I don’t know anyone who’s lived life quite like Jennifer Smith! I was acquainted with her as a toddler in her native Jacksonville, IL … wherein I served as pastor of her family. I was completely taken aback when I tried to absorb her dynamic exploits as an adult … in advancing the Great Commission of Jesus. (Matthew 28:19-20) Jennifer is a part of the Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church congregation in Jacksonville.
I asked for her biography. Now help me “figure out” how she has crammed all the living she has done … all the places she has been … all the vast range of her living life “to the hilt” in expressing her obedience and commitment to Jesus Christ.
Read a summary of it below … then hear her provide highlights of her packed and impacting life … in her own words.
Jacksonville, Illinois native Jennifer Smith is a world traveler and missionary who has spent time in 50 different countries from Arctic extremes to the sultry tropics. A graduate of Oral Roberts University, she holds postgraduate degrees in ministry and international community development. Ms. Smith’s missionary work focuses on sharing the gospel message in developing countries while empowering the people to build stronger communities.
Jennifer once spent a year personally building an amphibious airplane (from a “kit”) that could be … and was … used in the Amazon region of South America to transport people to and from medical facilities for care, where previously death occurred with people who could not receive such medical relief.
She recently spent a year living in a rural village in the Republic of Georgia (Eastern Europe) to assist in community development and education. This small economically depressed nation has struggled since its occupation by the Soviet Union and subsequent years of civil war. Ms. Smith will be showing pictures of the region and sharing how teaching English to students of all ages is a unique way to get to know the people, their culture, and to equip them for a better future.
*First mission trips taken during Jr. High School years
*Foreign exchange student to Germany in High School
*BA in Missions and Evangelism from Oral Roberts University
*Mission trips/internships to Africa and South America during college years
*3 years US Coast Guard service as Operation Officer on buoy tender in Alaska
*Grad/post grad MDiv, DMin, PhD in ministry, MA International Community Development
*Completed FAA Flight and Aircraft Mechanic schools
*Missions work in Amazon region in Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia through riverboat and aviation ministry to isolated villages, as well as work with Wycliffe Bible Translators
*Helped with new church plant/ homeless shelter ministry in South Carolina while building an amphibious plane for jungle use
*1999-2004 Worked as Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Coordinator for state of South Carolina
*2004-2009 English teacher/ missionary in China and Southeast Asia
*2010-2011 English teacher/missionary in Eastern Europe, Republic of Georgia
*Authored two books to help promote understanding and demystify Asian culture for prospective missionaries, business travelers to China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos.
*Teaches as time allows at Westfair Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Illinois