SWIM ministry team has been invited by several churches in South India to conduct a Festival of Hope in several cities near Chennai.

There is great Spiritual hunger in India.
Pray for my associate Stanton Peterson
as he champions ministry in Schools
during our time in India
Our team of four will minister in several Schools, Universities, and Colleges, conduct a Pastoral Conference, and hold three days of evangelistic festival in addition to ministery in churches between January 23-30 in Tenkasi, Triunelveli, Palayamkottai, and in Nazareth.  Additionally, I will have the privilege to speak to a gathering of at least  25,000 Indian believers organized by well-known Indian Evangelist Mohan C. Lazarus, as they pray for their nation.  We anticipate we will minister to as many as 80,000 people.

My Associate Stanton Peterson will
champion ministry to Kids during
our India Festival outreach. 
Please pray with our team of four (SWIM Board Member Steve Wareham, SWIM Board Member David Sumners, SWIM Ministry Associate Stanton Petersen, and I) and for the churches in South India over the next couple months as we partner together to proclaim Christ in this environment that can be very hostile to Christ and to those turning to Him.

With over one billion people and less than two percent being Christian, India is a frontier mission field in desperate need of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Pray for us for boldness and clarity as we preach, teach and train fellow workers.  Pray for good health for us.  Pray for the provisions we need to successfully conduct the festivals and conferences.  We have a need of $ 30,000 that needs to come in over the next one month.  As the Lord has endowed you, prayerfully consider supporting our missionary efforts around the world with a generous year-end gift by clicking the donate button on the right side of your screen to a secure donation site.

Nov 9, 2011

God Does Great Things in Mankato, Minnesota

Sammy Wanyonyi speaks to several hundred
students at Mankato State on November 4th
Sachi- Student from Japan
"When you first visited our campus I wasn't a believer. But I came out to hear you speak. It was really powerful and touching!  Soon after, I repented and gave my heart to Christ.  And yes, life is so much better!   Now, I am serving God and people to lift His name high here in Mankato! I am happy seeing more people getting saved and becoming bold here at MSU! God is moving!! I thank God so much for everything He is doing here. Thank you for coming to MSU."

That was Sachi (right), a student at Minnesota State University, Mankato as she prepared to help with the follow-up process for other students who came to Christ this past week at our Flame Night sponsored by SWIM and co-hosted with various campus ministries. 

Hip Hop Artist Flame gets the
crowd excited
Artist VRose gets the crowd excited
Like several other students who came out to the event Friday night, Sachi is an international student from Japan. She was referring to one of my earlier campus visits when plans for Flame Night were in their embryonic stage. I had spoken to a group of about 14 students that afternoon, brought together by Maranatha Christian Fellowship. She was one of them. Now, Sachi is a vibrant follower of Christ.

MSU Students enjoy the moment
MSU student Paulkani from India hosted MCs.
For 51 out of several hundreds of students that attended the Flame Night on November 4th, it is a day that they will remember forever. One in which they met and received Jesus Christ into their hearts as Lord and Savior. We rejoice in Christ's victory on the public University Campus.

Hip Hop Artist TruServa
For many others who attended Flame night but are yet to receive Christ, we believe their openness to come out and hear the presentation of the Gospel has ushered them closer to embracing the truth of Jesus Christ. It is our prayer that they will one day look back at that moment and, like Sachi, connect the dots to a new relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Sammy Challenges the students to receive Christ.
Fifty one students gave their lives
to Christ during the event
Please pray for the 51 students that came into a relationship with Christ to stand and grow in their faith.  Pray for the various campus ministries that are partnering with us in the follow-up process such as Intervarsity, Maranatha Christian Fellowship, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Life Family Church, New Creation Church, and many others working on the University.  One of the powerful outcomes of the outreach was the demonstrated unity in the Body of Jesus Christ as they help reach out to students in a secular arena.

Sep 13, 2011

Twelve Thousand Come to Christ on the Hills of Rubavu, Rwanda. 78000 Attend.

Sammy Wanyonyi leads a crowd in repentence prayer
They came from all walks of life, strutting across the gentle hills of Rubavu, to attend the SWIM Ministry Festival of Hope events that lasted for a week. These same hills, that not long ago hosted thousands fleeing for their lives from the genocide and ethnic gangs bent on revenge, became places of gatherings of hope, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Often, they withstood the elements, rain, wind, slippery hillsides, in order to listen to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

250 Women leaders attend the conference facilitated by
SWIM team members Kimberly Wolf and Judy Chase. 
Each night, our ministry team proclaimed the love of God to several thousands. Each time, hundreds of people responded to the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. By the closing of the festival on the 7th day, 11,980 people out of the 78,000 that attended the meetings, had prayed with us to receive Christ.

Ingabire found hope through Christ.
One such individual was a young woman named Ingabire (pictured) who was on her way to commit suicide by drowning herself and her baby girl in the nearby Lake Kivu when she stopped by the festival long enough to hear Sammy proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Each night hundreds responded to the invitation to receive
Christ at festival events all across the city.

