can I do it again?

I wasn’t planning on updating today.  I’ve been so busy with editing photos from various photo sessions I’ve had in the last month, and sewing up baby clothes for Susie Mey, fulfilling orders, and preparing for a craft fair next month — more on that later.

I’m updating tonight because something supernatural happened to me today.  My brother, infamous for past stories like: forgetting his laptop case (with Mac laptop inside) on the roof of the car and driving away — after a week of him fasting and praying for its return, he gets a call from some dude who picked it up.  Whoa!  God answers prayers, but most of all He responds to faith.

Well today my brother greets me in the morning with a, “I left my NorthFace backpack at Chipotle last night — it had my MacBook Pro, 2 external hard drives, passport, and other stuff.”  He had called Chipotle, but the manager said they didn’t find a backpack.

I looked at my brother dumbfounded — he could NOT have done this again.  I wanted to call him, “Irresponsible”, along with some other things I was thinking, but I kept my thoughts to myself.  He frantically printed out a $100 reward flyer and was about to race out the house to head down to Chipotle to file a police report.  Before he left Greg stopped him and said, “Let’s pray.”  So we all closed our eyes while Greg prayed a prayer asking God for unmerited mercy.  The whole time I was literally thinking, “He’s never going to get it back.  He’s really lost his laptop this time!  How irresponsible!”

As Greg finished up his prayer, I heard a voice ask me, “Do you think I can do it again?”

I knew it was God.

I knew He was asking me whether I had faith that Josh could get his laptop back, a second time.

I said with sheepish confidence, “Yes.  I know You can do it again.”

Two hours later, I hear that Josh’s backpack was recovered, in its entirety. Basically, the manager calls Josh back and says they have it.

Some may call this coincidence, but I call it grace.  Thinking back on God’s voice brought tears to my eyes.  His voice was so clear, it came out of nowhere.  My tears weren’t for the recovered backpack, the tears were for unmerited mercy.  I’ll say it once more: God answers prayer, but most of all He responds to faith, and that’s the truth.

Josh’s own words, via Facebook today: “There is nothing like God doing something amazing to kick off the first day of classes.  Left my MacbookPro (inside a NorthFace bookbag with passport and 2 hard drives with ALL my work on it) at Chipotle last night.  Prayed… called them this morning, said they looked everywhere and couldn’t find it… prayed some more, believed in faith… call back and they said they found it.  God is always looking out for us even when we are not worthy of His mercy.”

good news.

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


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



bianca + dhara

mascot making her rounds

eric receives a mascot blessing

a new song.

I was meditating in the Word today and listening to this song by David and Rie of the blog, Home + Harmony.  The song is called A New Song, and it’s based on Psalms 40:1-4, word for word.

Inspired after they had their first child, they decided to put scripture to song so they could sing scripture to their children — what a lovely idea.  Even though this compilation is intended for little ones, I even love the simplicity of their folksy acoustic style, as well as the power of simple scripture set to song.  I played it for Dhara, and she loved it.  We both love it.  Plus, it’s great for slow dancing with your little baby.  Try it sometime.  Dhara was all smiles.

1I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

4Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Psalms 40:1-4 (KJV)