Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


STILL ON MISSION. There are varied opinions of what a "missionary" is, and we don't necessarily fit the typical model, especially since we're not overseas. The fact that we depend on the generosity of God's people to makes ends meet does not, by itself, make us missionaries - though, I do believe it is a significant part of the missionary life.  The work we get to do with Africa New Life is phenomenal and largely involves the spreading of the gospel and advocating for the poor, hungry, sick, widow, orphan, etc... as we're clearly called to do in Scripture. But while God has given us a huge role in making these things happen, I'm not convinced that it, by itself, is enough to call us missionaries either. 

We started out this gig with a strong calling to personally help people in need and tell people about Jesus. Our apartment ministry provided a tremendousplatform for doing this, but the time commitment and stress on the family were too much to sustain this long-term. So we moved into a home two years ago with the intention of taking all that we'd learned from our apartment ministry and implementing it into effective relationships with our neighbors, connections at the kids school, grocery stores, etc... For awhile, we were not doing this well. It's not that we weren't doing anything, but our hands were pretty full tackling the kid's struggles, and I think our family needed some time to recover from the apartment living. 

Recently, God has reminded us of our full calling. Yes, we are still very much called to invest in the people of Rwanda! And no, it does not pay, so we are completely reliant on God's movement through His people in this area. But we are also called to personally spread the gospel, meet needs right in our back yard, and to disciple others. This has been our heart from the beginning. I'm happy to say that we've experienced a renewed passion in this area, have a strategy in place, and have had good movement lately! And our kids are very much a part of it! We don't really want to report all the ins and out for various reasons, but we do feel that you  - our prayer and financial supporters - deserve to know that this is still at the forefront of our minds and hearts, even if you aren't hearing all the details.

I believe a missionary is someone who God calls to set aside personal ambitions in order to be witnesses of the Gospel and to make disciples, often to a certain people group.
So are we missionaries? I believe so, but it doesn't really matter. Call it whatever you'd like. What matters to us is that we are still on mission. That we are following God's call on our lives no matter the cost. We are still called to serve the people of Rwanda and our neighbors. We are still 4 Smith's on a Mission. 

Would you please pray for that fire to stay kindled? For opportunities to come our way? For boldness?! For effectiveness?! We are honored and humbled to have you by our side. Thank you for your incredible encouragement and faithful prayers over the years!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Support Update

We were oh-so-close to getting back to a healthy(ish) 90% again. And then...

As you might expect, we consistently have donors that lose jobs or are in a financial pinch and have to drop out. ALL. THE. TIME. On the flip side, new donors are jumping in (praise God!) It's always changing! Unfortunately, we're losing far more per month than we're gaining, because some very large donors have had to step down.

As I write, we are still $330/month behind in reaching 90% of our goal just to meet budget (the other 10% is meant to be a buffer - ha!). At the end of February, we're likely dropping another $500/month, which would put us $830/month behind. Thankfully, we do still have a little bit extra in our account to help with this for a short time. Meanwhile, our HSA reset in January...which means every medical bill (and there are a lot) is going on our credit card and we're once again incurring debt at an alarming rate. At least we'll meet our deductible by March!

We've certainly had setbacks before, but this one is on a much larger scale. I'm working hard to take time to pray and make sure I'm focussed on the truth, and to not live in fear! God has a proven track record, after all. All of this simply means that we'll have an incredible story to share once He brings us through to the other side. So keep your eye out for yet another example of God's amazing faithfulness in the months to come!

None of this is a complaint. It isn't even necessarily a plea for support. This is a plea for prayer. THANK YOU, prayer warriors!



Wednesday, February 3, 2016


The latest from the Smith circus...
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The Africa New Life US staff, and 5 of our Rwandan staff,
in Portland for a week of strategic planning!
Giving up a full-time salary and uprooting our family to join in the work ANL is doing in Rwanda was a step of obedience and faith that we have never regretted. It was scary and hard. To be honest, it still is. But the work we're doing is so worth it!  The deeper we get involved, the more we love it. I couldn't possibly have more confidence in the vision of this ministry or the people behind it. I speak with boldness and passion about our work because I really do believe in it. After all, I've seen the undeniable results! Lives are being truly transformed - it's not just a nice thing to put on a website. And thousands are coming to know Christ! I work with conviction, knowing intimately the integrity and heart behind this organization.

