Lisa Ours via Crowdrise
March 16, 2012
I'll let Sam Tell you.
My name is Sam Jokisch. I'm pretty much 19 years old and attend Lipscomb University in Nashville where I am studying Zoology. I was born in Kansas, but raised in the little town of Rolla, MO where I've grown up a tom boy. Naturally, I'm an animal lover, being raised around just about any animal you can think of being domesticated. The equivalents to my children at this point are Jenna, my spoiled rotten ball python whom I love more than a lot of things, and my obnoxious, spaz of a kitty Sadie.
I drench my soul in music as often as possible, listening to every genre and playing the trumpet for Lipscomb. I was a drum major at Rolla High, and absolutely adore my hometown marching band, keeping in touch and offering any encouragement or wisdom I can when needed.
I read anything and everything I can get my hands on, being one of those, 'I buy books like some women buy shoes,' types. I write whenever I can, do a bit of running, and muck around with my friends when I'm not working the Steak 'N Shake drive-thru or in class.
I guess you could say I'm a little odd, to put it lightly. I live to make people laugh, being a very ironic person most of the time. I put on my make-up each day and then shamelessly play World of Warcraft and watch Doctor Who, so don't be fooled; I'm a nerd, even if I put up a front.
I love all things Celtic, and have been passionate abore the six countries since I was very young. Being a messed up, but gracefully saved lover of Jesus Christ, I feel my life's calling is to bring God to the people of these nations.
Which, I suppose, brings us to Ireland.
If you're interested in my mission statement, please read my note titled, 'Why Ireland? Here's Your Answer.' I am not only in need of money, but of much prayer and any support I can get. I am approaching this mission trip across the pond in a humbled way and will take whatever is offered to me. In the end, I just feel blessed to be offered the opportunity to finally share my life with these people.
There's quite a bit more to me, but I only have so much space! Really, I'm just another girl with a big dream or two; but I'm more than determined to make at least this one a reality.
READ SAM'S NOTE: "WHY IRELAND? HERE'S YOUR ANSWER" (Below)
I've been having a lot of friends and family, Lipscomb staff and generous other donors asking me the question recently, 'Why Ireland?' And I feel it's a perfectly fair question, as I'm asking these people to trust that I will use their donations to spread the word of God in a time when donations are a courageous thing to do.
I think a lot of people have assumed that I'm going simply because, let's face it, I've been in love with the place since I first heard of it. And I admit, when presented with the choices of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Isle of Man mission trips, I had to choose Ireland. There are six countries in Celtic culture. And I love them with all my heart; a love that grows with each passing day. I've felt God guiding my footsteps closer and closer to these people since I was a child. But at this point in my life, God is calling me to Ireland, because I have a passion.
But I also have a passion for something else, and he's the reason my filthy, blood-stained hands will ever see the light of life.
There's something you need to know about. Something people rarely talk about seriously. Put aside the jokes for a moment. The gossip. The myths.
Since before even the 1600s, many men, women, and children in these countries, no matter their situations, have been ashamed of God. And who wouldn't be? Religion is a terrifying word in their culture; a word that spreads anger, violence, and pure hate. People have been spitting venom on the streets at each other and physically tearing each other to pieces with their bare hands since before you or I ever existed.
No, wait. Here's the best part. It's not just the adults. It's the youth.
Having embraced the teachings of their parents, to this day, many children raised in homes based in a Celtic cultured country go to school every day and are surrounded by more violence then you can ever imagine. You think a fist fight in the cafeteria is a big deal? Try hearing that your best friend is in the hospital after being stabbed with a piece of window-glass simply because his family is Catholic. Everyday these kids are forced to get up and face a world where Jesus isn't the answer, because the very mention of his name can turn to bloodshed.
I have an excerpt below from a book that I love that, to put it plainly, pisses me off beyond belief. With that said, if you're offended by strong language, please do not read any further, because, well, it's going to get muddy. But listen to the words and understand that this is not just a story; this is real. This is what goes on, for some children, every day.
'There was plenty of encouragement for this hatred from the shameful clergy who stoked and provoked the fires of conflict, and from striving needy politicians who used the discord for their own advancement and should have known better. One day during a routine battle with the boys from Our Lady’s High School, with the usual pushing, shoving, cursing, kicking, punching, and sectarian blasphemies, I observed the gear-change from pubescent swaggering to a more mature brutality. I saw Billy Thompson pull a sword from beneath his coat, a giant fucking broadsword, not a toy or a prop. A battle weapon. As he started swinging wildly he cleared a circle around him, everyone desperate to get out of the path of the blade. Billy grabbed a Catholic guy, Paul O’Conner, who I knew a little bit. He was the paper boy for our street and he lived near me, a nice guy, I liked him. Billy threw him down and held the sharp edge to his throat.
“Don’t, Billy, fucking don’t, fucking don’t man!”
Everybody was yelling, our guys, their guys. Billy pushed the blade against the skin.
“Beg for yer fucking life, ya poof!” Billy screamed at Paul, who was white with shock and crying. Some of our guys laughed. I was terrified but hid it. No one was looking at me anyway. Paul begged for his life.
“Please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me.”
Billy looked at him, put his face close, hocked up a giant mustard-colored ball of phlegm, and spat it fiercely into Paul’s face. Then he got up, put the sword back in his coat, and kicked Paul in the head as he walked away.
“Fucking Feinian prick. Did ye see him? Greetin’ fur his fuckin’ ma!”
We said we did and ha ha and all that shite but I never ran with these guys again after that. I felt that their reaction would have been much the same had Billy killed Paul instead of leaving him relatively unharmed but humiliated on the pavement. I remember thinking then, at around fourteen years old, that if there was any God or church that endorsed and inspired this fucking madness, then I wanted no part of it.
I still feel the same.”
The first time I read this, I realized after I finished a few more lines that I was crying. And it didn’t take me long to know why.
I’ve read the words above more than ten times in the past months, as I’ve made a small list of songs, Bible verses, and book quotations that I try to go over almost every day to prepare me for my trip. These words were written by Craig Ferguson, a Scottish-American comedian and late-night host that I’ve loved since his show began in 2005. He is a talented, wonderful man, and has had me laughing moments after crying my eyes out. I’ve never been more outraged to see his documentations of this typical behavior in Celtic countries. It makes me sick to think of the way these encounters can affect ones faith-- that you can believe there’s a God, and want nothing to do with him.
God and love are not two words that come out together as smoothly on the tongue as they do here. God is violence, chaos, destruction, war, and utter misery.
My name is Sam Jokisch, and my God is everything you could ever imagine and then some. I refuse to stand back and watch these children grown into disturbed adults who hate God. Before I die, I am going to do everything my personal being can physically do to show these people JESUS CHRIST, not religion.
It’s taken me over a week to finish this letter, and I pray I have the strength to publish it. But… ‘Why Ireland?’
These kids do not need ‘Catholicism,’
nor do they need ‘Protestantism.’
THEY NEED JESUS.
And you know what?
I’m going to give him to them if it’s the last thing I do.
I dare you to try and stop me.