Merry Christmas // Feliz Navidad

Wishing you all the hope, peace, love & joy that comes by resting in the one king who makes all things right, Jesus Christ!
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Merry Christmas //Feliz Navidad to all our friends, family & gospel partners,

Allen & Sandi Smith

Abigail (13), Adeline (11), Mary Allen (8) & Eva (5)

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Living in Suburbia

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We’ve been in Atlanta for a little over two months. This is our first time to live in the suburbia. I thought that the suburbs were mainly a white-flight area, with repetitive model homes, and strip malls everywhere. Why much of that is true, what I didn’t expect to see is so much ethnic diversity.

My suburbia-stereotype was blown apart when I visited our bank last week. As I stood at the ATM, I noticed that I was the only white person among a Pakistan teller, an Afro-Caribbean family chatting in some creole dialect, a Latina señora making a deposit, and two Middle-Eastern women in hijab head-coverings. Wikipedia says that our county “is the most racially diverse county in the state of Georgia, and one of the most racially diverse counties in the country.” I thought of the suburbs as primarily white, but according to a recent study, almost 60 % of Pan-Asians, half of all Hispanics, and 40 % of African Americans live in suburbia. The cliché is half-true: “the nations have moved to the cities of America” – its probably more correct to say “to the American suburbs.”

I don’t know what all this means for our family’s future in church planting, but I’m praying that God would lead us to take advantage of this unique opportunity in American history. The need is tremendous! We’ll see where God leads.

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Family Update 

  • Our biggest news this month is that we officially have our first teenager in the house. Abbie turned 13 on 9/2. I’m so grateful that God has entrusted us with such a caring, generous, missionary-minded daughter who truly loves Jesus and others. I wish I could be more like her in so many ways.
  • Sandi & I celebrated our 16th anniversary last month. We took the Marta Train to Decatur to enjoy a night out on the city as we reflected over our many adventures. I appreciate more every year what a special woman God has given me who continues to follow me no matter how difficult the change.
  • School is in full swing. The older girls love Perimeter Christian School. I’ve been impressed that they are learning much of what I learned in seminary. Their teachers truly view their job to equip our kids to enter pubic high school as gospel missionaries. Abbie & Adeline have also joined their school’s volleyball team and love it. Mary Allen is in an elementary school right down the street and has become an avid reader. And little Eva is still at home as Mom’s daily sidekick and turns five at the end of this month.

 Prayer Points 

  • Future Church Plant. As I introduce myself at Perimeter as a Church Planting Intern, the next question is always: “So where are you going to plant?” To which I reply, “We don’t know yet.” Some follow with a question, “Where would you like to plant a church?” And I usually say, “Somewhere hot. Somewhere urban. And somewhere multicultural.” I’ve begun networking with key leaders to investigate where God might be leading us. We are anxious to find out our next steps, so please ask God to help us be patient for His timing.
  • Wisdom Developing Relationships. We have opportunities all around us. Many of our neighbors are unbelievers. Also, we are helping launch a new worship service at Perimeter, and we will be hosting a small group in our house. Also, our girls are in discipleship groups. Please pray that we’ll have wisdom in deepening relationships that will result in friendship that last longer than our internship.

Thank you for being our friends as we prepare for church planting.

 Grace and peace,

Allen & Sandi Smith

Smith Family Update: Moving to Atlanta!

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I’m excited to announce that I have accepted a call from Perimeter Church (PCA) to be a Church Planting Intern for the next two-years!! We are now in full gear to move to Atlanta in early July. 

Though we are no longer in Peru, we are still missionaries. We believe that God has called us to plant a church in the third largest mission field in the world – the good ole US of A. Our denomination fully recommended us to pursue church planting last fall, but we feel that we need more time to adjust back to the States as well as receive more training. We’ve been gone for nearly a decade and America is definitely not the same! We are missionaries transitioning between two cultures.

Perimeter Church has one of the best church planting training programs in America. They have over two decades of experience, having successfully planted 26 churches around the Metro-Atlanta as well as helped plant over 40 churches internationally. Although we are taking two more years to prepare, we’ll be light years ahead when we begin a church. After the two years, I’ll be free to plant anywhere in America. So one of the first items on the agenda this next year is to identify a target area in which to plant. Who knows, maybe we will plant a church near you!

