If you’re new to the Exploring with Jake series, be sure to read the introduction.
This morning in Sunday School, our teacher told us it was time to leave India and learn more about another part of the world. Today, we started learning about a boy named Samuel Zwemer, who was a missionary to the land of Arabia when he grew up. But the story didn’t start in Arabia. It started in Holland, where Sam’s parents were from.
Sam’s parents had taken the long and scary journey from Holland across the Atlantic Ocean when his mom and dad were engaged to be married. It was a dangerous trip, but God kept them safe and brought them to a new home in a new land. They lived New York, then later in Michigan, where Sam was born. The first home he remembered was his home in Wisconsin, where he lived until he was six years old.
I think Sam and I would have been friends if we’d gone to school together (which of course we couldn’t because he was born in 1867). Sam loved adventure, just like I do. He loved going to new places and meeting new people. He loved to imagine what might happen and dream about the things God might call him to do.
Our teacher only told us part of Sam’s story this morning. She said she’ll tell us more about him next week. So far, the thing I like the most about Sam is the way he knew God always had a plan. Some of the surprises that happened in his life were fun—like when he was six years old and he and his family got on a train in Wisconsin and moved all the way to Albany, New York. Some weren’t as much fun—like the months spent working with a threshing crew who threshed grain on farm after farm, all through the long, hot summer. Some were sad, like when his mother died when he was nineteen.
But Sam knew that God was always in control, even when things were scary or hard or sad. He remembered what Jesus said in Luke 12. Jesus said God doesn’t forget about a single bird, He won’t forget about us. We’re worth more than lots of birds! God even knows how many hairs we have on our heads. If He cares about such a tiny detail, won’t He also care about the big and important things that happen in our lives? I’m going to pray and ask God to help me remember not to worry because He cares about everything that is happening in my life.
“Dear God, thank You for caring about me so much that You even know how many hairs are on my head right now. Help me trust You to make things always work out, whether things are fun like taking an adventure, or tough like a hard job, or even sad. Help me tell other people about Your love for them. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Here is a printable version of today’s missionary story about Samuel Zwemer.