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Samantha’s Corner: On Being the Change

Samantha’s Corner: On Being the Change

This weekend I had the opportunity to go to Kentucky and meet with the elders and the church that is supporting our trip to Africa. First and foremost I have to say that I am so grateful that the Lord put these people into our path because they are such an incredible congregation. The Lord shines through the people and I could not be happier to be a part of the work they are doing. But while I was there I got asked a simple question: why do you want to do mission work?

My entire life I have been raised to help people. Every morning before school as mom would drop us off she would tell us to make sure that we helped someone. It didn’t matter how; it could be giving someone a pencil or listening to someone’s problems, just as long as we made it a point to do something for someone else.

As Christians I think it is easy to get comfortable. Especially when things are going our way. God does not call us to be hearers of the Word only, we are called to be doers. (James 1:22) No, that does not mean that everyone has to travel across the world and live in a third world country for six months or a year. The mission field is everywhere. In our own communities, in our own country, and around the globe.

Jesus tells us to let everything we do be done in love. But this love isn’t just a feeling we have for someone. It’s not just forgiving a loved one who hurts us. Love is treating other people the way that Jesus would. It is a verb. It is putting other people first. It is giving God all the glory. God is love. If we are not doing everything for Him, if He does not come first, how can anything we do be done by love?

I read a quote somewhere that said God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. But we are all called. We are all qualified through Him. We are commanded to go into the world and proclaim the gospel to everyone. (Mark 16:16) If God puts this path into my life, tells me just like He told His disciples to leave everything and follow Him, then that is exactly what I will do. I’m a worry wart and scared of my own shadow. So do I have fears? Yes. But if God is for me who can be against me? (Romans 8:31) I’ll leave you with this quote from Katie Davis, a woman who left everything to move to Uganda to the Lord’s work:
“It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible.”

So that is my answer. Be radical. Be a light. Be the change.
– Samantha Edwards


A Few Thoughts on Leaving My Home.

A Few Thoughts on Leaving My Home.

Hello September.

You are finally here.  I honestly thought you would never come.

But before I share with you my thoughts on leaving let me share with all of you our going away party.

Last weekend we were able to celebrate with SO many of our friends before we leave for Africa.  I was amazed.  Some of our friends drove 3 hours while others had more like a 3 hour plane flight!  We were excited and humbled by the presence of all of you and I want to just say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.  We love you all.

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We even celebrated Christmas in August thanks to my dear Aunt Cindy! She gave all three of us the most thoughtful gift.  She sewed us each a pillowcase with our favorite things/colors that remind us of home!  Samm: Daisies and the color lavender.  Me: Red barns, blues and greens, and chickens.  Justin: Hunting and farming and the colors blue and green.

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Now, we are a mere 18 days away from leaving.  Leaving our friends, our families, our animals, and our home for at least a year.

Everyone keeps asking: Are you nervous?  Are you sad?  Are you scared?

Every time I answer they look at me like I have grown three heads.

NO.  I am excited.

But… you won’t see your family.

But… what about your nephew?  Who will do his cupcakes for his birthday next year?

But… what about your animals?  (Sad, but this is the NUMBER ONE question asked.)

***Random side rant: I love my animals.  I do.  They bring us immense joy. But they are not people.  They are not more important than people.  They do not have eternal souls.  Our goal on this earth is to serve God and to bring souls to Him for His glory so that we all might spend eternity in His courts.  My animals are going to be well taken care of.  As stewards of God’s earth they are given to us to use and care for and glorify Him.  But they will never be put before souls.

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But I do love them 🙂

Sadly we are also getting a lot of this:

I am so glad y’all are doing this… I could never do that.

I love my family too much to leave them like that.  (And we don’t?)

I know everyone has good intentions with their questions but I just want to scream at the top of my lungs….

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This world is not my home. 

So no, I am not nervous.  I serve the King of Kings.  Who and what am I to fear?  Nothing.

No, I am not sad.  I serve a risen Savior; my heart is filled with joy.

This world is not my home.  I do not labor and toil for the here and now – but for the eternal gain, for the heavenly reward.

My eyes are set on Heaven.  What are yours set on?

