Sam and Ginny Cannata

God changed their ministry with one question: “What did you leave that was really eternal?”

Twenty years into their missionary career, while Sam and Ginny Cannata were fleeing political turmoil in Ethiopia, they believed God asked them what eternal ministries they were leaving behind. As they reflected back over their years of service, God revealed missions that had been shallow and even ineffective.

Sam reported in the November 2001 issue of The Commission, “He seemingly said to us, ‘You were only scattering seeds. You were not really planting seeds.’” They committed to the Lord to go deep in their relationships and concentrate on making disciples. They devoted their next 24 years of missionary service to discipling new believers in Africa. Even after retiring from career service in 1993, Sam and Ginny returned to the mission field in 1999 through the ISC program.

In their decades of service, they also learned to rely on the knowledge that God is in control at all times. This knowledge sustained them when they had to flee three countries, when Sam lost sight in his left eye, and especially when their son, Stanley, was killed in a car accident in 1989. Sam said, “Tough times come, but if you know the Lord is in control and if He is the one who put you there, then you know He is capable of keeping all the promises He made to meet your every need.”

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