Amanda and I listened with interest as our five year old son prayed in earnest "Dear God, thank you for breaking our vehicle..."
Although not quite as theologically polished as our prayer of thanks to God for "allowing" our vehicle to break down for whatever purpose He had in mind for us, Timothy had correctly learned to give thanks in everything and that God is in control of every circumstance of our lives. That's not bad for a five-year-old!
Our new 209,000 mile old Ford Excursion had broken down on our journey through Indiana. It was a dark Saturday night, the day before Easter. We were stuck. Little did we know as we found the closest motel that God was working out an amazing surprise for us.
Sunday morning found us limping our way to the nearest Independent Baptist Church we found on Google maps. Maranatha Baptist Church in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
What a blessing this church was to us. The people were so kind to us throughout the day. We felt as if we were home at our sending church.
God marvelously orchestrated that a mechanic was there with his tools. He sacrificially gave much of his Easter Sunday afternoon to help us get back on the road. We will never forget his kindness.
On Sunday evening, the pastor graciously gave us the opportunity to present our calling to Colombia. What an unexpected surprise and blessing.
As I reflect now on all that God has done because of our vehicle breakdown. I am reminded that Amanda and my prayer had been that God would fill our April schedule. We had not scheduled to present anywhere on Easter Sunday. We had been told that almost no pastor would have a missionary in on Easter--yet God graciously answered our prayers by allowing us to break down where we did on Easter.
Now I pray like Timothy, "Dear God, thank you so much for breaking our vehicle!"
Preparations, Prayer, Praise!
Praise the Lord for all He has already done as we prepare for our first "official" deputation meeting scheduled for Sunday, January 13th 2019 at Every Nation Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. This is a dear church with a wonderful Pastor's family and we look forward to our time there.
It's hard to believe that it is less than one month away. Our prayers have been that God would fill January's schedule and we are grateful to have the last 3 Sundays scheduled. We will be in NC, MD, and SC.
We are excited to have 8 meetings scheduled so far for 2019--we have many more open dates and know God will continue to provide the exact meetings He would have for us.
Praise the Lord for His provision through 3 love offerings to provide for our whole family to be able to take a survey trip to Colombia the last week of February, 2019. Please pray that the passports for our children and Amanda arrive without any issues.
We also want to praise the Lord that we just found out that Baby Smith 5 is on his or her way to our home--Lord willing they will join us sometime mid-summer next year. May God give safety to both mommy and the baby while we are on deputation.
About 2 weeks ago, while coming home from church, we noticed a family stuck in the mud off the side of the road. We stopped to try and help. Thankfully another church member also saw their plight and stopped to help. After struggling in the mud for about an hour to no avail--although praying silently for help--God convicted me of the need to pray for His help openly. Praise the Lord that immediately after we prayed the vehicle came easily out of the mud and everyone was back on their way. Through this, I was reminded of some of the blessings of answered prayer: 1. Answered prayer encourages the child of God and emboldens him to pray more. 2. Answered prayer is a strong testimony to the lost that God is real and hears His children. 3. Answered prayer encourages us that we are doing His will. 4. Answered prayer brings God all the honor and glory because it shows our lack of ability and our dependence on God's ability to work in the affairs of men.
With this in mind--we are encouraged to share some of the things that we are praying for and ask that you pray with us so that when the answers come we can rejoice together.
Some things that you can pray with us about:
1. Provision of a full-schedule of church meetings for 2019. We have 8 meetings scheduled but have openings for many more. We are calling pastors and emailing--but only God can open doors.
2. Provision of enough support to be "full-time" by June 1st. I will finish working at Ambassador Baptist College the end of May in order to dedicate ourselves completely to getting to Colombia. However, we will still need to eat, pay bills, and cover traveling costs. Please pray that support will be enough for us to be able to do this.
3. Provision for a reliable vehicle and pull-behind camper that we could use for deputation. With 4 children and one on the way--we believe it would help bring a sense of stability to our home for the children to know their surroundings every night. With a camper we would be able to do that. It would also enable us to not be a burden to churches we visit. Having grown up in a pastor's home--I know pastors desire that their missionaries have a place to stay. We would like to take that burden away.
4. Lastly, please pray we can be both an encouragement and a blessing to the churches we visit. God used missionaries visiting our church when I was young to lead me to desire salvation, give me a desire to serve God, and plant the seed of missions in my heart. I saw missionaries encourage my parents in the ministry and be a blessing to our church. Please pray that we can do the same wherever we go.
We are so excited by God's call for us to go to Colombia and are so grateful for your prayers for us and interest in what God is doing. Thank you to each of you and may you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year ahead!
What a joy it will be to see all God does in each of our lives this coming year!
Matt for the Smith Family--your missionaries to Colombia, SA
Praise the Lord—great things He has done! We had the privilege of attending Baptist World Missions annual board meeting at Hillsdale Baptist Church in Tampa, FL the second week of October. The church there was so kind to everyone and went to great sacrifice to host an unforgettable and special conference!
What a blessing to spend time with missionaries and go through the interview process. What an honor and blessing to be approved by the board and accepted to the Baptist World Mission Family. We are headed to Colombia and are excited about all God has for us as we set out on deputation!
Please pray for our family as we have started to contact pastors about meetings. Pray that we would be a blessing wherever we go and that God would provide the partners in ministry that He would have for us in Colombia!