Christ Is Our Hope

The morning starts with a wonderful cup of coffee. Then out the door with our Bible verse packs and our poodle, Snickers. We write Bible verses we are memorizing/reviewing on spiral bound index cards. Morning walks in the cool, crisp weather around the Bethesda Baptist Church campus is the ideal time for memorizing God’s Word. Lately, one verse comes to mind in particular that we’ve been reviewing, which is 1 Peter 3:15; “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” It is such a great reminder that in our hearts we are to set apart Christ as Lord. Nothing else. Christ period. Christ is to be Lord of our lives. Work, children, spouse, money, etc., can’t take the place of Christ in our lives. Many people try to have these take the place of Christ, but they don’t satisfy the thirst we have, not like Christ can. He is our Living Water that satisfies the deepest thirst. The verse goes on to remind Christians to always be ready to answer why we have this hope. The hope isn’t that our circumstances will turn out favorably. Circumstances come and go. This is an eternal hope! There is nothing more comforting than resting in this hope.

This past month, our son Andrew and Phil’s mom, Tena, both had surgery. Both were in surgery at the exact same time. Andrew in Indiana and Tena in Texas. Both surgeries were successful and pathology results were both good. We are praising God through this! After missing a few days, Andrew is back at work. Here he is with his wife Heather. He will need to be reexamined for the next 10 years to make sure the tumor does not return.

Tena had additional ultrasounds and biopsies since the surgery. The plan is for chemo to start, pending results from these tests. Here are Tena and Phil’s grandmother.

Here is Lauren leaving for her last day at work at the Tree of Life Childcare center. She loved the opportunity to invest in the children’s lives. She will soon fly to Spokane, WA. to begin her Junior year at Moody Bible Institute.

There are some days that what God has called us to do is humanly impossible. Those days are even more special as we know God is carrying us when the road is just too difficult. Through life’s trials, we never know what tomorrow might hold for us. We are commanded to tell those around us about the hope we have. Our hope is in Christ. Is your eternal hope resting in Christ? If so, are you telling those around you about Him? If not, start today. Don’t wait.

We are at ABWE Headquarters in Harrisburg, PA. this week attending the EMC (Essential Mission Components) training. Great teaching through interactive instructions including Worldview Groups, Methods, and Models, and Developing a Cross Cultural Church Planting Ministry Plan. Next month we will post more about our training.

We Travel This Road By Faith – Prefield

I was on our Bethesda Baptist Church’s Mission Committee for 7 years. My wife Jan, was also very involved in missions. The Lord provided for us to go on several mission trips and as a couple we even led a small team of teens to Brazil for 3 weeks. We got to know and became good friends with many missionaries. So, we thought we had a pretty good idea on what it took for a missionary to get to the field. Yes, I am talking about deputation, or prefield as we call it. Prefield is the time between our appointment as missionaries, to the time we actually leave for the field. Read on to find out what prefield is all about…

Prefield Is Not A Race For Money

Yes, financial support is necessary and we can’t leave for the field until we are 100% supported. Currently we are at 52% of our support. But if we focus too much on money, and we lose our focus on Christ, we will quickly get discouraged. When Jesus sent out the 12 apostles in Luke 9:3, He said, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.” He told them not to take anything with them because God would supply for all of their needs. Their faith and patience would grow as they witnessed God’s provision. God continues to grow our faith and patience as we see Him provide for our needs through His people.

Prefield Is Not A Battle For Time

Being on prefield is like being in a whirlwind. Sometimes you don’t know if you are coming or going. There truly is a delicate balance between work, family, prefield, ongoing education, and everyday life. Get any one of these out of balance and all the rest also get thrown out of kilter. Some people have asked us when we are leaving for the field. We have been on prefield for less than a year. In actuality, the average time for a missionary to get to the field is 3-4 years. Our goal is 18 months. But that is our goal. We realize God has a plan. He is sovereign and He will get us to Papua New Guinea in His timing. We just have to be patient, obedient, faithful to what He has called us to do, and rest in the promise of His faithfulness.

Prefield Is Not Just “Preparation” For Ministry

It is ministry. A ministry to which God has called us. Never again will we have this opportunity to tell so many people about what God is doing in our lives. We want to be an encouragement to those around us and spur others on towards love and good deeds. Prefield is all about displaying the power of the Holy Spirit which is the only thing that enables us to do His will. It is about team building and relying on God through His people for prayer, financial, and emotional support. Prefield is about engaging in relationships for the glory of God and investing in eternity. It is about being totally dependent on Christ and putting Him center stage so that He may be praised. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever.

We Can Only Give Glory To God

We are so thankful for each and every person that is supporting us through prayer and finances. We are so thankful for our sending church, Bethesda Baptist in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have helped in so many ways. We are extremely blessed to be a part of that family. This week Bethesda gave us a financial gift of $8567.50 towards our Outfit and Passage fund. Praise God from whom all blessing flow. If you would like to be part of our prayer team or you are already praying for us, please let us know by dropping us a quick email. We are so encouraged when we know people are praying for us. Take 5 seconds and and pray, “God help the Smiths today”. If you would like to be a financial partner, you can give a one-time gift or support us on a monthly basis using the link on the right side of this webpage. If you have questions, please let us know. We would love to meet with you, have some time of fellowship, and share our ministry. All of our contact information can also be found on the right side of this page. God Bless.

*Excerpts used by permission of Brad Winkler – Directory of Prefield Ministries at ABWE