Standing precariously on a precipice overlooking the lake with her baby strapped on her back, Ingabire listened intently and learned that God loved her. She heard of how God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place so that none of us should perish if we believe. She understood that God is able to restore hope where we feel hopeless and to help us where we feel helpless and vulnerable.

Blair Carlson, Laussane Movement
Associate Director prays with a
local evangelist attending the
School of Evangelism. 300 local
evangelists participated in the School.

As Sammy concluded the message and gave invitation to those present to invite Jesus Christ into their lives, she responded among throngs of others that night. Tearfully she prayed repenting of all her sin and shame.

Hundreds respond to receive Christ at closing event.
Moments later, she met with a festival counselor. Crying for God’s mercy and forgiveness, she reported her earlier mission to drown herself and her baby in the nearby lake. Now, she realized that God cared and God was there to help her. God’s mercy had prevailed over her sin and shame to rescue her both from self-destruction and from eternal condemnation. Our team was able to connect her to local resources where she is receiving on-going counseling.

SWIM team with a team of local
evangelists from Africa Enterprise
Rwanda who assisted with the Festivals

Besides the evangelistic events, our team trained and empowered 620 local pastors, evangelists, women leaders, high profile political and business community leaders as well as helped the local community rebuild seven homes for genocide victim families. These leaders continue to extend the impact of the ministry in the region.

300 pastors and evangelists participated
in the SWIM School of Evangelism.

Over the last three weeks since end of Festival,
399 are reported by 9 congregations to have been baptized. 
Another 1000 are in process.  Thousands more are in other
churches that haven't sent in their reports as yet. 
To God be the glory!

Local evangelists and pastors
at the SWIM School of Evangelism
engage with each other.

In the last three weeks since the end of the Festival, nine churches in Rubavu out of the seventy-five that participated with SWIM in the outreach have reported baptizing a total of 399 individuals that came to Christ at the Festival. They also report about 1000 other people currently going through the discipleship process in their churches. Hundreds more are doing the same with 66 other congregations in the city of Rubavu. We give God the glory!

This Fall- Bringing the Message of Christ to Mankato, MN

As we enter the Fall season, we are excited for the opportunity to partner with ministries and churches to bring the message of Christ stateside to the city of Mankato, MN. On November 4th and 5th, SWIM ministry will host our second Mid-West Festival event on the University Campus of Minnesota State University Mankato.

Among other activities, the events will feature national Hip-Hop Artist Flame, Heart of the City Worship Band, and a message of hope from evangelist Sammy among others. Please pray with us for a great harvest of souls especially among the 14,000 University student population.

Jul 24, 2011

489 Respond to Invitation on First Day

We thank God for a great start to the outreach here in Rubavu, Rwanda. 489 people prayed with us to receive Jesus Christ into their lives at the openning Festival events this evening. The audience of about 4000 was very patient and enthusiastic, responding well to my message at the openning rally.  See some pictures on our Facebook Page

There is incredible unity among the churches of the city. They were all united in their morning services with each church preaching on the Festival theme. We give God the glory.

Continue to pray for the remaining seven days of activities that thousands more will come to Christ as we take the festival to various neighborhoods around the city.  Pray that the hundreds of leaders attending the leadership conferences will be equipped transformationally to impact their communities for Christ. 

You can support this effort financially by following the donate button on the right panel on this page.  We need your help to meet our outreach costs to these needy communities of Rubavu and nearby Goma in the DRC.

Jul 23, 2011

All Night Long!

More than 300 intercessors are spending the whole night in prayer together here in Rubavu ahead of tomorrow's festival kick-off.  They have been fasting and praying on site since Thursday.  I can't wait to see how God answers our prayer throughout this whole week of mission. 

2 Chronicles 7:14 "And My people who are called by name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  That is a sure promise!

One may preach and be unreal, but one cannot pray and remain unreal.  For the prayer that reaches heaven is one born from a heart's communion with the Holy Spirit.  True prayer arouses in the heart love, peace, joy, patience, wisdom, trust, sincerity, courage, and compassion- all that is divine.  To be forgiven is divine.  For humanity to be saved therefore it must be by prayer born out of communion with the Holy Spirit. 

The success of our evangelistic work here in Rubavu, Rwanda this week is entirely dependent on obedient intercession of God's people all around the world. For prayer is the power-room of all Christian service that is worthy of the name. If we do not believe that, we shall never accomplish anything.  Time given to prayer will yeald more than that given to work. 

To quote Andrew Murray, "If we will but believe in God and His faithfulness, intercession will become to us the very first thing we take refuge in when we seek blessing for others, and the very last thing for which we cannot find time. Between our impotence and God's Omnipotence, intercession is the blessed link." 

Jul 22, 2011

Outpouring of Prayer in Rubavu

Our team arrived here in Rubavu, Rwanda safely. We are all healthy and renewed. The work has started. ‎300 local intercessors are fasting and praying on the site of the Festival Thursday through Sunday, which is when the weeklong festival events kick off. That is powerful!

Churches of all stripes are united in purpose and in prayer (Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Charismatic congregations, etc). That is nothing short of a miracle in this day and age of theological polarization. God working! 