KEEP UP WITH US!

We’d love for you to join us on our new church planting adventure. I cannot ethically add your email address to our new database without your permission. So if you’d like to continue to follow us, please go to the following link below and sign up:

http://eepurl.com/bllbtL

Grace and peace,

Allen & Sandi Smith

Summer Update

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Dear Friends:

This has officially been our longest summer of our lives. Since Peru is south of the equator, it’s seasons are opposite from the States. Summer in Peru begins in December and ends around April – the month we returned to the States. So, we have enjoyed 9 months of ongoing hot, sunny weather. We landed in a family lake house in Hot Springs, AR. While being back in Allen’s home state, it’s been jammed packed with family reunions, high school reunions, weddings, summer camps, cookouts, hiking, tubing, skiing, tons of Magic Springs, and many other American customs. 

Back in March we asked you to pray for our girls that they would all get into the right grade. When our girls took the entry exam here in Hot Springs, we were wondering if our Peruvian schooling + a little English homeschooling combo would set our girls back a grade. Turns out that they all did very well and tested into the exact grades for which we were praying. God answered your prayers – thank you!

Now that school is in full swing, I plan on hitting the road this fall and visiting many of you and our supporting churches. My speaking & travel schedule thus far:

  • Oct. 19 –  Trinity Grace, Rogers, AR 
  • Nov. 2 – Christ Presbyterian, Oxford, MS
  • Nov. 19 – First Pres., Gulfport, MS
  • Dec. 7 – First Pres., Stamps, AR
  • Jan. 7 – Trinity Pres., Jackson, MS
  • Jan. 13 – Grace Presbytery meeting
  • Jan. 18 – Faith Pres., Clinton, LA
  • Jan. 25 – Pear Orchard Pres., Jackson, MS
  • Feb. 1 – Faith Pres., Brookhaven, MS
  • Feb. 8 – Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Feb. 15 – Christ Covenant, Hernando, MS & Memphis area
  • Feb. 18-22 – Dallas
  • later March – Central America, Guatemala
  • April 12 – First Pres., Aliceville, AL

If you would like for me to pay you a visit, please do not hesitate to email me or call me at 501-400-2202. I hope to see you soon!

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Allen & Sandi Smith

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Going to America for Year Furlough

We are only a few weeks away from returning to the States for our year furlough. We will land in Hot Springs, Arkansas on April 13. Right now we are busy in many areas: Allen is handing off his responsibilities to various leaders, Sandi is packing up our house, the girls are finishing up their school work and we have 8 plus “despedidas” (going away parties) to attend. Our Peruvian friends & mission team are sure making us feel loved!

Good Moment for Furlough

In the past two years, God has blessed the Cristo Rey Church. New members have joined the church, new leaders are being trained, new ministries have been formed, and we have a new location. Sunday worship now averages 92 each week. If the church continues to grow at our present rate, in just a few years, the church should become completely sustainable in both its funding & national leadership. It is a great relief to know that we are leaving Cristo Rey at such a good moment with such capable leaders!

Falling Behind on Supporters

One of my responsabilities as a missionary is to keep my supporters up-to-date on our financial state. After receiving our last month’s financial report, I discovered that we are at an all time financial low. Several churches are unable to continue supporting us this year, and on top of that, we have extra travel & moving expenses that come with going on furlough, placing our finances even further behind. It is good that we are going on furlough to raise more money.

You Can Help!

However, in the mean time, we need your help. We have already raised $5K in the last few weeks by simply making a few phone calls. If we could raise another $10K in the next month, would should be fine. Would you consider giving a one-time donation to help cover our financial downfall? Even if you can only give $25, it will help! Here are the two ways you can make a financial contribution:
  • You can send a check to the following address, with a memo note saying “Smith Family Support”:
Christian Missionary Society
P.O. Box 14563
Greenville, SC, 29610-4563

