The Samuels* aren’t like most homeschooling families you see at your co-op.

This family of seven has no running water or indoor plumbing. They wash their clothes by hand, sleep under mosquito nets, and cook on a charcoal grill. Parents Lucas and Melissa are missionaries in South Sudan, where Lucas trains Dinka pastors, and Melissa helps with the Christian school and teaches sign language and speech. Together, they homeschool their five children.

Because their location is so remote, internet is not reliable—so streaming is not an option. In the past, this meant the family lugged two years’ worth of curriculum with them, taking up precious cargo space . . . not to mention it was extremely heavy. Altogether, the family travels with 22 checked bags, seven carry-ons, and seven backpacks. 

“We have had to change a lot of our normal homeschooling curriculum due to our circumstances in Africa.” Melissa explained. “We are trying to go more digital and use more DVDs because it's difficult to carry all the schoolbooks for five children, but this past year, we were without internet for two months.”

Limited Resources

Like most missionary families serving overseas, the Samuels’ income is very limited. The extra costs of moving to more practical digital and DVD resources stretched them severely. Additionally, as the children have grown older, the cost of their curriculum has also increased.

Four weeks before the family’s furlough ended in the United States and they were due to return to Africa, Melissa found out about HSLDA’s Compassion Grants and applied right away. Here’s what happened next, in her own words.

“The HSLDA staff went above and beyond in helping my application move along and make sure (once I was eligible for the grant) that things moved quickly enough that everything could come together! Even the vendors made sure we received our materials in time!” she said.

“HSLDA’s donors have helped make it possible for us to provide an education to our children,” she continued. “I haven’t had to spend countless hours shopping for the very cheapest materials while on furlough—when we’re trying to rest, speak at places about our work, visit friends and family, and prepare and pack for another 10 months on the field.”

“The work we do is difficult, but beautiful,” Melissa added. “This grant reminds us of the vast generosity of God and those who give to provide for others. This grant was an absolutely essential piece in allowing us to access and bring over the necessary educational material to successfully educate and equip our children in a third-world country.”

The family created and shared this video as a thank-you.

*Last name changed for privacy.