Continue to pray with us that God's mighty anointing will work through us to draw thousands to Christ. Pray for utterance to be given to us to make manifest the work and the glory of Christ. Rubavu is a city with a 40% Muslim population, the most concentration of Muslims in all of Rwanda. The Mayor is Muslim and so are a number of public officials.
Thankfully, many of them will be attending our events including a special dinner we have planned for the business community that will include the Mayor and regional Governor. Pray for God to change their hearts and the heart of this community. 
From the balcony of my hotel room, about a mile away, I can see the city of Goma which is in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  It is a much troubled city that has seen the worst of days in recent years. Hundreds of its residents will be drooping across the border to this side to participate in the Festival events.  Pray that this is the beginning of a mighty revival that brings the fresh wind and fresh fire of the Spirit that heals the wounds of this region.
Finally, continue to pray for the outstanding financial provision to help us complete this mission successfully.  If you can, please click on the donate button on the right side panel of this page and follow the link to a secure donation site.  
O Lord our God, it is for your glory!  O Lord our God, pour out your Mighty Spirit to heal and to save the lost in Rubavu and Goma.  For you are our hope.  Our firm foundation.  My soul delights in obeying your commands.  I hasten to follow you in your mission for the salvation of humankind.  Our Lord and God, do a new thing in Rubavu that sinners and unbelievers will marvel and therefore repent and glorify you! 

Jul 18, 2011

Commissioned to Tell

On the Galilean mountain near Jerusalem, Jesus commissioned His 11 disciples to go and make disciples of all the nations of the earth (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:1-14). Their commissioning was both specific and representative.  Specific in the sense that it applied to them in their time and generation. 

Following Jesus' ascention and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of promise, they were to go forth in power, proclaiming the advent of the Kingdom of God to all nations.  They were to speak of the things that they had seen with their eyes, heard with their ears, and handled with their hands as they walked with Jesus (1 John 1:1-4).  They would provide a firsthand account of the life, death, resurrection, ascention and soon return of the King of Kings and LORD of Lords.

Pray for our team of seven as we travel to Rwanda.
In this picture team members Kimberly Wolf, Judy Chase,
Sammy Wanyonyi, Richard Munala, and Blair Carlson. 
Not included are Robert Siakamoto and Derek Simpson.
But it was also representative in the sense that they were forerunners in the collective mission of the Church world-wide to be born a few weeks later. Those who would heed the call to repentence and to followership of Jesus Christ were expected to carry forward the good news of Salvation.  That two thousand years later their is a vibrant church in the world speaks to the faithfulness of these men and women.

Today, that commission stands just as true, forceful, and urgent for followers of Jesus Christ.  It is not an isolated or selective call.  It is not even optional.  It is forceful and comprehensive.  All who claim Christ as their Lord must listen to and obey His command to go and make disciples of all nations.  We all, must go forth in the power and dominion of the Holy Spirit.  We too must work the works of God in demonstration of His power.  

It is urgent that we do so given the incredible unbelief that characterizes our generation.  Ours is a generation marked by idolatry, unbelief, immorality and deception of unequaled propotions. Unless the gospel of Christ is proclaimed and embraced, we will all likewise perish. 

How that obedience looks for one follower of Christ may not be the same for the next.  But the end result is always the disciples for Jesus Christ.

In less than 48 hours, with a team of seven others we will be sitting on a plane and flying some 12000 miles to share this same Good News of the Kingdom with thousands of people at the heart of Africa, in Rubavu Rwanda.  This is how I have been called and equipped to make disciples for Christ.  I have been called and equipped to tell it on the mountaintops that Jesus Christ is Lord and to call everyone to belief.  Will you stand with us and pray for our team?  Perhaps this is how Christ has wired you in your journey of intercede.  We need your obedience.

With a short time left before we depart, we still have an $ 8000 need to help us complete the mission successfully.  Will you pray with me that full provision will be realized over the next few hours?      

Jul 12, 2011

Seven Days and Counting--Before Rwanda Festival of Hope

We rejoice in Christ for what He is doing in the world to bring about reconciliation, hope and salvation. Each day here at SWIM Ministries, we continue to contend for the faith, desiring that through His Gospel of peace, men and women everywhere and from every walk of life may be brought into a personal and vital relationship with Him and as consequence, with each other.

Thousands attend one of SWIM's past festivals in Rwanda.
 In just seven days our team will be heading to the nation of Rwanda to conduct a week-long Festival of Hope. Our efforts this time will be focused on the communities around the cities of Rubavu, Rwanda and Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo on the opposite sides of the common border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

These are uniquely needy communities, having withstood the attrocities of war for over fifteen years engalfing, first, Rwanda in the 1994 genocide, and then Eastern DRC from 1996-2006. With over 5 million people, mostly women and children having died during this period, it is a deeply wounded community and in desperate need of hope and healing. The Gospel of Christ is able to provide this much needed sense of hope and meaning.  God is already walking among the people in these communities wiping away their tears and  binding their wounds. We are eager to join Him over the next two weeks.

