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garden of the gods state park, illinois, 2009

If you look at my little bio on the left, you’ll notice that I mention my husband as the “charming American tentmaking campus missionary with the surname “Smith.””  I don’t talk much about the ministry aspect of our lives here on this blog — actually, I haven’t said one word except the aforementioned tidbit. So I thought I would write a little about that part of our lives because it’s a very BIG part.

chi alpha winter retreat, 2006

Before I even met my husband, he knew that his calling in life was to be a campus missionary.  He grew up Catholic, but had a radical encounter with Jesus while in college.  Ever since, he’s known that his highest achievement in this life would be leading college students to Christ and discipling them so they could lead abundant lives in Christ.  Once I came into the picture, I knew by default it would be my goal and pleasure in life to stand with him and be a helpmate to him in this calling of his — and now ours.

susan + greg, engagement shoot, 2007

What does it mean to be a campus missionary?  Well it’s pretty simple — we’re normal people who are on a mission to spread the Good News about Jesus in a university setting.  Why?  Because He’s worth knowing.  We want to see students know Him, Jesus.  Not just know about Him, but really know Him in a real heart connected way.  Know Him in a way that changes their life.  Know Him so well that He becomes their food, their drink, their provision, their best friend, the Lord of their heart, and the Savior of their very life.  It’s not an easy task, but He’s the one drawing them in — we just have to be available.

chi alpha winter retreat, 2007

I’ve been involved in campus missions since 2003 while in college, and Greg a few years longer.  We officially took the faith leap in the fall of 2009 and started a quasi Chi Alpha on the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Campus. Greg still works a secular job, but he also makes himself available for the students for our regular meetings and discipleship.  With the help of a few awesome student leaders, lots of people praying for us, and the grace of God, we’ve been super blessed to have favor with the campus which lets us meet in the dorms.  Since we started, we’ve met over 100 students who’ve come through our group.  We’ve seen people make the decision to live for God.  I can’t even begin to tell you how enjoyable + encouraging it has become for me personally.  We have some pretty amazing international students who are a whole lot of fun and who want a whole lot of Jesus!  While we’ve had lots of different cultures present, the majority have been from Africa — such a vibrant and loving group of people!  Greg and I feel called to international students, and UMBC is ranked second in the nation for diverse student populations — pretty neat since all we did was follow where God’s wind took us.  (And yes, along the way we had a baby!  She comes along too, sometimes.)

chi alpha, umbc with stefanie chappell, 2010

Tuesday nights are date nights for Greg and I.  As the evening came to a close today, we came to the conclusion that we could either live our lives for ourselves, or, we could live it for other people.  We chose the latter.  Why?  Because in the end, only what you do for Christ will last.  What does living for others look like? Well as we were discussing our future, we felt for us it meant being close to campus even if we would have loved to live out in the country.  It means not giving up the vision for things in this life that look attracting.  Here’s to spreading the Good News at UMBC!  The following video shows some fun moments at the Winter Retreat.

video of chi alpha winter retreat, 2011

greg praying over the students

comfort + comfort

eric + hannah

benke

our sleepy mascot

jasmine, chris-anne, sara

everyone loves sleepy mascot

josh leading worship

debbie look’in all glamorous

greg with the birthday card chris-anne made him

jonathan

sara

bianca + dhara

mascot making her rounds

eric receives a mascot blessing

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2 Comments

  1. God bless your ministry.

    Reply

  2. Susie,

    Thank you for sharing with us such an important part of your lives together as a married couple. 🙂
    We have currently in the past couple of months been seeking out the Lord’s will for our lives. We lived in California for the first year of our marriage, and have spent the almost second living back in Missouri with my husband’s parents while we save money for….well, life. 🙂
    I know the Lord has been at work since we’ve arrived here, and we’ve realized that whether living here or CA, the Lord has blessed us and surrounded us with supportive believers and have had fellowship among them.
    My husband Matt has felt called into the ministry, to produce/direct media for an organization here in Ozark, MO called School To The Nations. http://www.schooltothenations.com
    We are still praying and seeking out from prayers of our closest friends and family before committing to full time. But Matt is ready. We just want to follow the Lord’s call for the word “GO.”
    We are praying about possibly going on a future missions trip to west Africa this December. God has been pouring so much over us, the past couple of months. I’ve seen my husband transform into a more godly husband and leader. I’m really excited for what the Lord is bringing. I have been struggling here and there with trusting and not worrying about being provided for, since going in full time means raising income from others. (But along with my income from massage/part time job).
    I’m still learning what my place is in this ministry. Matt grew up knowing the family who runs School to the Nations, and I am looking forward to being a part of the ministry physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I want to be strong in the Lord, for my husband, and for those who don’t know Him.
    It’s amazing what the Lord will do when you give it all to Him, and trust in Him fully. He provides!
    I truly Loved reading this, and am blessed to hear your family’s story and how the Lord has worked and is continuing to work in your lives through your sacrifices and dedication to Him and bringing the Gospel to others through discipleship and fellowship.
    I am really encouraged by the ministry you guys serve in, and am thankful for your wisdom and insight on giving up on worldly wants.
    My thoughts and prayers are with your family and ministry!
    With Love,
    Lindsay

    Reply

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