• Dear Praying Friends,

    January 2019

    Happy New Year! The days so quickly pass! It seems most of us take stock this time of year, and missionaries are no exception. We have been considering our goals and plans for the future, our level of financial support, and especially our number of prayer supporters. A few years back, we asked for those who would commit to praying daily for us and the ministries God has given to us. We’d like to ask for a renewal of that commitment and hopefully several new ones that would be willing to join that group. Even when numbers are small, prayer accomplishes great things for God’s kingdom. Will you consider becoming a daily prayer partner with us? And what things are we asking you to pray for?

    First, please pray for our spiritual growth. It is our desire that our family, as individuals and as a whole, would grow in our walk with the Lord. May we continually learn of Christ and become more like Him through our own study of the Word, prayer time, and obedience to His commands.

    Second, please pray for our ministry . We have been at this physical work for over 20 years, and our bodies are not getting any younger! God’s strength and help is the only way we can continue to labor successfully. Of course, this is true spiritually, as well. Only by God’s grace and divine intervention can we meet those who need Him, offer a word of encouragement, and minister to others through music, teaching, and preaching. We depend and rely solely on the Lord to accomplish His purposes.

    Third, please pray for our travel. January 9, we leave again for a ten-day mission trip to France. We will return to the region just north of Paris to help missionaries Tim and Ruth Bixby and Kristy Colas with their new church building. For the second time in a year, a vandal/arsonist has tried to destroy the believers’ meeting space. But praise be to God, the damage was minimal, and our team of ten should be able to repair things, as well as build partitions for classrooms and add a kitchen. In addition to this mission trip, we have a fairly full schedule of travel for deputation meetings.

    Fourth, please pray for our support level. Finances tend to dwindle for missionaries as time passes, churches’ resources diminish, members pass away, and philosophies change. We have been especially affected by this in the last two years, and our support level is currently around 70%. We trust God to direct us to those church bodies with whom He wants us to partner.

    But prayer is not all supplication. We also desire that you would praise the Lord with us for His goodness and the many answers to prayer He has already given!

    Praise the Lord for allowing much work to be accomplished at the Wilds. Mike continues to move along through the Junior Boot Camp expansion project. The dorm remodel is progressing nicely, and the dining hall is next on the agenda.

    Praise the Lord for young people we can mentor. Through the Camp Apprentice program at the Wilds, Mike has two young men working with him full-time. Stephanie frequently works with the young ladies in both the laundry room and at the General Store. These situations have opened up many opportunities to talk with the young people about the things of the Lord, their future goals and plans, and spiritual struggles they may be having. And of course, our own five children provide lots of interaction and discussion. This is probably our favorite part of ministry, although each aspect is a blessing from the Lord.

    Praise the Lord for His leading for the future. Lord willing, we are planning our next project in Arizona, beginning in June. We will be helping missionaries Mike and Sue Smith, Mike’s parents, with a church plant. Mike will be filling in as co-pastor while his parents travel to raise support and recruit more workers for the West, which is part of their commitment with their mission board. Knowing that we have many ministry friends in Arizona, we also anticipate helping with several construction and building needs. We are eager to see what the Lord will teach us through this unique opportunity.

    Thank you all for your important part in our ministry. It is our privilege to serve the Lord alongside each of you. May He richly bless you in 2019 as you seek to faithfully follow Him.

    Mike and Stephanie Smith

    Rachel, Sarah, Bethany, Drew, and Katelyn

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