I am requesting for your continued prayer for us and for these two communities of Rubavu and Goma. Pray that the power of Christ and the glory of God will be made manifest as we proclaim hope, healing and Salvation through Christ. Over 50,000 people are expected to participate in the events. Among spiritual and social forces to contend with include spiritism and witchcraft, Islam, tribalism, poverty, psychological trauma, among others.  Pray that Christ's healing power will bring wholeness and restoration.

Secondly, pray for me and for the rest of our team that utterance will be given to us so we may present the gospel of Christ with clarity, simplicity and power. Pray for the people that their hearts will be open to embrace the way of Christ and of His gospel. Pray for the churches which have come together for the purpose of this campaign that they will remain united and engaged after we are done with the events.

Local Leaders Participate at a past SWIM Conference in Rwanda
 Besides the evangelistic Festivals, we have two large conferences to be attended by over 600 local leaders combined. Pray that those coming will be equipped with great ministry and leadership tools that will help them in their continued service to Christ and to their communities. This year to present the conferences, I am being joined by Dr. Blair Carlson formerly of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and current director of the Lausanne Congress, Dr. Robert Siakamoto, President of Open Air Campaigners based in Aukland, New Zealand, Dr. Derek Simpson, an Evangelist and Current pastor at  Leominster Baptist Church, United Kingdom, and Judy Chase and Kimberly Wolf, co-teachers of women Bible studies at Westwood Community Church, Minneapolis, MN.

Thirdly, pray for my family that they will be safe and healthy while I travel. My wife and I are expecting our second born daughter in about 8 weeks time. She has been experiencing difficulties with elevated blood pressure and concerns about possible preeclampsia recurrence (our first arrived 7 weeks early). Please pray that she will stay safe and that there will be no complication arising while I am in Rwanda.

Finally, I request for your financial support. With only seven days left before I leave for the events, we have a $ 13,000 need (it costs us $ 1.50 to bring one person to the Festival in Africa).  Please consider helping us fully cover the ministry expenses. As the Lord speaks to you, follow the donate link on this website and stand with us in these efforts. Your gift is tax deductible and will assist us fulfill this mission successfully. You can also send a check to SWIM Ministry, 3121 Westwood Dr., Excelsior, MN 55331.

I will be posting daily updates on this blog starting tomorrow and over the next three weeks.  I encourage you to visit often for your own inspiration, encouragement and for knowing how you can be praying with us during this campaign in Rwanda. Thank you for your partnership.

Serving together by His Power and for His glory,
Sammy Wanyonyi

World Evangelist

Jul 1, 2011

A Whole New Wardrobe- By Joel Johnson

You Can Sin—But You Won’t Be Happy. Sin no longer “fits” your life. Sure, you can “wear” sin for a while, but it’s like wearing old clothes that are three sizes too small. You can do it but you won’t be comfortable, you won’t feel right, and frankly, you won’t look right either. Sin no longer “fits.”

Coming to Christ is like getting a whole new wardrobe. What fits now? Love, joy, peace fit. Compassion and mercy fit. Justice and concern for others, holiness and righteousness fit. Those spiritual clothes are tailor-made for you. And those sins you used to wear so comfortably? They just don’t fit any more. But what if you go back to the closet and put those old sins back on anyway? What happens to a Christian who chooses to sin? Let me give you four things to think about in response:

1. You won’t feel right. You’ll sin, but you won’t receive any personal satisfaction. You may have temporary happiness in the flesh – people wouldn’t sin if it didn’t satisfy “something.” But you won’t know ‘soul’ happiness – the deepest joy we can experience.

2. You won’t grow spiritually. Because when you sin you are not looking for God to act in your life, you are consumed with yourself. The release of the Spirit is hampered by self concern. Your appetite for the sweetness of Christ and the Word of God is diminished. And without responding to the Spirit or being in the Word, we won’t grow spiritually. Eventually we become joyless.

3. God will stop you. If you refuse to surrender your body to the Lord, but uses your members for sinful purposes, then you are in danger of being disciplined by the Father. It’s a discipline of love much like a parent who disciplines their children so they understand what is right, noble, and pure. Those whom God justifies, He sanctifies. That is, He grows us to conform to the character of Christ. If we persist in sinning, He will certainly arrange the circumstances so that your sin eventually turns out to your own disadvantage. If you persist, He may even take your life prematurely (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:29-30; Hebrews 10:26-31; 1 John 5:16-17; Hebrews 12:5-11).

4. If you persist in sin in a way without a direction change from sin to sanctification, it may demonstrate that you were never truly saved. You will change if Christ is in you and it will affirm your salvation.

Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). We have been delivered from sin and set free indeed through Jesus Christ.

Let’s prevail together through Christ who gives us strength to live for His glory and resist temptations to sin that diminishes joy. Remember, you are able not to sin!

What has happened in your experiences when you have continued in sin? What has God used to set you back on a path of growing in the likeness of Christ?

Jun 29, 2011

Random thoughts on violence and redemption

The reality and vicious nature of human conflict can be extremely heart-breaking. It highlights our nature as depraved beings. It is easy for us to point fingers at others in their hour of such manifestation of violence and to marvel, privately priding in how we are not like them. Yet the fact is that we are all under the violent domain of sin. As long as we remain unchanged, we are its' captives.

