Sam grew up as a self-proclaimed redneck mountain man. In the hills of West Virginia, he was always outside learning about the land. While studying agriculture and irrigation in his college years, Sam was drawn to Cafe 1040's mentorship program and spent a semester in North Africa, where he clearly felt God calling him into missions. But he wasn’t sure where. Or how.
He first moved to Yemen and loved the people of the Middle East, but the desert land was so different than anything he had ever experienced. While he was in Yemen, Central Asia was laid on his heart. He didn’t know the details of what life there would entail, but his experience with Cafe 1040 gave him the clarity and confidence to trust God.
Sam first settled in a city in Central Asia but his eyes soon met the mountains and he knew that was where God was leading him. After several trekking trips, he felt called to live among a tribe of yak herders he had met. He settled among them, absorbing more of their culture each day. The cold, rugged, hard life of the mountains was home…and he loved it.
Sam quickly began to recognize the usefulness of the yak skins. One day, he sat down with the chief and asked if he could teach him something – a way to make more money from their yak skins. After sharing a new technique, they took their skins to the market, where they received the highest grade for the first time ever. They made multiple times their normal profit.
The chief was thrilled with the results and asked Sam, "What else can you teach us?"
This was the opportunity Sam knew the Lord was preparing Him for. This was the question that validated the last five years of patiently following the Lord to the place He prepared for him.
What else could Sam teach them? Sam shared Jesus with the entire village.
Today, Sam continues to live with this community of Yak herders, along with his wife. While continuing to share the gospel, they have also built greenhouses to allow the people to grow their own food despite the high altitude and harsh climate.
Sam’s story is just one of many that demonstrates how an overseas mentorship can change the lives of an entire village. The yak herders deep in the mountains of Central Asia know the name of Jesus, because Sam said yes to obeying God’s call to make disciples among all nations and peoples and tongues.
Stories like these remind us of why we do what we do. The glory of Jesus among the yak farmers in Central Asia is worth it.
Sam is a Cafe 1040 North Africa Grad. His name has been changed in this story to protect his work in Central Asia.