So do we wish we didn't have to raise support? Well it would certainly be easier. But honestly, we would have seriously missed out if we were simply handed a salary. God called us to do a job that didn't pay, so we took Him up on it. He offered us a chance to step out in faith for a life that would require us to lean on Him for provision. We will never regret that decision! I hate to admit it, but every once in a while we find ourselves terribly anxious about it all. In those times, we simply look back to remember how directly God called us to this ministry, and especially to remember how He has abundantly provided our every need, every step of the way. We trust fully in His faithfulness, and count it a joy to live such a life and to serve in the trenches of Africa New Life! There is no greater way to live your life than fully in the will of God. 

I (Jeremiah) got to spend a few days in Portland last week with my ANL co-workers, dreaming, planning and praying for the future. It was incredible to see individuals from 2 continents align so beautifully to the heartbeat and vision of God. We have such an amazing team! My new role of "Church Partnership Manager" is much more prominent and integral to the ministry, and has certainly increased my work load. I love it! I work with churches from all over the country, some new and some old, so that we can further the work in Rwanda and help churches live out their faith. Much of our ministry hinges on what God does through these churches. What a privilege!

On a side note: This increased role leads to our ability to make a deeper impact in Rwanda...which means that your investment in our family & ministry is now providing a greater return!

We're still working on building up the Atlanta region, but this has not been my primary focus as of late. Our family will be heading to Myrtle Beach in 2 weeks to run a sponsorship table for a SC Men's Conference!  Oh, and I've created the Cut Back Challenge - please check it out!
*Special Note: We have been hit with a seemingly endless barrage of unexpected expenses that we don't want to list here. We're fully aware that many of you would rather not be asked, and it has always been a goal of ours to never make anyone feel pressured. So...pressure's off!  If you would like to know more, please e-mail us
Ellie & Elijah have really been doing very well. It seems that we've been able to really enjoy family time more than ever before! Erin and I have been growing deeper in our faith and, in turn, closer to each other. We also had the opportunity to serve as captains at the Passion Conference in Phillips Arena - truly an honor. We are blessed!
Financial situation
Wisdom & effectiveness in new role
Outreach to neighbors

Kids continued emotional growth
Success of Cut Back Challenge


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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Newsletter!

It seems a bit silly to say that 2015 was “a year of change” since every year seems to be a year of change for our family (no, really). This year, the change came primarily in the form of moving out of the apartment ministry and buying a home, which has already proven to be a game-changer both for our family and for our work with Africa New Life. It has provided much-needed stability for our kids, a safe place for them to run & play outside, and a drastically increased focus on our calling to minister to the people of Rwanda. Plus, in just 4 months time, we’ve already more than quadrupled the amount of guests that we had in our entire 2 years of apartment living!

Who knows what God has up His sleeve in 2016? Does He even wear sleeves? All we know is that we’re right where He wants us and that none of it would be possible without your prayers and sacrifice. We are forever humbled by this and it motivates us to work that much harder. THANK YOU for believing in our family and ministry and for lifting us up as we do His work.

Africa New Life continues to grow and expand it’s impact in Rwanda, and we remain thoroughly grateful and humbled to contribute to the work being done. This past year, God used us to provide sponsors for 70 children. We hosted brunches to help spread the word and build a foundation here in Atlanta, led a team trip to Rwanda, spoke at 3 churches, ran a campaign to provide gardens for 17 families, created a website for potential church partners, built relationships with other non-profits, and much, much more.

Now that we’re no longer working with Apartment Life, things are changing and our role/impact is expanding. We’ve now created a leadership team, are working toward a large-scale gala, have two trips lined up for next year, and will be more focused on building relationships with church partners. In fact, Jeremiah has a new title: “SE Regional Church & Strategic Partnerships  Manager” (yeah, it’s a mouthful!). This is a fantastic fit and we’re really excited to continue doing most of what we’ve been doing to build up our region, but to now focus more strongly on some of our strengths. Of course, the bottom line remains the same: To see lives transformed, both physically and spiritually.  Please pray for God to deeply increase our impact!