I will say this, Horton’s Chapel Church of Christ in Belton, KY has been amazing in it’s unwavering support.  They are constantly in prayer for us and letting it be known they want to help us in any way possible.  That is what we need.  They are already thinking of ways to serve the people of Africa from their small rural town in Kentucky.

So many of our friends at Rossville Church of Christ are not only thrilled for us but are constantly letting us know that they are praying for us.

Our families have been great.  They have their eyes set on Heaven and give us the unconditional support we need.

So, if you know a missionary – pray for them.  Don’t try and fill their heads with doubts.  Let them know that while you may not be able to serve in the same capacity as they are, that you are willing to help them in any way, stateside, that you can.  Don’t let the devil slip words on to your tongue. Set you sights on Heaven.

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Stop Telling People To Just “Have More Faith”

Stop Telling People To Just “Have More Faith”

James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.


Photo source: here

Monday night I pushed a cart out for an older lady at the Rossville Food Pantry.  Her box in the cart was filled with canned food, meat, vegetables, a dessert, and bread – enough food to get her by until the following Monday.  She was kind, with creases at the corners of her eyes, and wrinkled, warm hands.  As I set her box of food in the back seat of her car she asked me a simple question, “Do you go to church here?”.  I smiled, gently touched her arm and replied, “Yes ma’am! And we would love to have you join us.”

Her face lit up.

“Which door do I enter?”

My heart skipped a few beats.  She was genuinely interested.  So I kindly pointed out the different entrances and let her know the times of services.

What she said to me next left me in tears.

“I go to church over on (insert road name) and they keep telling me I just need to dig a little deeper.  That I just don’t have enough faith.  They keep telling me to give more and more and dig deeper and deeper and I can’t dig any deeper.  I want to give to the Lord but I’m just broke.  I wouldn’t be here tonight if I could dig any deeper.”

Tears filled my eyes.  I reached for the woman’s arm again and told her, “We don’t require anything of you.  Just come as you are.”

“But I want to give to Jesus.”  She said

“I know you do, ma’am.  Give Him what you can.  But some days all you can give is yourself.  God knows your heart.  HE knows your faith.”

She hugged me gently, thanked me, and left.  I walked away with tears streaming down my face.

I saw Jesus today.  I saw Him in the face of that woman.

She gave all she could – yet someone has told her it is not enough-That she is not enough because she does not have enough faith.

Stop telling this lie.  Just stop it.  Faith does not mean financial wealth. Faith does not have anything to do with how much money you give the Church.  So just stop.

Luke 21:1-4:  Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.  And he said,“Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Hebrews 11:1:  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Sometimes all we can give is ourselves.  

I’m as guilty as all the others of telling someone, when things are bad, “just have faith”.

Now let me stop right here and say, faith is of the utmost importance.  Faith is believing in God though we cannot see Him.  Faith is knowing Who holds your tomorrow.  Faith is holding steadfast to God and His word when the enemy is pounding at your door.  But faith is not, nor will it ever be, measured by a dollar amount.

But often times, we are saying “have faith” to people of faith.  In fact, the reason WHY these things are happening is because the devil has seen their faith and wants to break it.  The devil wants to shatter them.

Don’t let the devil use you, Christians, to shatter them. 

1 Peter 5:8-11 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

When the food pantry was closed and everything was cleaned up, I walked out to a friends car with her.  She had been there all night, even before I had gotten off work and gotten there, she was hot, sweaty, and exhausted but more than that her own life, at home, is hard.  Yet, here she was, serving others.

I hugged her tight and told her we were praying for her and her situation.  I also told her to know that the devil must be so angry that her faith is not being shaken by these things.

 And then she told me this, “Sunday morning I was driving to Church and I just felt this force pushing on me, holding me back, but I knew I had to get here.  I had a class of children waiting on me but I could barely push the gas petal.  I just prayed I could make it.”

But she did make it.  Because God is greater than our enemy.  God is greater than our fears.

I think about the story of Job. The devil believes he can break the faithful.  But he cannot.  These who are full of faith do not need to be told to simply “have more faith” and their trials will disappear!  No, the devil will attack them harder than ever before.  The ones who need more faith are those whose lives are easy and trials never come-for the devil need not even tempt them!

