How good it was to visit the Loudendale Free Will Baptist Church Sunday evening, May 22nd. We sang the old Gaither song, "The Longer I Serve Him, the Sweeter He Grows". June 4th. will mark the 50th. year since I met the Master. After knowing and serving Him for such a long time, I can truly say that the words of this song are true. As I reflected on the reasons and hows of His growing sweeter, I concluded that it is because of His unfailing faithfulness in any and every situation that comes our way. You are aware that I returned to the States in January to care for my terminally ill mother and begin the retirement process. Doing these two very important jobs has turned out to be more of a challenge than I had expected. BUT! The Lord, once again, has proven Himself faithful. He is worthy of great praise!
My official retirement date is July 31st. Let me repeat that it is very important to me that you continue to support the ministry of Free Will Baptist international missionaries. I will be communicating with you before the end of July with suggestions and recommendations for rechanneling the support that you've so faithfully given for my ministry in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa. I am very grateful for all that you've done.
News from Côte d'Ivoire remains very disturbing. As much violence and reprisal killings continue, some parts of the country are very dangerous. A new president was recently sworn in. He and his government have the huge task of trying to bring about reconciliation between the Ivorians. Though I disagree with the methods through which certain things were made to happen, I will pray for those in authority.
They are certainly in need of God's help. I recently spoke with the pastor of the Bouna church. He reported that he had just baptized four people in the village of Sayé and seven people in the village of Panzarani. Praise the Lord for faithful servants who continue to preach and teach in the midst of much turmoil. Please continue to pray for the believers to be bold witnesses. The good Lord willing, my co-workers will return to Bondoukou in June and July. Thank you for praying for their safe return to the field and that the Lord will enable them to win many souls through the Community Health Evangelism ministry.
Thank you for praying for my Mom. In this last month, she has had much difficulty with breathing. She is now doing better with the medication that Hospice has provided. Once again, she has bounced back. When things aren't going well, predictions are made as to how long she will live. I believe that the Lord will call her home when we least expect it. She is ready to meet the Lord and knows she'll just have to wait until He calls.
I hope to be seeing many of you at the WV State Association meeting in Huntington on June 10 and 11. And, at the National Association meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina July 17 - 21. He has promised to be in our midst. Let us look forward to gathering in His name and experiencing His presence in the worship services and in the business sessions.
With much love and prayers,
Alice F. Smith