On Good Friday Jesus the Son of God took upon Himself the violence of humanity. He endured the cross and despised its' shame. In the cross event, He reconciled humanity to God and has since been reconciling humanity to fellow humanity.

Yet it is not the violence of Good Friday that defines the Christian faith. Just because Jesus experienced human violence and suffering does not make Him our Savior nor does it offer hope for a world reeling under the weight of sin. It is the fact that after He had taken upon Himself all that violence and sin could bestow upon Him, He defeated their power by rising from the dead.

The vicious pain and gruesome images of Good Friday were contained and surpassed by the joy of Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is the explanation for the existence of Christianity. Says Paul in 1 Cor. 15: 17, 20: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins...but now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep."

The fact of the resurrection of Christ is the reason for our hope and optimism in the face of daunting and disheartening circumstances. Because He lives we can face tomorrow with fresh vigor and vitality. Because Jesus lives we love and serve others even when we are not loved or served in return. Because Jesus lives we continue to reach out and to proclaim that He is the Hope of the world.

May 5, 2011

As We Pray on this National Day of Prayer---An Update From SWIM Ministries

Hopefully you are enjoying this beautiful spring weather...if you live in the U.S. upper Midwest you know what I mean. Here at SWIM we are sprinting with Kingdom undertakings as always. Early Spring I travelled with Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to Liberia for the All Liberia Life Festival. It was a beautiful experience; especially seeing thousands upon thousands of Liberian Children give their lives to Jesus Christ at the Children Festival. It was definitely my highlight moment of the trip.

Several hundred members of Kenyan Community in MN
gather for prayer in Minneapolis over Easter Weekend.
SWIM ministries was a co-sponsor of the outreach event.

Upon return, I managed to take a short time away with my family to rest and recuperate. Then two Saturdays ago during Easter Weekend, we worked with other local ministries to host a prayer gathering for the Twin Cities African Community, specifically from Kenya. Around 500 people were in attendance at the high energy prayer meeting for which we are grateful to God.

Teaching evangelism, church planting and intercultural leadership courses at Crown College has kept me very busy as well.  Each week I am giving instruction, reading, and grading around 80 papers from students as I fan them to become vessels that God can use for His honorable service.

With the summer months approaching, we are excited for what God has in store. Apart from our on-going ministry around the USA, we are conducting a Festival of Hope in the Rwandan city of Rubavu on the Rwanda/DRC border in the month of July. We anticipate that as many as one hundred thousand people in Rwanda and the DRC will be impacted by the gospel of Jesus Christ through the week-long Festival of Hope.

Rev. Blair Carlson (far right) pictured here with Rev. Doug Badsal at the
Lausanne Congress where they were co-directors of the Congress in Cape
Town, SA. Dr. Carlson will be presenting our SWIM conference on
leadership and evangelism in Rubavu, Rwanda this Summer . 

We will also conduct three seperate leadership conferences that will equip pastors and evangelists, women leaders, and younger leaders respectively. I will also be speaking at a special forum for political and business leaders hosted by the governors of Rubavu Province of Rwanda and Kivu Province of the DRC.

 As we are preparing, God has brought an impeccable team of leaders and speakers to travel with me as part of the SWIM team. This year I will be joined by Rev. Blair Carlson, a long-time director of international evangelism at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Last year, Blair served as the Director of the Lausanne World Congress on Evangelization- Cape Town 2010, that brought together four thousand Christian leaders from nearly two hundred countries to pray and strategize for world Evangelism. I am honored that Dr. Carlson will serve with me to help equip church and community leaders at our Evangelism and Pastoral leadership conference in Rwanda.

Other great leaders travelling with me include Kimberly Wolf and Judy Chase, outstanding women Bible teachers at Westwood Community Church, Chanhassen, MN, our home church, and Rev. Richard Munala, Senior Pastor of Mzizi Church International here in the Twin Cities.

Sammy enjoying a beautiful sunset moment with Jr. in Tampa Florida during
a short family vacation uponreturn from Liberia in Mid-April.  Suzanne and
I areexpecting a new addition to our family in early September.
 Come early fall and Suzanne, Sammy Jr., and I will be welcoming a new member into our family, Jr's little sister.  We are so thrilled for this blessing from God. 

Additionally during fall, we will be conducting two days of outreach in Mankato, Minnesota on the Minnesota State University Campus (MSU). MSU also happens to be my wife's alma matter and we are thrilled at the opportunity to present Christ to this special community.  A couple weeks ago I met with thirteen pastors of leading congregations in Mankato and they are very energized for this outreach. Pray with our team as we put together the logistics, especially for the right artists, funding, and for great response to the gospel.

Sammy met with this team of lead pastors in Mankato, MN
to pray with them and to share the vision for helping reach
their community later this Fall

Pray for a great harvest in all these undertakings over the next four months. Pray for many to come to Christ. Pray for open doors for finances. Pray for anointing as we minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for me and for my wife Suzanne as we enter this busy season for God's renewing power and presence. Pray as we stir up our generation to be a people of power and a Kingdom of praise.  Pray for our family as we welcome a new addition this fall that all will go very smoothly.

