Summer Missionary 2023

Rachel Smith

Where do you currently attend school? Fontbonne University in Villa Ridge, MO
Where are you serving this summer, and who is your mentor?
The Ridge Church, Villa Ridge, with Robert Caldwell
How did you first encounter Jesus Christ, and how has His lordship continued to change your life?
I grew up in a Christian home. At a young age I was convicted of my sin and put my life and trust in Christ. In my high school years I went to a Christian high school which helped increase my faith and grow my passion to serve Him. With the entrance into college, my faith was challenged at all angles. Being fully exposed to the evil of this age, I was opened to how I could choose the way to death. College helped me realize that this generation and myself could be one choice away from turning its back on God. Seeing how this generation and the next one is in literal dyer need of Savior changed my life. With the exposure to the real dark world through college, the Lord opened my eyes further to the true light of His saving grace. I have become a new creation from a young age and continue to lay my yolk at His feet daily.
What does the church mean to you?
Church can be a place of growth and hurt. This can be seen in any church. But God is in the business of using hurt to grow and mature His children. Church was a place growing up, for connecting with friends, finding a community and fellowship together. Something so intriguing is how when you step back you can truly see that each part of the church is a working part. What I mean is what is referenced throughout the Bible. It is stated throughout the New Testament about how the church is a body, each part working together. All are members of one body. Becoming more involved in the church I am able to see this more displayed. The church and family are foundational to the Christian faith. It is where people find community. They can connect and learn to trust sisters and brothers as they come alongside you and help you on your walk with the Lord. With church being a place full of sinners in need of salvation, it can also be a place of hurt. This is also part of the meaning of church. It is a risk. Putting everything on the line is a risk, this is explained in the song reckless love. The love Christians are to display to others is what the world would deem reckless. We are only able to display that love because Christ continues to do so every single day. Only by the grace from God are the church hurts forgivable and met with grace. In review: Church is a place to grow your personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a place to meet people with the same beliefs and a place to have community. It is a body of believers created with the purpose to serve and love Christ and others.
As a student, how have you shared – and are currently sharing – your faith with others?
As a student in college I share my faith with fellow classmates. My freshman year I started a Bible study in my dormitory. I invited the entire floor. I held it every Friday. My Junior year I was able to explain the foundation of Christianity by walking through Genesis to my Hindu sweet-mate. Several conversations were had with her. I find that I water or plant a lot of seeds, I don’t necessarily lead people to salvation right then and there. Through my discussion boards and homework I continually make it clear what position I hold. There are so many attacks on Christianity. This was so evident in my general education classes. The ones based on world religions there was much controversy my professor had with my faith. In that situation, standing firm proved beneficial and helped strengthen my faith. Also an opportunity arose where I was given the choice to be the president of the campus pro-life group. I passed the opportunity as i explained to the leaders at my college that the views of the group did not align with the Bible. I currently share my faith through being an Awana leader. I have the privilege to help 5th grade students memorize the Word of God. Meeting kids who have never been to church has lead to conversations about salvation that they have never experienced before.
What do you feel is your vocational call (future career), and how do you anticipate sharing your faith through that call?
I feel my future career is nutrition. I am not sure what or how to share my faith through this calling. Of course there is clear evidence that as a Christians we are to take care of our temple (body) but how do I put that into practice in a clinical setting is something I am still in prayer about. Right now I am perusing a Masters in Nutrition, with the effort to become an RDN. My current goal is to take life one day at a time seeking Christ as Matthew 6:33-34 commands.
Why do you want to be a summer missionary?
Missions is described in the New Testament clearly. It is going out into the world and making disciples. Being on mission can take place as I walk out the door to go to college. It can take place at the grocery store. It is spreading the good news to the nations, to the neighbor, to everyone. My reason for wanting to be a summer mission is simple. I would like to serve Christ and encourage young women. The world is a dark, dark place and if young believers don’t start standing up for what’s right the darkness will take over. Being a young woman I have the desire to help and encourage fellow sisters in Christ.