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.2Through him we have also obtained access by faithb into this grace in which we stand, and wec rejoiced in hope of the glory of God. 3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

So from one Christian to another – just stop. Stop telling God’s faithful children to just “have more faith” and their problems will disappear. Stop telling people to “have more faith” and they will have more financial wealth. It simply is not true and it is discouraging.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Take heart, my dear friends, for HE has overcome the world! 


Photo source: here

Stop Comparing Marriages

Stop Comparing Marriages

In less than a month Justin and I will be celebrating our five year wedding anniversary.  Yep, you read that right.  FIVE.  YEARS.  I can’t believe it has been that long.  I don’t even feel like I am old enough to say I have been married five years.  Given that this anniversary is coming up, and I have several friends getting married, I have been thinking lately about marriage in general.

I keep getting asked – what would you do about this or that?  Or what is the best advice you have for marriage?  Or even – you and Justin get along so well, you don’t argue, how do you do that?

I keep saying the same thing, over and over:

“marriage is what you make it – if God is at the center and you both want it to work – it will” 

I then follow that by explaining that marriage isn’t a 50/50 thing.  It’s a 100/100 deal.  And sometimes its 200/0 if I am being honest.  But so much in life is what you make of it – if you want something to fail then it is probably going to fail.  If you want your marriage to succeed – if you both want it – it will with God’s help.

But the more I have thought about it the more my thoughts have gone in another direction.  I don’t disagree with what I said above, but I think we have a problem.

Stop comparing.  

Seriously, just stop.

What works for me and Justin may not work for you and your husband.  Sure, there are some biblical absolutes like fidelity and loving your wife as Christ loves the Church.  But in the day to day comings and goings – we are all different.

My love language is different from yours and Justin’s may be different from your husband.  So, what we need to make our relationship last isn’t necessarily what yours needs.

So, to prove my point I started asking a few friends about what works for them and about bad advice they have received.  Let’s just call these two friends Sally and Barb.

Here are a few quotes from Barb:

“I like to be told I look pretty, if I actually do.  I don’t like to be called sexy though.”

“I like when he (her husband) helps out around the house.  It’s not a do or die though.  I really appreciate it more when he notices how clean the house is although it has been a busy week OR if he says something about how much worse it could be because of how busy our lives have been.”

“He (her husband) could care less about words or actions and those are how best I show love.” (I like this – she recognizes what his love language isn’t even though actions and words are the easiest way for her to express love)

“The best advice I got was to keep God at the center of our marriage.  For a while, He wasn’t.  And our marriage hurt, it really suffered from this.”

Here are a few thoughts from Sally:

“What my parents don’t know is they laid out the ground work for everything I didn’t want in a marriage purely by their actions.”  (Sad, yes.  However, this is important.  Being able to recognize others mistakes and NOT REPEAT THEM is key.)

“My love languages have completely shifted in the last 8.5 years!  Especially since having children.  I’ve always been a quality time person but when the boys came along I did a 180 to acts of service!”

“Bottom line: God created the couples He ordained before the beginning of our existence.  He created (husband) to be MY spouse – HOW COOL!  He paired couples together for the purpose of furthering His Kingdom.  Period.  

Apart we are just fine but together – together we could reach the nations plus one!  And I love that Jesus is inside of (husband).  And we get to pursue that  every day for the rest of our lives.  I. Love. Being. Married.  I really do!” 

I am using these particular quotes for two reasons.  1.  to show that God is key and 2. to show that everyone’s love languages are different.

To Barb it is important to be told she is beautiful – to me it is not.  I have been told so many times in my life, “find someone who tells you, you are beautiful every day”.  No.  Words are not important to me.  That may change but it hasn’t yet.  😉

Barb also feels loved when her husband recognizes and appreciates her hard work, I (to an extent) am that way too, whereas Sally doesn’t want to be appreciated so much as helped.

During the conversation with Sally the following conversation happened:

Me: I’m like a guy.  I’m 100% a physical touch person in my marital relationship.

Sally: That is so (husband)!

Me: Most girls like to be given gifts or need to be told they are beautiful, wonderful, etc.  I’m just not like that.

Sally: So not me!  I’m all about acts of service, quality time, and lastly physical touch.

Case and point.  Stop. Comparing.  I honestly think it is what is destroying so many relationships.  We think the grass is always greener on the other side when really all we need is to water our own. 