Frankly, since we work with the truly needy we find it difficult to ask for help. We have it so good. But we have been behind in monthly support for nearly a year now, insurance is going up, we now have a mortgage, the kids have a ton of doctors visits and medication, blah, blah, blah. God has always provided our every need, of course. If you're able to consider an additional gift by this December 31, 2015, it would really make a difference on meeting our shortfall, and would be so encouraging as we focus on the coming new year of ministry. Thank you so much for your partnership in spreading the gospel and meeting needs in Rwanda!

A 1st and 3rd grader? What?! It’s true. The kids are growing up. We keep telling them to stop, but they're just so disobedient. 
We are loving our home and the area we’ve moved to. As I write,  a deer is walking through our woods and a train is blowing its horn in the distance - this is life! The kids have excellent teachers and seem to really enjoy their new school. Church is incredible and we love serving in our various roles. We’re currently working hard to find ways to help families who have adopted or do foster care - this has been on our heart for quite some time. And of course, we’re working hard to establish long-lasting and impactful relationships with our new neighbors. Please pray for God’s movement as we spread the love of Christ!
  • Effectiveness as we continue to build a foundation in Atlanta for Africa New Life and settle into a new role managing church partnerships.
  • Opportunities and direction in conversations with our new neighbors.
  • Wisdom in parenting and continued healing from past wounds in Ellie and Elijah.
  • Continued financial provision (and complete trust in that provision!)

140 Hartwood Dr
Woodstock, GA 30189

Friday, August 7, 2015

Back From Rwanda!

 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

-ISAIAH 61:1-3-

I've been trying to find words to adequately convey all that God did in & through our team last week in Rwanda. This is no small task and I'm quite certain I'm not up to the challenge. We're all still reeling from what we've seen. All I can say is that God moved powerfully through our group and that He very clearly assembled our team. They were simply THE BEST and I am so honored to have served by their side. 

In a nutshell? We loved people. And we did our best to help others understand that God loves them deeply and that they can have hope, life, and purpose through Jesus. We visited many homes of the poorest of the poor. We grievedalongside those who recently lost loved ones. We handed out gifts. We prayed over countless families. We sang. We laughed...HARD. We played with the most beautiful children. We brought hope to the best of our ability. 17 children were sponsored through our team while on the ground! We even got to go back to a couple homes to personally tell the kids that we'd found sponsors for them and to hand them their school uniform and supplies! And we got the smallest taste what it would be like to live the way so many in Rwanda live by spending a few hours wearing the clothes, helping to prep a meal to be cooked over the fire, loosening the soil amongst the banana trees, hiking down the valley to get water, making bracelets out of a plant, and dancing (yes...I's on video). =)

I can't WAIT to head back next June, and to bring several more friends along so they can experience this country we love so much! God is on the move...


The last few months have been pure chaosBUT...we're officially finished with Apartment Life, we've moved into our new home, the trip to Rwanda is behind us, and the kids just successfully completed their first week as 1st and 3rd graders at a new school (whose mascot is the COLTS - God is good!). So we're now able to focus FAR more strongly on the work before us with Africa New Life (we have some HUGE things on the horizon!!). Other than that, we're busy meeting neighbors, trying to get the house ready for the hundreds of guests we're intending to invite (including YOU), and Jeremiah has now joined the Passion City Church choir! Everyone seems to be adjusting well and we are LOVING the incredible home we ended up in (still not sure how we got such a nice house for the price...but we gladly accept!). 


1. For our family to be a strong force for the Kingdom (Africa New Life, influence with neighbors, school, etc...)

2. For new donors to come alongside us. We're still well below 100% of our support.

3. For Ellie & Elijah as they adjust to a new school.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Quick Update.

I'm sitting in the ATL airport on my way to lead a team of people to Rwanda, and it dawned on me that many of you may be in the dark! Just wanted to shoot you a quick update:
  • We bought a house! It wasn't easy, but we bought a home in Woodstock, GA (near ATL) and have officially MOVED. Our new addy is: 140 Hartwood Dr. Woodstock, GA 30189. More on that in a future newsletter. We are BLESSED beyond all reason.
  • Our team (Team Gogo!) will be in Rwanda through August 1st. God has already blown us away with incredible Jesus stories - we know he has MUCH in store for us. You can follow along on social media and through our BLOG.  PLEASE PRAY FOR US!
That's it for now! Love and appreciate you all more than you could ever know. We simply could not do this work in Rwanda that God has called us to without your financial and spiritual support. Beyond grateful. There is MUCH work to be done.

In His Grasp,