Prayer Points

  • Formation of Peruvian Church Planting Team. Our hope is that through the Apprenticeship Program, God would form a church planting team. Please join us in prayer that this year God would confirm a Peruvian church planter and his church planting team.
  • Leadership Transition. Right now Allen is turning over all his responsibilities to other  leaders. With change always comes tension and opportunity for conflict. Please pray that God would make these transitions smooth and promote greater national leadership.
  • Children Education. Upon arriving back to the States, please pray that our girls will be able to test into their appropriate grade for their age. They will take their entrance exam in late April. They are also nervous about fitting in & making new friends at their new school. Pray that God will provide great friends for each of them.
  • Financial Support. We are very thankful for your ongoing financial support. However we just found out that we are at an all time financial low. Several churches cannot continue to support us, and we have extra travel & moving costs in returning to the States. Please pray that we will be able to raise an addition $10K in the next several weeks.

Thank you for your prayers & support!

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Reflections on our Amazing Trip to Easter Island

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The day we flew away from Easter Island, I wrote the following journey entry:

“As the Easter Island Guide Book warned me: ‘You will leave Easter Island with more questions than answers.’ This is so true! Due to the small population & size of island, the history of the Rapa Nui has often been seen as a microcosm of all humanity. Today I read 2 Chronicles 33, and I noticed several similarities between the Rapa Nui people & the Israelites: their downfall & rebirth as a nation.

  • Both the Israelites & Rapa Nui were one of the smallest nations in the world.
  • Both nearly became extinct due to their idol worship.
  • Both were rescued from their near demise.

Looking over the island, here are two reflections:

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1. Thoughts on Idolatry

Most contribute the downfall of the Rapa Nui culture to their worship of the stone statutes (called Moai). One guide said it took 2 years and a crew of 20 people to carve only one of these huge stone statues (the biggest is 70 feet high and 270 tons!). And they have counted 887 Moai all around the island – that is a lot of man hours!

ahu-akahangaSince the Rapa Nui lived 1,000 years in isolation, and they believed that all other “islands” of the world had sunken, they thought they were the last survivors on earth. They also believed a divine king would one day return to the island to save them, but to gain his attention, they needed to make bigger and taller Moai. The problem was that the island’s resources could not support the construction of more Moai. They had to cut down more trees to make more Moai, but over time they deforested the entire island. And once the trees were gone, civilization fell into chaos. No wood for fires, fishing boats, farming, or housing. Civil war broke out among the tribes. All the Moai were toppled face down (that’s why most are not standing upright today). Soon after they resorted to cannibalism in order to survive.

Both history & Scripture teaches an important lesson about idolatry: it always leads to destruction. Paul says that behind every idolatrous practice is a demon (1 Cor. 10:20-21), and the end game of the demons is death (John 8:44). In short, idolatry is dangerous for a people’s existence. Where are the Canaanites today? Where are the northern tribes of Israel? We have “Jews” that trace their linage back to Judah, but the idol worshippers of northern Israel were sent into permeant exile. Where are the Mochians or the Chimus? If you come visit me in Trujillo, Peru, I can show your their temples in ruin.

EasterIslandSantiagoVacation-194There is a parallel between Manasseh’s son, Amon, and the children of the Rapa Nui. Amon brought out his daddy’s idols for worship; which led to his quick downfall (2 Chron. 33:21-25). It is no secret; the idols of Rapa Nui’s past are the main reason why tourists come to the island today. And tourism is the main industry of the Rapa Nui. So the BIG QUESTION for the Rapa Nui is: Will they bring out the Moai as idols and worship them like Amon worshipped his father’s idols? If so, God might just let capitalistic consumerism over take their little island. Can Easter Island support the exploitive power of international hotel chains, tons of tourists and major industry turning their island into a remote Disney Land? Although the very Moai were crafted to provide protection & prosperity from the outside forces (thus most of them face inland), will these stone statues once again be their demise? Or will the 5,700 remanent of Rapa Nui survive like the faithful Jews, and turned to God and worshipped Him alone? These are the questions the Rapa Nui youth face today.