Finally, pray for our staggering nationa and our world that are in desperate need for hope, healing, and reconciliation from all the wounds left behind by natural and manmade conflicts. Jesus Christ is the solution and we need to proclaim that without ceasing. May His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven!

Mar 29, 2011

Join Me Tonight, March 29th for a Special Webcast from Liberia

Witness the amazing work of God in the country of Liberia by joining me tonight, March 29th 2011 for this special webcast of the Franklin Graham All Liberia Life Festival at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 8:30 Central. 

To watch the webcast, go to or  It will also be available all week. We give God the glory for the thousands of lives that have been touched by the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ this past week in Liberia.   

Mar 26, 2011

Made a Liberian Chief Here in Monrovia

It is official; I am a Liberian a spiritual sense! That is what a group of Liberian pastors said as they adorned me with an official Liberian Chief outfit this morning at an impromptu church ceremony attended by about fifty Liberian pastors here in Monrovia.

About 10,000 people including Liberian President
and Vice President attended the First night of Liberia
for Jesus Festival on Friday night.

The international Committee for the End-Time Revival in Liberia are a group of evangelical and Pentecostal Churches both in Liberia and in the United States that have extended an invitation to SWIM ministries to partner with them in a nationwide evangelism, reconciliation and healing Festival in 2012 touching several cities across Liberia.

During the civil war, the group was able to mobilize a nation-wide campaign called Liberia for Jesus that saw prayer rallies held across several cities as well as the gospel proclaimed simultaneously across all the provinces of Liberia in 2002 as they called for the end to the civil war at that time.

R.V. Brown (left) and Franklin Graham right during our
team prayer time
As Liberia rebuilds from the ruins, there is the need for reconciliation and healing from the scars and wounds that are still fresh. They feel that God directed them to Shine in the World International Ministries as the right partner organization with the churches in Liberia for this major campaign scheduled for the Fall of 2012.

On learning that I was here travelling with Franklin Graham for the All Liberia Life Festival, the pastors convened an impromptu reception gathering this morning and invited me to the occasion. May the Lord honor their hearts that are full of passion and joy in Jesus Christ.

On a different note, Franklins' festival is going very well. Yesterday we had about 10,000 people that attended the opening Crusade. 2700 people made decisions for Jesus Christ (my unofficial estimates).

This morning I estimated more than 25,000 children at the Children Fest with Franklin's Associate Evangelist R.V. Brown. Several thousands of kids responded to the invitation. You can watch my webcast segment on Tuesday March 29th at God is moving!

Mar 25, 2011

"Hallo team, We are only a few hours away before the start of the All Liberia Life Festival with Franklin Graham here in Monrovia. In about six hours I need to be with the Camera crew reharsing for the broadcast. It is a full day ahead. But at this time I am feeling sick with a cold/flu, losing my voice, and abit miserable cause I can't sleep. The weather here feels suffocating in the day. I need your prayer right now. Could you take a few minutes and stand with me? There is no question that there is spiritual warfare going on. The gospel must however, go forth unhindered! Thank you! Sammy Wanyonyi

Mar 22, 2011

Stand with Us for Liberia this Weekend

I am currently on my way to Monrovia, Liberia accompanying Franklin Graham and the team from the Billy Graham Association and Samaritan's Purse conducting the All Liberia Life Festival this weekend. I will be serving as your broadcast host for the Festival. Pray with us for a great harvest of souls for the Kingdom.

In recent months, Shine in the World International Ministries (SWIM) received and is seriously considering conducting Festivals of Hope in this West African nation in 2012. Travelling with the Billy Graham and Franklin Graham teams to the nation gives us a head start in understanding the need and preparational details.

Liberia has recently gone through two civil wars that resulted in thousands of people dying, millions emotionally traumatized due to the brutal violence, whole populations displaced, thousands emigrating as refugees (more than 30,000 Liberians now live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul alone), a devastation of Liberian economy with dire implications for the remnants, as well as collapse of infrastructure, institutions, churches, and families.

Since 2005, the nation has been in rebuilding mode following successful ceasefire and transition to democratically elected leadership. But the wounds are still fresh as millions of Liberians hang on in hope against hope.

Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse organization has been here helping communities rebuild in socio-economic ways since the end of the war. Yet as Liberians and all of us know, true hope lies beyond the socio-economic recovery. It lies in the spiritual transformation.

This weekend marks a significant moment in the healing process of this nation as thousands look to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. The gospel will be proclaimed and thousands of Liberians invited to place their faith and confidence in Jesus Christ. Many others watching the broadcast around the world will be invited to do the same.

Pray that hearts and minds will be open to the persuading power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for Franklin as he proclaims the Good News that he may connect with the thousands in the stadium and around the world.