So, after 5 years the only “advice” I have are these 3 things:

1. God is first & center.

2. Learn your spouses love language and show love in that way.

3. Stop comparing your marriage to everyone else.

Now, given that it is almost our 5 year anniversary, here are a few things I love about my marriage with Justin and just Justin in general:

1. We talk.  Not about our days or our feelings – No, we philosophize and talk Bible, History, morality, and life.  This. Is. So. Important. To. BOTH. Of. US.

2. We both have a mutual love for farming & animals – for doing things the “old way” just because.

3. In 5 years we have never had a real argument.  Sure, we have disagreed.  Some days he frustrates me and MOST DAYS I frustrate him. 😀 But we aren’t the kind of people who argue.

4.  He loves my mind.  And I love his.

5. He takes the Bible seriously.  He believes with all of his heart that we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus every day.  He is constantly spreading God to the lost.

6. He is color, clothing, and sin blind.  Really.  In the kind of world where we judge people because of the color of their skin, their raggedy clothes, the tattoos covering their bodies, or their life choices – Justin does not.  He is such an example to me.  He doesn’t hesitate to spread Jesus to anyone – he spreads it despite color, previous sins, or clothing.  I.  Love.  This.

7. The outcasts seek him out.  This is last because it brings tears to my eyes.  I’ve never seen people so drawn to anyone.

Put God first and let the pieces fall where they may.


The Bigger Plan

The Bigger Plan

To say I have some exciting news is an understatement. When Justin and I started this journey 3 years ago we had no idea where the Lord would lead us.  In fact, it was quite bizarre.  Here I was, a farmer’s daughter, who had never had an interest in farming, OR ANIMALS, and in a matter of months I had small farm.  The same could be said of Justin.  He isn’t even a farmer’s kid.  Mr. Baseball, Pre-Pharmacy student turned middle school science teacher, who left it all to be a contractor now owned a small farm.  Our friends and family thought it was crazy.  Heck, we thought it was crazy. Yet – we loved it.  Every part of us has loved farming and our animals.  It has brought us closer to our Maker – given us a better understanding of how He loves and cares for us. But still there was the question of why.  Why did we suddenly want goats?  Why did we suddenly want chickens?  Ducks?  Pyrenees?  A giant garden?  Bees? It was so unlike us to want these things and to find such joy in it all. I told all of you from the beginning I was asked if I was jumping on the homesteading movement and the answer was – no.  Am I an all organic person?  No.  None of it seemed to make sense. But the idea had been planted in our minds.  The idea grew and just like a beautiful flower when it blossomed we saw God’s plan clearly revealed before us. He has a plan.  He has been preparing us all along.  How grateful I am that we were able to listen to what He wanted for us. So are you ready to hear what the surprise is? WE ARE MOVING!!!  (Not what you thought?)

IMG_6248.JPG Well, we aren’t just moving anywhere… we are moving to Arusha, Tanzania.  Yep, Africa. What will we be doing (aside from our #1 mission in life – saving souls)?  You guessed it – farming. Are you seeing how great God is?  I am.  Are you seeing how all things work for good for those that love the Lord?  I am. Now, I know you must be asking… but what about your animals?  You drove all the way to Idaho for those goats!  What about Hercules and Hebe? Let me start with this from Luke chapter 9: As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him,“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”IMG_6253-0.PNG

IMG_6254-0.PNG We fully realized that this meant us selling all of our animals.  It was with gladness in our hearts that we accepted this, looking always to the bigger picture. However, God had other plans…again! In January a girl around my age came into the clinic with a mini-pig.  We struck up a conversation but didn’t get to finish because I left before her appointment was over. The next morning there was a note on my desk to call Sarah Kibble, the girl with the mini-pig.  My boss knew we were looking for a buck for our rabbits and she had one. I called her. We talked for a while and she learned I had dairy goats.  She said they were wanting to get some and asked if we would have any for sale.  I told her we would and that our entire herd would possibly be for sale in the spring.  She asked why and I told her we were leaving for Africa for a year. Here is where God stepped in. I literally have goosebumps every time I think about it. Sarah asked a simple question, “Well, have you considered fostering?  We would love to do that for you.” I am still amazed.  We had already sold our animals in our mind knowing that was the option in front of us and then God opened a window we had not seen. Actually, God opened more than a window here.  He opened a door to a precious friendship. Here are the sweet, sweet friends who will be taking our goats, rabbits, Hercules & Hebe, and a few chickens:

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I cannot even begin to thank them enough for taking this burden from us while we go to Africa and serve. But more than that – they have become dear to us and I am so blessed to call them friends. I know the Lord has great plans for them and will bless them richly. Have I said this already?  God is good all the time.  All the time God is good. We do still have some chickens to distribute.  The ducks will stay on our pond & the cats will stay in our barn.  Then there is our inside dog Chloe.  But it will all work out.  Great is our God. We even have dear friends moving into our house while we are gone. All I want to do is sing His praises. Paperwork pending and Lord willing we will be IN Tanzania at the end of September. We have been saving up and raising money but we still need your help.  The flight over is $2000 a piece – Oh!  I need to stop right here.  I have forgotten a key part of this. It isn’t just Justin and I moving – my sister Samantha will be joining us for at least 6 months!  I praise the Lord that my sister wants to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. So back to the funding.  We have to raise $2,000 each for our flight + $6,000 for a car while we are over there and then there is the cost of living.  We have been diligently saving and thanks to giving hearts we have some money saved up for living expenses but for an entire year we are still approx. $5,000 short. So in all we would like to raise $13,000-$15,000 more than what we currently have. Horton Chapel Church of Christ has set up an account for those of you who would like to help us. Checks can be made out to Horton Chapel COC and mailed to:

Horton Chapel Church of Christ

925 Union Ridge Road

PO BOX 1100

Belton, KY 42324


Any and all help would be beyond appreciated but most of all we ask for your prayers. Pray that in all things the Lord’s will be done and that He is exalted in all things. We are excited and I love a good adventure.


Beautiful Feet

Beautiful Feet

I have never been good at keeping on shoes. I was that dirty, barefoot, rat nest filled hair, sardine eating little girl. The one who had a wonder and wildness in her eyes, that has never really gone away. Some call it spirit, and I like that. I am filled with the spirit in a sense, the Holy Spirit.

I have battled the urge to sell all of my belongings, pack a small bag, and move to a third world country for years.  To take my dirty feet and turn them into something beautiful as Romans says, “beautiful are the feet of those who carry the Gospel”.   I love the simplicity of it all, and the call to teach others about Jesus is overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I do that here too. You can’t talk to me for long without Christ being mentioned. He is deeply rooted in my heart. His love is a spring that fills me up inside and then His waters (His grace, His goodness, and his Might) come pouring out of my mouth daily. I want others to know Him. To know the relief that comes when your burdens are taken away. When your sins are erased. You see, He puts your sins as far away as the East is from the West. It is an incredible feeling when you realize your burden has been lifted. You are clean, you are pure, you are heaven bound.

Justin and I have been asked to join a small group of adults going to Tanzania, Africa this July. We will be going on a ten day mission trip. This trip is unique in that while we will be spreading the Gospel (I will be teaching the high school girls on the mission) we will also be assessing the needs, both spiritual and physical, for a larger group to come in the summer of 2015. Justin, along with a small group of four men, will be doing small repairs and assessing what larger jobs can be done next year. The same goes for a nurse who will be joining us and going into the hospital on the mission.

Here is the where it gets rough. Justin and I have to raise $5000 by July. The plane ticket (round trip) is $1950 x’s 2. The bush plane is $350 x’s 2. $100 for food X’s 2. And $100 for visa entry into the country X’s 2. Yea, it’s expensive for one person…but for two! Goodness.

Justin and I have been praying and talking about this and it is in God’s hands. $5000 seems impossible but nothing is impossible with God. We are asking for donations. Any little bit you can contribute we would appreciate. 50 cents is 50 cents more than we have. Our God is a great God, the King of all Kings, and we know through this trip He is going to show us just how Mighty He really is.

If you would like to send a donation please make checks payable to Rossville Church of Christ and mail them to:
1100 McFarland Ave
Rossville, Ga 30741
***and please write in the “for” line: Anna and Justin Maynard mission fund

Or there is a go fund me account set up for everyone going. The money sent here will be divided amongst everyone.  Just click on “here” and it will take you to the link.


“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!” Romans 10:14-15