2. Thoughts on Grace

I am moved by how God is so gracious. The Chronicler adds material that is not recorded in Book of Kings: Manasseh repents in exile. The Assyrians literally took him into exile with hooks; he was brought very low. Perhaps when the Rapa Nui dwindled from 10,000 to 111, a chief repented of his ways, was converted by hearing the gospel from a Christian missionary, God was greatly moved (as with Manasseh), and restored a people from a near destruction. I have no clue if this ever happened, but I would not be surprised something like this is true. How else did the three crosses get placed on one of the main hills that overlooks the village of Hanga Roa, the very place where they were exiled on their own island for about 70 years (from the annexing of Chile in 1888 to their release in 1966).

The main point is that God is more moved by repentance than by rebellion. Yes, God punishes the wicked, even Judean kings who burned their children on a flaming altar or people who eat each other; however He als restores anyone who repents of their ways and turns to Him for forgiveness. Destruction is for the rebellious, but relief is for those who repent. We know that Manasseh truly repented because he issued many reforms; and he was the worst of the kings, even worse than wicked Ahab! Yet God loves to forgive. He even brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem from exile and restored him as king. What amazing grace! Perhaps that is why we see the Rapa Nui resurge today.”

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One-Year Furlough Annoucement

Welcome to 2014! 

As many of you experience record low temperatures, we are enjoying sunny summer days in Peru. With the start to a new year, we’ve put together a photo review of the last few months in 2013. So click on the video above to see a three minute slideshow.

Our biggest news is that this April 2014 we will be traveling back to the States for our one-year furlough. My dad is graciously letting us live next door to him in his rent house in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Not only are our girls super excited about living next door to Dadeo (their granddad), but they are also looking forward to living in front of Lake Hamilton. I can’t wait to teach my girls how to water ski and go camping in the Ozark Mountains.

We plan on visiting each of our 30 supporting churches as well as seeing our 30 supporting individuals. If any of you travel close to Hot Springs this year, please let us know. We will be only one hour from Little Rock, AR.

Prayer Notes

  • Please pray that we would finish our second term well. Allen is stepping back from many ministries he has been leading. Pray that the Peruvian leadership will step up and do an even better job at Iglesia Cristo Rey, the missional cell groups, and the Apprenticeship Program.
  • Also pray for our girls as they get ready for their entrance exam for Lakeside School in Hot Springs. Several months ago, we pulled our girls out of their Peruvian private school to focus on studying in English. Although they were doing well studying in Spanish, they needed to catch-up in order to get into their appropriate grades in the U.S.

Support the Smiths

Life as a missionary is constant fund raising.  God always provide for our needs, but it is my responsibility to let you know our need. We are presently behind budget $18,000. One of the reasons why we need to come back to the States, is to raise money. 

If you would like to ease my burden of traveling from coast to coast to raise funds, you can can help! Here are two ways you can give:

  • You can give online by going here:
  • You can send a check to the following address, with a memo note saying “Smith Family Support”:

Christian Missionary Society
P.O. Box 14563
Greenville, SC, 29610-4563

Thank you for your many prayers & ongoing support!

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Smiths in Peru November Update! (new video & family needs included)

Dear Faithful Friends:
With only several weeks left in 2013, we are finishing up our first year with the Apprenticeship Program. The goal of the Apprenticeship Program is to form a church planting team to be sent out in a few years. All three apprentices have grown in their knowledge of the Bible, deepened their walk with Jesus, and developed better leadership skills. Esdras told me that the program has really deepened his love for God and the church. I am very excited to see what God has done in such little time! 

  • To see an introduction video to the Apprenticeship Program, click on the You Tube video above or go here . 
  • Also, check out how this year has gone so far, check out this recent interview.
Prayer Notes

  • Please pray that the future church planting team would continue to take form, deepen friendships,  expand their vision, and development a more robust theology.
  • Our family is behind on financial support. Our prayer is that God would raise $14,000 by the end of this year to meet our annual budget. In the past, God has provided for our needs through unexpected gifts from many of you. We still depend on your support in order to be able to minister the gospel in Peru. 
Support the Smiths
A one-time gift of $30 or $50 can go a long way! If you would like to contribute to our family, here are the ways you can give:
  • You can send a check to the following address, with a memo note saying “Smith Family Support”:
Christian Missionary Society
P.O. Box 14563
Greenville, SC, 29610-4563
Thank you for your ongoing support!
Allen & Sandi Smith
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