Pray for me as I host the broadcast to articulate the reality of God's grace being presented to the multitudes in attendance as well as to connect well with the viewers around the world on the need for faith and salvation through Jesus Christ. For more details, visit or

Mar 16, 2011

God is Glorified at SWIM's Five Year Anniversary Celebration Event

A hundred and eighty of our ministry partners joined us over dinner to celebrate what God has done through SWIM ministries over the last five years.

Individual lives have been transformed by the power of the Gospel of Christ as we have stepped out in faith and obedience to the Great Commission. By God’s help, 308,000 have so far participated in our Festivals in six different countries over these five years. A total of 38,937 individuals have prayed with us to receive Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior. 1801 pastors and leaders have participated in our Leadership Conferences. To God be the glory!

There are three basic motivations that continue to inform our engagement with the gospel of Christ. First is our human reality of being lost from God. Through Christ, His death on the Cross and His resurrection from the dead, we can all be reconciled to God if we repent and come to God in His Name. We are thus obliged to preach the gospel because we love our fellow human beings and seek to call them from darkness into the light of Christ.

Second is the urgency of the call and commission from God to His church. It is part of our Kingdom identity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples of the world. We cannot truly say we love God and yet fail to obey His Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations of the world.

Third and final is the glory of God. This is the greatest reason that we preach the gospel of Christ. He is worthy of our love and of the worship of all humanity.

As we look ahead to the next five years, we anticipate a tripling of our evangelistic efforts and Kingdom impact. We recognize the divine excitement at one sinner who repents and turns away from sin (Luke 15). We are thus committed to daily reaching out to call everyone to come follow Jesus.

We equally recognize the urgency with which God desires that all of humanity be saved and the great need for laborers. We are committed to using all the means possible to reach as many people as possible with the love of Christ. Would you pray with us that abundant strength, wisdom and resources would be released to us to carry out the mission unhindered?

Thanks to all of our partners who came and to the many others that were unable to be there but pray for us and give liberally of their resources so that we may preach Christ and Him crucified.

Special thanks to Dan Adler and Heart of the City worship band who led us all in heart-warming worship, Mzizi Church International Youth team for dramatizing the power of the gospel during the event, Destiny Faith Ministries youth team for the African worship demonstration, Dan Dye who served as our evening host, Ceallaigh Anderson who served as our event coordinator, Lighthouse Media who put together the vision video, Westwood Community Church for hosting the celebration event at the church facility, Maranatha Church U of M for the volunteers, and the SWIM Board of Directors and staff for their leadership. Thank You!

Feb 25, 2011

Faith Seeks Welcoming Acceptance in the Holy Land

As published in Chanhassen Villager and Chaska Herald Newspapers February 24th 2011

Father Chacour speaks to our team in Haifa, Israel
“I beg of you for your friendship and for your solidarity. Your solidarity, if you accept to share it with me, requires from you reconsideration of your attitudes, your convictions, and of your relations toward the Jew and I his Palestinian brother. For we are blood brothers who share the same Iraqi Forefather. Why should you lose your balance and interpret your standing with my Jewish brother as automatic hatred, the purging rejection of me, his Palestinian brother whom you do not know?

“I am not asking you to take my side against my Jewish brother’s side. What would you have done to your noble self if you become one sided? You reduce all your capacity to become one more enemy in this cruel arena. We do not need any more enemies. We need one more friend.

I truly enjoyed our fellowship with Father Chacour
who has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace
Prize for his message of reconciliation in the Holy Land.
For we Jews and Palestinians don’t need to learn how to live together. We just need to remember how we used to live together for centuries. If you read our history with honesty, you will discover that all across the Middle East and for centuries, we never used tolerance with each other…I tolerate you, stay there until I find a solution to get rid of you. No! We lived in welcoming acceptance of each other…I thank you for being there. You help me to know who I am. Without you I would be lost.”

One of the landmark buildings in Haifa, the Industrial Capital of Israel
These are the piercing but humble words of Father Allias Chacour, Arch Bishop of Galilee, Israel with the Malekite Greek Catholic Church. He speaks not just for himself, but for a whole army of followers of Jesus Christ both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the Westbank. A group of us evangelical ministers, all doctoral students from Bethel University, St. Paul, MN had stopped by his office in Haifa, Israel this past week as part of our doctoral research efforts in Peace Leadership.

Our team listens to a presentation from a Jewish Rabii in Jerusalem.
As a Christian and a biblical scholar, it is common for me to read in the Bible, discuss with others, and sing about different biblical sites, cities, and various characters. From very early on in life, the tales of biblical heroes and legends fuel our imagination. The Holy Land and its’ famous cities, landmarks, and holy places like Jerusalem, Hebron, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jericho, Mount Moriah, Mount Zion, the Sea of Galilee, the Valley of Megiddo, the Garden Tomb, and many others excite our sense of curiosity.

As a kid growing up in a Christian home I could not help but think of many of these places in fantastical terms. Perhaps that the dirt in the city streets or stones/rocks in the land hold some special divine powers or for instance that one is seized by a great sense of holiness as they get close to the spot where Christ was born.

