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!