Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.
~ Genesis 22:2
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he [God] said. “Do not do anything to him…”
~ Genesis 22:12
“I, the Lord, do not change.”
~ Malachi 3:6
The best way Adéye and I can reconcile these three passages from the Bible in our mind is to think that the Lord’s commands may change, but His will does not.
This is the only thing that makes sense right now in a season that has been the most difficult one for our life as a family.
Last January, Adéye and I felt that the Lord was sending us to South Africa. We already had a vision in our hearts of what we would do there—help rescue orphans with special needs, nurse them to health, and find families for them.
We dreamed of taking them from the townships where they’re often abandoned and placing them in a place of safety.
We dreamed of bringing mission teams from the States to South Africa to engage them in hands-on ministry to these kids and their families in these townships, showing them the love of Jesus.
We had many dreams on our hearts to experience for the sake of the kingdom. But Adéye and I also knew that we may have good intentions, but God wants us to submit plans and dreams to “wise counsel.”
The Salems have learned over the years that when a major decision is pending, we fast and pray AND we submit our vision to spiritual authorities or “coverings” of accountability, those who provide “wise counsel.”
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
~ Proverbs 15:22
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
~ Proverbs 11:14
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.
~ Proverbs 12:15
We chose three Christian ministers to walk this journey with us, pray for us, and to speak into our lives. These men had initially sensed no red flags as we opened our hearts to them.
Six weeks ago we received numerous letters of concern over us moving our family of eleven to South Africa. For those in South Africa who gave us warnings, the message was the same—a deep concern about taking our family into a situation that has become increasingly volatile with carjackings, murders, house break-ins and muggings.
“Certainly there are missionaries present in South Africa now, Lord. Why would the Salems be any different from other missionaries going?” These were questions we begged of the Lord in a season of crying out to hear His heart for us.
Not allowing fear to enter our minds, Adéye and I prayed and fasted and prayed and fasted. We expressed our concerns to the three ministers under whom we made ourselves accountable. All three said the same thing after praying themselves—“Guys, I do not have a peace about you proceeding with this mission!” The concern was the same for everyone. The safety and protection of our most vulnerable children with special needs.
I, Anthony, pressed each of them, wanting to know if they were speaking out of what they researched themselves about current events in South Africa or heard from our mouths OR if this was a “spiritual check.” The answer was the same: This is a spiritual check.
Four weeks ago we got word that our home in Port Elizabeth we had just purchased for the mission was being taken over by vagrants. Knowing the squatter rights laws in South Africa, we knew this was bad. Two days later, I boarded a flight to go and take care of the problem. On my trip there, I used the opportunity to pray myself, drive around the city, and get a sense from God how we would proceed. Everything in my heart wanted to scream out, “Yes, it’s okay to bring my family and do this!!!” But, tearfully, I could not. A feeling of warning, of extreme caution consumed me—a deep knowing that the caution we had been given over and over again was from the heart of God.
Therefore, with hearts that are breaking even now, Adéye and I, together with the advice and counsel of our covering, have made the difficult and very painful decision not to go to South Africa at this time. Our family will forevermore be our first mission—their protection, their well-being and their safety are our first priority before God.
That is not to say that this dream is completely dead. Could it occur years from now? Only God knows that.
We cannot make sense of this! We don’t have the answers. But as God has reminded us in the story of Abraham and Isaac, things don’t have to make sense. We only need to be obedient to what the Father is clearly saying when He says it.
No words can ever express our thankfulness that so many of you have partnered with us financially over the past five months. We will forever be so grateful that you were willing to send us with only a dream on our hearts.
Pure and Faultless will be in touch with those of you who have sown into Sindisa about refunding or redirecting your contributions. From the bottom of our hearts, would you please prayerfully consider allowing your donation to be an enormous blessing to either Rahab’s Corner in Uganda or the adoption of precious Mabel?
Rahab’s Corner is growing quickly and these young women desperately need to know that Jesus is near. And sweet Mabel has a family coming for her! She is not doing well at all and Pure and Faultless is working around the clock to bring her home ASAP. Your precious seed can still make such a huge difference in the lives of those who truly do need it most in Rahab’s Corner or to Mabel’s rescue—not in the way that we all originally thought, but still for His glory, for those He weeps over.
Would you prayerfully consider that, please? We would be so, so blessed to know that even though our plans have been halted, His Kingdom will still expand on the earth because we, and the many of you who got behind us, were simply willing.
Please pray for me and my family. We have endured so much emotionally over this difficult time in our lives. It is so much easier for us to go than it is for us to stay. We covet your prayers and are grateful for your understanding.
We don’t know what the future holds for our family. But we do know the ONE who holds it all. And with aching hearts, unanswered questions, dreams put on hold…Jesus is enough.
With much love,
Anthony and Adéye