A song I remember us singing in the Kenyan village where I grew up went like this:

Palestinian evangelical believers during a worship service
in Bethlehem, Westbank 
 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, today I see Peter walking the streets of Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, today I see John and Paul walking the streets of Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, today I see Jesus shining His light in the streets of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, today as I bow in prayer I desire to experience you with the rest of
the disciples of our Lord.
The Western wall or Wailing wall in Old City of Jerusalem
is the holiest site to Jews.  Many come here to pray.

Little do we stop to ponder about the people in contemporary Israel, the Living Stones. When we do, often it is with a usual prophetic interest or the resigned political way of the never ending Palestinian/Israeli conflict. In the later sense, our quickest inclination is to read these biblical stories into the present day conflict and pass judgment without stepping back to interpret the standing of both peoples (and all peoples of the world for that matter) in light of Jesus’ work on the Cross that demolishes barriers. Nor do we look at it through the eyes of our Christian calling. That of a community of love with a mandate to carry out the ministry of reconciliation. The evangelistic responsibility to spread the Good News of salvation to all nations without prejudice.

The Temple Mount.  I am standing in the area where it is
believed the Holy of Holies was located in 1st
century Herod's Temple
Worse still, few of us realize that there are many Christians in the Holy Land. We are shocked to hear that there are entire communities of Arab or Palestinian Christians in the West Bank or in Israel. We gloss over such passages like Acts 2:9-11 that mention how the first believers came from many nationalities including Arabs. And that these very men and women lived and died for the Christian faith while working for the gospel of Jesus Christ to get us, peoples of other lands, included in the Kingdom of God. Today, many of them are still doing the same.

Father Chacour is one such man who embodies his most famous Compatriot from Galilee. He gathers to his self-identity all the possible and impossible contradictions of the Middle East. He is a proud Palestinian Arab Israeli Christian, an identity he is quick to point out to us that Westerners may not easily grasp because in our minds…goodness! A Palestinian is automatically a Muslim! To most of us, and falsely so, Muslims are normally blood-thirsty, inclined to violence and to trouble making.

The Ethiopian section at the church of the
Holy Suplicher in Old Jerusalem
 With a refreshing tone, Father Chacour pointed out to us during our meeting the reality of our humble origins of innocence. He, like all of us, was not born a Christian. Rather, he was born a baby. He was born bearing the image of God. A Palestinian Arab Israeli in his birth Certificate…yes! But most importantly he is an image-bearer of God whether we like it or not.

That in itself is sacred and hallowed territory that we cannot violet through political posturing, prophetic speculation, or our sinful tendency to ethnocentrism and exclusion. Like all peoples around the world, Jew, African, European, American, Chinese he was born a baby with that first cry of innocence. Christ found him in Galilee and called him to come follow Him in the way of reconciliation.
The Garden of Gethsemane and what happened there
doted with these ancient Olive Trees that go back to the
time of Jesus made the most impression
on my Holy Land experience
As we dug deeper into the complexity of Chacour’s affiliations, first of which is with Christ, we began to discover the deeper hope for a better existence for Jews and Palestinians. A hope that is not build on tolerance but rather on mutual welcoming acceptance between people because of their different backgrounds. It is a hope exemplified by another Man that walked in Galilee in the first century and infused and endorsed into the life of the Church by the Ruach (Spirit) of God at Pentecost.

In Chacours’ words: “What we have seen with our man from Galilee is that we have seen Him killed, we buried Him, and amazingly enough He got up and He left us with a very unique legacy. He left us an empty tomb and a risen Man. Here in our Galilee is the only place on earth where in a tomb it is officially written, “He is Not Here. He is Risen!”

This spot inside the Church of All Nations in
Gethsemen is believed to he the exact spot where
Christ agonized in prayer that night of the crucifixion
With these words, he bed us farewell… "Don’t stay at the empty tomb for long! Go back to your country and tell others the Good News. In America you have done something remarkable. You have elevated your former slave to be your President and you even had a cowboy before then. If you have been able to do that, can’t you do something that is less than that? From Pentecost the church has been made of diversity of mentalities but unity of vision. Would you pray for us who follow Christ here in the Holy Land? If you have Jewish neighbors, friends or relatives back in America, please continue providing friendship more than ever before. If they are in need, give them help. Give to Israel the whole treasury of the United States if possible. I will be grateful to you. But do not lose your balance and hate us Palestinians. For we are the Jews of the Jews! We have paid with our lives, with our independence, and with our everything, to quiet down the guilty conscience of the Western World toward our blood brothers. So by any chance if you decide to take our side as Palestinians, God bless your heart! For once you are on the right side, right? But seriously, if being on our side, you become one sided for us against our Jewish brothers, I am sorry but we do not need your friendship!”

As this scriptural reference at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem
declares, death is not the end of the journey for those
who hope in God. Christ rose from the dead and so
shall all who believe in Him. 
As I left Israel, indeed I felt I had stepped on hallowed ground and that my yearning for that perfect dominion of God had almost been realized. But contrary to my childhood fantasies, it wasn’t because of the dead stones. It was because of the Living Stones, Jewish and Arab, I encountered throughout my travel. I felt inspired more than ever before to pray for the peace of Jerusalem…Shalom!