It all started years ago with a high school missions trip to a South American jungle.
Andy and Jenny were just friends then—friends with a common interest, one that intensified as a result of seeing on that missions trip first-hand the need for unreached people to be impacted by God’s Word.
“We realised that a person living deep in a jungle is not going to just stumble upon the truth of God’s Word one day,” Jenny explains. “It has to be hand-delivered.”
Andy and Jenny were both impacted deeply by that trip. “Andy came away with a lingering suspicion that this was the ministry the Lord was leading him to. I left determined to dedicate my life to reaching the least-reached, forgotten people of the world,” says Jenny.
They graduated from high school and went their separate ways for a time. But when they got reacquainted and started sharing their goals, they realised that they both still had a strong desire to answer God’s call to minister to unreached people.
Andy and Jenny were soon married and began their life together—long working hours, making good money, having three children and building a bigger house. “We got sucked in to the routines of family life,” Jenny observes.
But always there were reminders of their hearts’ desire for ministry and nudges from friends who asked them when they were going to start missionary training.
“One day Andy came home from work and told me he had given notice and that we were going to move to Waukesha, Wisconsin, to start Bible school,” says Jenny.
While she was in total agreement that this was what God was leading their family to do, the actuality of the move was a quite a shock.
“I had to work through fears and anxieties but God was gracious and met me in the midst of that time with assurance that I could be sure that we would never face a trial that could not be used to bring glory to God,” Jenny shares.
There were plenty of challenges. Two weeks before their planned departure, they still had no money for school payments and no job in Wisconsin. The family who had planned to rent their home changed their minds at the last minute. The big garage sale that was intended to raise money through selling their furniture and some other big items got rained out and was a dismal disappointment.
“We ended up giving most of our things away,” Jenny shares. “We were certain God was behind this move, but [we] were increasingly unsure how He would provide a way for us.”
As Jenny was packing a few days before their departure, there was a knock on the door. It was a woman whose family wanted to rent the Smiths’ house.
Later that day, Jenny went to get the mail and found a generous check from the youth ministry that she and Andy had been part of in high school. It was enough for the entire initial tuition payment to Bible school. Minutes later, Jenny heard from the secretary of their church that she had received several generous gifts for the Smiths in the mail that day as well.
In one day, God had richly provided for all their pressing needs.
“Amazing!” Jenny says.
This was only the beginning of the story of God’s faithful work in supplying for the Smith family. They have many stories about the providing of furniture and finances for their needs—just at the right time.
“We had times when we had absolutely no money and prayed as a family that God would provide,” Jenny shares. “Our kids prayed with us and got to watch as everything we needed was provided. Their understanding of God’s provision and care has grown through these experiences.”
Andy and Jenny now have four children, ages 9, 8, 5 and 3. They are grateful for God’s care for their family in so many remarkable ways but feel even more deeply grateful for the ways that their children’s confidence in Him has grown as they have watched Him provide.
The Smith family is currently preparing to depart for the Asia-Pacific region to do what they have both longed to do since high school—to reach out to people who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel clearly in their own heart language and share the Good News about Jesus.
Recently their 5-year-old celebrated his birthday. When Jenny asked him how it felt to be five, he answered, “Great! I’ve been waiting for this my whole life!”
And smiling, Andy and Jenny understand that feeling very well.
They are confident in the faithful love and plan of their heavenly Father as they wait on Him. The long season of preparation is drawing to a close and they are ready for the celebration of God’s goodness as He moves them into the ministry He has planned for them and uses their family mightily in His plan to reach people who are still waiting to hear the Good News about Jesus.
“This opportunity is what we have been hoping for all along,” Jenny writes. “Now we have an open door and we’re going to follow wherever He leads.”