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Next Stop:  Texas.

To My Donors, Prayer Warriors, Friends, and Family:
 

This past month has been a whirlwind of answered prayers, readjusting to American life, and seeking out the "what's next" in this great journey.  I am excited to say that after lots of prayer, godly counsel, and a few successful job interviews - my next stop has been determined!
 
I'll be moving to Texas!

This new job is a huge answer to prayer, and I believe that it’s a wonderful next step in my journey to fight human trafficking in the United States.  As of now, I am currently waiting to receive my official employment contract and my first day of training is scheduled to begin on April 29th, so things are moving fast!  God has provided me with an opportunity to work with DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking) survivors at a restoration/safehouse near Austin, Texas.  The resident girls were born and raised in the United States, were trafficked and then rescued within the US, and are 19 years old and younger.  My role will be to work as a house mother and caregiver for the girls living in the cottages on the property.  To be clear, this property isn’t just a safehouse.  It’s a 50-acre campus that has the capacity to provide a total of 48 girls with trauma-informed holistic care.  This care includes onsite medical support, long-term community-style living, charter school education, counseling, chapel/prayer facilities, and other treatment modalities to support their recovery.  The restoration program implemented by the staff aims to facilitate healing in every single area of the girls’ lives, while also providing the residents with a safe and loving environment to rediscover their worth and identities as they overcome challenges and learn to build healthy relationships.  

During this next phase of my ministry journey, I will be exposed to new challenges, responsibilities, and difficulties that I’ve never faced before - and I can't wait.  I will be working with these girls on a day-to-day basis alongside a team of trained staff members and caregivers.  Our goal is to build lasting and healing relationships with our survivor sisters - specifically relationships that are long-term, grace-based, and deeply rooted in trust and unconditional love.  My job will involve helping the girls as they execute daily tasks, teaching and leading various activities, life skills, and programs, and being available to assist during any crises, breakdowns, or emergencies that may arise.  This can include (but is not limited to) tear wiping, hugging, cooking and preparing meals, praying through nightmares, assisting with homework, mentoring and discipling, breaking up fights, helping with medical issues, and so much more.  

I will definitely be continuing to pursue my master's degree in counseling part-time as I work at this facility so that I can stay on track to reach my goal of becoming a licensed professional counselor within the next few years.  So far I have completed 20% of my coursework!  I hope to complete the rest of my degree requirements as soon as possible so that I can be better equipped to help my survivor sisters heal from their severe traumas and live free as beloved daughters of the King.  By healing through their traumas and finding freedom in Christ, I believe that these girls can live abundant lives and rise up as survivor leaders, champions, and advocates in the fight to end human trafficking around the world.  

There are very few professional counselors who are willing and able to effectively work with survivors of trafficking because, in all honesty, the work is difficult, taxing, heartbreaking, and intimidating.  But as the number of human trafficking victims continues to increase within the United States, so does the need for dedicated helpers, advocates, and counselors.  I hope and pray that working as a house mother and caregiver alongside my survivor sisters will give me the insights, compassion, and practical experience to make me an even better counselor for these girls in the future.

Although I am no longer a missionary overseas in Africa, I am still in need of your continued support and prayer.  As I start working full-time at this ministry, your donations will help me to continue my counseling degree at the same time.  It has been amazing to look back on these past four years in South Africa and reflect on how those years have prepared me for this crucial next step.  The experiences that I had, the people I was able to meet, and the opportunities it provided me with have been invaluable in this journey - and I am so grateful to you all for making that possible through your continued giving and constant prayer.  God has been so faithful to orchestrate every single step of the way, and it’s been such a sweet adventure so far!  Now, I am so thrilled to finally have this opportunity to combat human trafficking in my own country, and I hope that as I transition into stateside ministry, you will choose to keep fighting alongside me.  There is much work to be done within our own borders, and I strongly believe that when we make an effort to stand and partner together - our impact will be MUCH greater!
PRAYER REQUESTS + FINANCIAL NEEDS

 
- A Car:  If you or anyone you know might be selling a used car that is in good condition, is giving away a car, OR would like to make a financial contribution towards my purchase of a used car, please let me know!  This will be one of my greatest and most immediate expenses as I prepare to leave for Austin within the next few weeks!
 
- A Place to Live:  I will be starting off as an hourly worker as I adjust to working on the property with the survivors.  This means I will not be able to live on the property when I first start working, so please pray for God to provide a safe and temporary place for me to live with friends, a family, or potential co-workers near the restoration complex until I can work my way up to a full-time position!  Once I am able to obtain a full-time position, only then will I be able to live on the property with the girls.
 
- Graduate School Tuition My next graduate school class will begin June 14th, and the cost is $1,865 for tuition (+ $200 extra for a technology fee).  If you would like to make a donation toward my counseling education so that I can counsel and work with survivors long-term and complete my degree ASAP, that would be a huge blessing! 
 
- A Church Family I don’t know many people in Texas, so please pray for God to provide me with a church home where I can make some new friends, belong to a loving and safe community, and get connected to a new family of people who share the same passions, dreams, and vision as I do!
 
- Safe Travels: The drive to Austin is about 19 hours long, so please pray for safety, provision, and protection along the way!  I will try to make the drive in two days, stopping halfway for a nap!  :)
 
- The Job Everything is moving really quickly, so please pray for me to adapt to the new work environment and to have the ability to “learn the ropes” as fast as possible!  I hope to build some quality relationships with my new team members, the locals in Austin, and with the survivors living on the property! 
 
... And please pray for anything else the Holy Spirit lays on your heart!  
 
 
Thank you for believing in this mission and for joining me in the fight to end human trafficking, and thank you for continually choosing to help make a difference in the lives of our survivor sisters in the United States and around the world.  I couldn’t do it without you. 

My next newsletter update will be written from Central Texas!  I look forward to sharing more news and future updates with you all soon!  Love you guys!
 
Samantha
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